Entrepreneur & Chef
In this #1000COSIGNs Interview, we have Chef Cisero, an entrepreneur and chef we were made aware of via our interview with Brandon Miller. During this segment, we discussed Chef Cisero’s beginnings, his favorite dish, and his journey in becoming an entrepreneur and chef. Join us in sharing his story by reading our interview below in hopes that his grind will inspire yours.
Where did you grow up and as a kid what were you into?
I grew up in Springfield, MA. I grew up in a very urban environment with not much to do but gang-related activity and a few afterschool clubs. However, my twin brother and I made knew how to make our fun and stay out of trouble. I was active and focused at a young age. Given that I am a twin, I always carried a competitive nature to me. I played sports, volunteered throughout High School, participated in honors program, held a job at 14 and even maintained a great social life. My mom and grandmother did their best to give us a well-rounded childhood that allowed us to explore our interests.
How does living in D.C. influence the food you make?
I’m not from D.C. but I’ve been residing in D.C. for the past 8 years going on 9 (wow, that really made me feel old). So its home now to me in a lot of ways. I did a lot of growing up here. D.C. has a growing and vibrant food culture. I believe the D.C.’s diversity lends itself to attract foodies far and wide. And as a result, I’ve developed and specialize more in fusion dishes that can appeal to wide-range of audiences and potential clientele.
Did you always want to become a chef?
I always loved cooking but had no idea that I wanted to be a chef. I never had the exposure to professionals in the industry back home. I just knew being a first generation college student that traditional business school was the fastest foundation to a successful career. It was only until after graduation where I drew the connection to my passion and a legitimate career.
How did you get into culinary art? Did you go to school or has this always been a talent you possessed?
It all started in my college dorm where I would cook for potlucks and that turned into people paying me to cook for them from time to time. I then started a food blog and that received a lot of traction. Two years later I filed and incorporated my own catering company by the name of Chef Cisero Catering.
What chefs inspire you?
Kwame Brown, Gordon Ramsey, Carla P Hall from the Chew, Chef JR Robinson.
What’s the toughest aspect of your industry?
It’s hard establishing yourself in a new without leveraging industry experience (restaurants or culinary schools) first. People will look at you and say “what makes you credible”? I took a very untraditional route and relied on my skillset and aptitude to learn alone. I took my business savviness and leveraged my knowledge of marketing and technology to expand and touch different networks outside of my own. This road isn’t easy but it can very rewarding to be “self-made” in this industry.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring chef? What path should they follow?
Follow your dreams and passions. Don’t fret. People will question your credibility and someone will not like your food. However, keep pushing. Grit, a good attitude, and a willingness to learn will take you far in this industry. Lastly, don’t discount yourself. Believe in the value you can bring someone.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment to date?
I think taking this endeavor very seriously in 2016. I really put myself out there and the rewards are still coming in. In fact, this interview alone makes me realize my hard-work is being noticed.
What’s your favorite dish to make?
My favorite dish to make is a tie between my Jerked Shrimp and Grits and my famous roasted rack of lamb.
Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
I want to expand my brand more into different products, apparels and services. I have a lot that I’m cooking up (puns intended) but they’re on hush-hush right now.
When it’s all said and done, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known for changing the world through food. Food communicates so much. It’s a language everyone can understand appreciate.
Who does Chef Cisero #COSIGN?
Elizabeth Acevedo @acevedowrites
Rashad Frazier @pulledtogether
Brandon Miller @ThatGuyBMills
Mignoate Kebede @Migekb
Kayleigh Dayton @BayyDayy
Brandon Bing @probingelite
Jon-Matt Hopkins @jmatt_06
Sakina Ibrahim @sakina_world
Kwame Brown @bastedmind
JR Robinson @MrCheffito
Name a restaurant you #COSIGN in DC.
Name a fashion designer/brand you #COSIGN in DC.
Name a photographer you #COSIGN in DC.