We were homeless when we started. Now we get jobs all over the Pacific Northwest.

Thumbtack Writer ChefPaulStaley
Thumbtack Writer
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When we first got started, we were homeless. Our very first event was a craft fair, and we had to make our chocolates and confectionaries in a hotel room. We used the hotel kitchen microwave and bought a heating blanket to keep the chocolate warm. It was completely on the fly, but we had to make do. We ended up selling most of the chocolates and got our first client from the event. She hired us to do her wedding cake. It snowballed from there.

Before we were homeless, we worked in the culinary industry. I managed a couple of restaurants, Stephanie worked for a catering company. When the economy tanked in 2008, people tightened their wallets and luxury restaurants didn’t do so well. We lost our jobs. The only thing we could find was a gig through a former colleague of ours working at a fishery in Alaska. But we had to leave early due to awful working conditions, and when we came back, we had no jobs and no home. That’s when the adventure started.

We aren’t formally trained. I'm a self-taught chef. So building our business from the ground up, while living through a stint of homelessness, has really been crazy. There aren’t any days off. No matter what happens, we have to work through it. I haven’t really taken a sick day in 8 years. The only day we allow ourselves off is Christmas, and even then we’re open to clients. We’re working this Thanksgiving — being a chef, it isn’t that different working through Thanksgiving as opposed to taking it off. Either way we’re going to be in the kitchen all day making food. So whatever we make for the clients, we make extra for ourselves and have our Thanksgiving dinner when we get home.

We work every day pretty much through early November to late January. Our friends and family struggled a lot with the fact that we have to work through holidays at first. Even now we have to remind people: “You like to have parties, to host your holidays and have fun. Well, you need people to make the fun happen. And we’re those people.” But we’re thankful that we get to do what we love for a living. It’s a rarity. Not everyone has got the resources, and we didn’t in the beginning. But we had the faith that we could do it. We’re grateful we can bring so much joy to the people that we do this for. It’s all worth it.

2 responses
Moderator Meckell

You guys are amazing @ChefPaulStaley. Thanks for sharing your story!

Level 1

Very inspiring .KUDOS.