Chef Dweh of All Day Foods in Los Angeles has been cooking the majority of his young life. His mother has been a strong influence in his culinary innovative methods. Dweh’s dedication to succeed and entrepreneurial spirit came from both his Liberian-born parents. With a MBA and a Ph.D. between them, their high achievements made quite an impression on the young chef. “I graduated from high school early and finished my bachelor’s degree in Business,” he says. “My father came to this country in 1971 and sent for my mother when he was ready to provide a home for her. He showed me the importance to have everything set up first,” he continues.
His father is a Ph.D. physicist and the scientific method of a hypothesis seemed to have rubbed off on Dweh. “My father instilled the importance of asking questions. In my of line work, I find that a bit of psychology helps me execute the right meal for my clients. Understanding people will enable me to give them what they want, every single time,” he explains. I noticed his observation skills are keen and well-honed when he guessed I was an art lover. When I said I studied Italian Renaissance art, he instantly knew that lobster risotto would be an ideal meal for me.
After formal culinary training, Dweh’s first professional position was as a prep cook at a Los Angeles restaurant on famed Sunset Blvd. He quickly moved on to work as a chef for Sony Motion Pictures cooking for famous actors such as Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, and Adam Sandler. “I worked seven days a week” chef Dweh (as he is simply known) says about his experience working with for the major movie house. He described it like cooking boot camp. He needed to be on the lot by 4:00 a.m. and often wouldn’t leave before 5:00 p.m. each day. “As a young black chef, there was a lot of doubt that I could handle the demand. I had to prove myself every day and take on each challenge as it comes” he says.
It didn’t take long for the entrepreneurial bug to bite and his catering company All Day Foods was born. In the last two years, Dweh has acquired a variety of work expertise from teaching personal cooking classes for couples in their own homes to catering an event for 10,000 guests. “I get in the zone [when cooking],” Dweh replies when I asked if he is thinking while he creates. “I am consistently analyzing each dish and always trying to perfect a technique,” he continues.
I was fortunate to have him come to a friend’s house to prepare lobster risotto from scratch. I watched while he organized his ingredients, set up his cookware and instantly became comfortable in someone else’s kitchen. It was similar to watching a painter transform a blank canvas into a colorful masterpiece. As he laid out the asparagus and buttered the lobster, we asked him questions and watched him multi-task with ease.
What is most rewarding about All Day Foods?
The freedom that comes from working for yourself is invaluable.
What are the disadvantages of owning your own business?
The dry spells in between event seasons. I have to read the market and pick up consultant work during the down times.
Why did you choose to be a personal chef in people’s homes?
Home is where calm is. I want people to learn how to cook with their own tools in their own kitchens. I push the boundaries of culinary preparation and I want to share it.
Thanksgiving is coming up, any suggestions or tips for our readers?
De-boned cornish game hen is a great Thanksgiving dish. Remove the rib cage and tail bone while still leaving the wing and leg bones intact will maximize the flavor. Stuff the area where the rib cage was with granny smith apples, French bread croutons, apricots, and chicken apple sausage. Add herbs, salt, and pepper before closing the bird. Cover the entire bird with whole butter and roast it at 300 degrees for an hour. When you are done, you will have a beautiful hen for a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.
For more information, to book a private cooking lesson or event, visit Chef Dweh at http://www.alldayfoods.com.