q February CHOW Corner - Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness

CHOW's Corner

February CHOW Corner

Written by: jasparkspapa

Published on:

Meet Kisha Washington!

“I’m Chef Kisha Washington, Executive Chef and Business Owner of 3 culinary businesses. I own a personal chef business, providing upscale private dining to clients throughout the DMV area. I also run a one stop shop for chefs to get websites, branding, menu development tools. And a nonprofit organization for chefs to get scholarships, mental health and substance abuse resources and mentorship. I’m also a competition chef that travels to compete in large cooking competitions. I have won numerous awards and accolades for dishes and concepts”

Helping chefs was the motto.

It’s where it all started. Not just helping chefs, but creating a space for chefs by chefs who understood the ins and outs of a hard industry.

The culinary field has this love/hate relationship with chefs; the majority of chefs love what they do, but also hate some of the aspects that come along with it. If you got to that part of it where you questioned “why am I still here in this industry?” Cookzcreed Foundation was started to answer that very question.

I started the organization based on two things. To help others achieve goals and greatness in this field, and to help myself. With the first, I knew it was a goal of mine to help chefs achieve goals, attain better positions, just being better in every aspect.

But, with the second, this was personal. My fiancé and I had always talked about the trials we experienced as chefs. There weren’t a lot of funds available to chefs to get the essentials. Chef coats, knives, pots and pans, etc… Where was the money coming from? Then, how do we take care of ourselves in this journey? Our self care, well being, sanity was questioned. Then how do we run a business, who has been in these places before? So our three pillars become Scholarships, Mental Health, and Mentorship. With these things in place, this was a foundation to start on. But when my fiancé passed away by suicide, this became not only a place to help others, but to help myself in this grieving process.

I then realized, this project is not just about myself and others, it was about him as well.

He had suffered with his mental health for a while, and needed that help. A legacy that was started from a dark place, but has grown into something much bigger than us and much more important to the field. We have grown so much over the last year in a half. Coming up on our two year mark in April 2022. Our achievements have exceeded my expectations with gaining over ten partners. Our partners include some great businesses and companies that are doing the same work. We are apart of the Mental Health Hospitality Coalition, working with other organizations in the hospitality field to bring awareness, support, information, etc… to those in the field.

Some of the challenges we have faced has been raising enough funds for scholarships. Looking at how we can help our partners and vice versa in this journey, and gaining support from others. We have worked on some of these challenges by creating thought provoking content a few days a week. A mental health day, donation day, and mentorship day, in order to bring some awareness to the organization. Being active on platforms and social media has helped. Creating a newsletter for our followers has helped as well. All these things push us forward in our work.

For the future, I see great things for the foundation. I see possible chapters in each state. Grants and donations for chefs to get the things they need. Partnering with big name chefs or companies in order to bring awareness. Or possibly working with mental health facilities or therapist for our chefs. I’m excited to see where this all goes. This organization is dedicated to my fiancé, who just wanted to be better in every aspect of life.

Or saying is “Make Life Worth It” and with this foundation, we plan to exceed that.