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Resilient Vibes Unveiled

Heyo! Chef Sarah here, happy to be contributing to Coach Shiela’s uplifting platform. It's like the VIP lounge of positivity here,  so grab a seat, and let's have some fun or have a good cry, you never know with me! 


I'll start with this acknowledgement. Writing for others demands vulnerability and awareness, and that's the intention today - I did deep self reflection in order to share something meaningful and honest. 



I'm a proud single mama, chef and entrepreneur. Currently, I serve as a freelance chef and events supervisor with an elite agency covering Southern California. My role involves traveling to diverse locations, where I either integrate into new teams or assume leadership for various events, including Art and Film festivals, NFL games, concerts, and even the Superbowl. The opportunity to be compensated for access to these exclusive events is truly remarkable. 


Thriving on the challenges presented, I find joy in swiftly adapting to new menus and kitchens, ensuring flawless execution of dishes. Whether it's entering SoFi Stadium and coordinating with the head of operations to meet the diverse needs across multiple kitchen locations, or efficiently managing logistics for a team of 100 employees awaiting check-in and briefings, I revel in the dynamic nature of my work.

 

The perks of my work ain't shabby either. I'm obsessed with football and love basketball so yep, Crypto and Sofi stadium are ideal offices. I've met some dope celebrities and athletes, fed my favorite artists and had intimate viewpoints of the best shows. I'm grateful every damn day for these opportunities because getting here was nothing short of a miracle. 


Growing up with first-generation parents meant scarce living, but for me, scarcity was freedom. It fueled creativity and resilience.. From age five, I faced life's challenges independently, shaping my fearlessness as a business owner, chef, and mother. At five, I was self- governing, a trait that defines my refusal to take orders or back down from authority if it's against my values or stunts my growth. 


Raised by a single Mama who overcame devastation in Cambodia, I witnessed her unwavering resilience in a new country, working full-time, hustling as a seamstress, and earning her degree at night. A true baddie fueled by willpower and no other options, she had zero hesitation or doubts, she just did what was needed for her three daughters. 



My two older sisters and I were a breed of self-reliant girls who never dwell on what we didn't have, we've thrived because of it. This was my life's compass as a single mama making ends meet away from family with no child support. I wanted a better life for my son, and to be someone he could admire. If my work had purpose, if I was passionate and dedicated, that would be admirable. 


So, I attached myself to a mission not an outcome. My mission was to live purposefully without compromising my authenticity. 


And that's how my story began in Orlando, FL where I opened my first eatery, "The Wandering Wonton." Starting with just an idea - the belief that anything could be transformed into a wonton or dumpling - I found a path that ensured I'd never be bored or stuck in routine. 


Experiencing my element for the first time, I flourished and shone like never before! The initial month was a whirlwind, especially during the soft opening, where I initially underestimated the public's love for wontons. In April's first week, I found myself catching a few minutes of sleep in my chef chair during slower times. Admittedly, mistakes were inevitable. In that first month, they were, well, quite memorable. On day #10, I unintentionally set a pan of wontons on fire, prompting a visit from the fire department. On day #35, during a meeting, one of my staff members accidentally over- spiced my Buffalo chicken mix and proceeded to roll 500 wontons with it.. As the owner and chef, though they were rare, a mistake devastated me and I dwelled. Anxiety set in caused hesitation, a harmful cycle based on nothing. It took six months, but I let go of perfection and embraced change with adaptability and chaos with calm. 


For months, my routine involved sleeping only a few hours, savoring mornings with my son. By 7 am, I navigated Restaurant Depot, Asian markets, and other errands, arriving at my shop by 8:45 am. In a tight 15- minute window, I unloaded supplies, handled kitchen prep, crafted two soups or curries from scratch, and commenced spring roll preparations. By 10:30 am, my dedicated employee joined the scene to provide assistance. The core of my staff comprised three girls residing near the shop. Their responsibilities encompassed cashier and food service duties, cleaning tasks, folding wontons, and the unspoken rule of staying out of my way. At 1130am, WW was open and the lunch rush hit hard daily and it was my happy place. Like lightning, I'd move through my eatery, kitchen, stock room on repeat for 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week for my first year. At 11pm closing, I'd mop, clean, make my to do list, run my sales reports, smile and have a beer in blissful silence. I think fondly of those sweet nights. When I expanded with a catering and popup LLC, my company's growth trajectory was impressive. It was beautifully hard earned. I solidified myself as a notable chef and proprietor

What fueled my journey wasn't just the love for wontons; it was the belief that dreams are meant to be chased, regardless of the circumstances. Being a single mom wasn't a limitation-it was a superpower. It meant embracing resilience, mastering the art of adaptability and finding inspiration in my child's unwavering belief in my abilities. Crafting a legacy for him became my mantra. 


The wonton shop became more than a culinary haven; it became a symbol of triumph over adversity. Each steaming parcel held not just flavors but stories of courage and tenacity. It was a testament to the idea that your dreams don't have to wait for the perfect conditions 


-they can thrive amidst chaos. 

To every woman reading this, I implore you to be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams. 


Whether you're navigating uncharted waters or venturing into unfamiliar territories, know that your potential knows no bounds. Embrace your passion, silence the doubts, and boldly go where your heart beckons. 


You absolutely have what it takes!




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