A partially cleaned pot led the mother of a young Anthony Thomas to discover that he was cooking after school while home alone, despite her instructions not to. His desire to eat fancier after school snacks also revealed that he was developing an affinity for a skill that would later become his passion and livelihood.
“When I first started coming home by myself from school at 8-years-old, I would come home and try to cook, even though my mom would tell me, ‘Never cook anything. You only eat these Oreos, Chips Ahoy! and Doritos,'” says Thomas, who is located in the D.C area. Needless to say his cooking days came to an end, but not for long.
Looking back now at how it all began, food was destined to be in Thomas’ life, marking stages of growth along the way.
This Stage is Called Survival
Born to teenage parents, Thomas was raised by his paternal great aunt and her husband, who he affectionately calls “mom and dad.” The strict household reared by a pastor and first lady provided a strong foundation and work ethic that clients have come to know Thomas for.
“Both of my parents cooked. They would alternate days. My dad always made sure he made the spaghetti and my mom would always do the southern soul food [dishes] because that is what they were raised on,” says Thomas. “Me just being the individual who I was, I was just always the type of person who wanted to learn. So I would sit there and watch how they prepared things.”
Growing up with homecooked meals every day, he told “Sister Circle” co-host Rashan Ali that fast food was a luxury. One he would later fully indulge in as a college student at Bowie University while studying criminal justice. However, during his sophomore year, he received a health diagnosis that would put an end to all that. “At age 19, I was diagnosed with a rare yet fatal [condition] called arteriovenous malformation and it was triggered by a random seizure I had from a poor diet in college,” shares Thomas. “After surgery, I was on heavy seizure medication, along with having to learn how to walk again. Doctors advised me that my diet had to change.”
Returning home, he became a pescatarian removing all meats from his diet, preparing only seafood dishes. He didn’t return to school and instead worked a variety of restaurant jobs because cooking was familiar and something he was good at it.
In 2009, he decided to go full throttle and start a personal chef and catering business providing clients with meals that had his signature twist on them. You know, that little something extra that chefs love to do using ingredients or techniques that take the flavors over the top.
Early YouTube videos show Thomas hosting cooking tutorials as a way of teaching others and growing his clientele. But the success as a new entrepreneur wasn’t enough to keep him focused. Instead, distractions of life and opportunities to make more money lured him away but ultimately led to a dead-end and the necessity to start over.
The Next Stage – Reinvention
In 2014, Thomas recommitted himself to what he enjoyed most: food and cooking for others. The husband and father of one, relaunched his business, Chef Anthony Events, and has since amassed quite the social media following on Instagram as he teases followers not only with mouthwatering dishes, but a glimpse inside his life outside of the kitchen and in the community.
Teaching others how to live healthier is one thing that has remained constant over the years. The chef is the author of the cookbooks, “Meal Prep is the New Leftovers,” “#ChefAntWOW Volume I: A Collection of Recipes,” and a book dedicated to his daughter, “Ashlyn Eats,” that introduces her to different meals daily.
In addition to the dishes family, friends and clients have come to love, it is the introduction of his detox cleanse last February that is quickly becoming the talk of the town. Available for as a 3-day or 5-day plan, the juices consist of organic vegetables and fruits that are consumed with a raw diet and through research, intended to help manage several health issues such as high blood pressure and weight loss.
The cleanse consists of four juices a day starting with celery for breakfast, carrot for lunch, cucumber for dinner and beet for an extra boost. He adds apples, lemons and ginger for additional benefits and taste. Because the juices are all-natural with no preservatives, they are not available for shipping due to a short shelf life but can be picked up or delivered within the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) area for a fee.
Continuing to Level Up
Looking ahead, Thomas wants to expand his personal chef services with the goal of working with clients throughout the country. In addition, he’ll continue exploring a storefront opportunity that would offer the juices as well as healthy smoothies, salads, and more under one roof.
But no matter how busy he gets, he always finds time for giving back and mentoring young men and women who are interested in the culinary industry or need guidance to help navigate through this thing called life.
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