noun || yəNG ˈhefā
Chef Swoop is a Private Chef and Caterer.
CHEF SOLOMON JOHNSON
YJ: What’s your current hustle?
CS: I’m a Private Chef and Caterer. I specialize in recipe development and menu consultations for restaurant groups.
YJ: Has what you’re doing now been a life-long interest?
CS: Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a Chef. I just didn’t think I’d be working for myself as soon as I did.
YJ: When did you realize you could succeed in your (current) respective field?
CS: My first year in cooking school, I had a private client who paid me more in a week than I’d get from my two week check at my full-time job.
YJ: What do you think is unique about your creative process?
CS: My creative process is unique because it’s based on interacting with my clientele base. Most of my clients have no idea what they want to eat or want catered for events. So I encourage my clients to stick to their roots and what matters to them most. My ideas are based on tradition, family, feelings, and memories. Recreating a childhood memory through a plate of food takes a special set of skills (i.e interpersonal relationship skills, international cuisine knowledge, traditional food customs, etc.). Not to say that I can’t curate an amazing meal without feedback from a client, I just find my ideas to be more bountiful after a good talk with the people who hire me. That transfer of energy through conversation is crucial to my creative process.
YJ: How do you "practice" your craft?
CS: I practice EVERYDAY by tasting. I taste something new everyday. I try new ingredients or techniques that I’ve never heard of everyday. Sometimes I’ll just walk around the grocery store to find something I’ve never seen or heard of. Sometimes I’ll over salt something so my taste buds knows the extremes of too much salt versus too little. I’ll drink vinegar just to experience the reaction of too much acidity. It’s all a part of building your palate which is the most important tool for any culinary artist.
YJ: What would you say to someone who may think that their talent is not an ideal career path?
CS: In this day and age, there is no ideal career path and there are ways to monetize everything. If you have a passion for what you do, a real passion, like “late nights and early mornings” passion. Apply it. Ask question. Hustle harder and smarter then the person next to you and you’ll be successful no matter what.
YJ: What’s been your favorite collaborative project thus far? And why?
CS: My favorite collaborative project has been with my cameraman/brother Ryan Soule. We just recently finished a project called “More Than a Chef” and it’s a web-series about my life in and out of the kitchen. I appreciate what he did because I got to be myself on camera and be honest about the things I’m going through both in life and in the kitchen.
YJ: What are you still looking to achieve?
CS: I still want to open my own small brick and mortar so that I can serve my food to the community that helped me accomplish my dream. I’m happy now but when I get to that point the smile on my face will be much different.