Chef Mona…Her Xclusive Twist on the Culinary World!
So if you know me…I love food.
Not just the taste, but the way the chef prepares the dish with meticulous care. And presentation is a must! Not just throwing things together onto a plate, but an arrangement of delicacies that makes your eyes as satisfied as the palate after the first bite….
Meeting Chef Mona years ago at a live broadcast allowed me the opportunity to taste her creations, and now some time later after her stint overseas and various clientele, we got the opportunity to chat with the chef with the bright smile and culinary magic that has impressed many, and stirred up quite a following……
Ok, so I have to ask this question…..what made you go into the culinary arts field?
Actually, I woke up one day, and I decided, while my kids were at middle school age, that I wanted to be a better example to them. Sometimes, when you are a younger parent, you then to be lost yourself. So I wanted to be a better example. So I went to Central Piedmont Community College, spoke with a counselor and I asked him, “what should I do?” I mean I talk a lot… so I could be a paralegal, I could go into the healthcare field, but I don’t know what to do. I want to be somebody, I want to do something! So he (the counselor) was like “Well, what do you like to do everyday, even on a bad day?” So I’m thinking; cook! Even on a bad day, Mona can cook! So he said “you need to go into the culinary field” So I’m thinking “What?” “No…I see myself in that white hat and that white coat.” But now, at the end of the day, I’m the international celebrity chef. Chef Mona.
Share with us your education and work background
Well, I’ve actually been cooking since the age of nine. I think that when you have certain talents, its in your veins. And now that I look back, cooking that early, when you see Chef Mona, you’re definitely seeing another side of things that has been passed on through me. As far as the pastry side my grandmother Lise Arnold she baked cakes, well she would be the pastry chef here in 2016, which is me. Cora Kilgore, she cooks really well, she would be the chef here, which is me. So therefore there are things that when you have talents, sometimes you have to reach within and know what you got and have passed down to you.
I graduated from Central Piedmont Community College, taking culinary there and became a chef, then went on to take pastry arts under Jeffrey Blunt. It is an amazing experience to be able to have a dual degree. From there I was able to get a job through Central Piedmont Community College to work at a golf course in Stanley N.C, that’s been amazing…. a great experience! I was also able to go with a pro baseball player out of the country and that’s how I was able to become an international celebrity chef. I keep in contact with him and his wife quite often and I’m actually doing something with them very soon. So definitely one thing has led to another, building off of that background. I was at Central Piedmont Community College and I volunteered a lot so I could stay up under the chefs, so I could learn things that sometimes wasn’t a part of the school curriculum. So I really took everything that came from my bloodline, and put it on steroids, and just amped it up! Just making it happen right about now!
So compare, what you learned in school vs skills acquired since you’ve been running your business. Which do you think have really sustained you during this career path?
Actually the school definitely amped up what I already knew. The school definitely brought the professionalism, it brought the skills that you aren’t going to learn at home unless your parent is a chef. And being able to bring presentation to the table, because before people eat anything, they see things. So I learned a lot of things in school that I really appreciate. I also learned how to go in certain directions with my business, even being on time was very important in school. It didn’t make sense to me then, but its vital, its important! Going to school was very sustainable in my career path, and another thing about school…I can always go back to my mentors and talk to them on any situation. I appreciate them, and I make sure I always shout them out.
We’ve also seen that you’ve been feeding the who’s who of the QC and celebs as well. How does it feel when others get a chance to sample and enjoy your culinary creations?
Oh my gracious! It feels like…It feels absolutely amazing because for me, I cook from here, from my soul. I want people to be happy, who wants to disappoint somebody? It’s truly amazing, beyond words to say sometimes. I just like seeing faces.
If Chef Mona could create a signature dinner for a celebrity, who would it be and what would it be?
I would cook for a lot of celebrities; I could think of several celebrities and based on their personalities. Certain dishes I would try to go for. But I have one do over I would like to do over…..Big Boi from Outkast. I met him at an event several years ago, he was given some diamond encrusted Nikes, a friend of mine gave him those. He (big Boi) actually had his manager give me his number, because I was telling him that I could cook, and..um.. I lost his number! On my way from GA to SC to pick up my child, then to NC, I lost his number, and I was so disappointed! However, I would do a do over, and I would make him some “Stankonia Wings” And those wings I would incorporate some ginger and mint, and hopefully he would like that flavor. Maybe I could get the flavors he would like, but so far I’m thinking, it seems like that he would go outside of the box. A little more flavors, a little more Chef Mona’s wrist game to it! Yes, exactly, I think it would be Big Boi from Outkast….Mint & Ginger wings….some Stankonia Wings!
What’s next for Chef Mona and Exclusive Delights? Your own line of dishes? Gourmet cook book? Show? C’mon you have to share with our readers!!!
As far as my own line of dishes, yes, I would definitely like to do that. I’ve talked about that like several years ago, but I can’t get into that right now. The gourmet cookbook…I definitely like to do a cookbook, I’m not really sure on gourmet. Being that the world is so health conscious, it would have to go along those lines of healthy, and we’re also trying to budget so I think I would gear more toward whatever the masses (people) need.
A show…so right now I’m doing several guest appearances on shows, I just did one with “Real Talk with Felice” however, I really don’t have a show idea right now with the food. We are working on a show to help teens that are struggling, and hope to bring in some of these culinary experiences to help the teens out. To get some of that energy shook off a little bit, and help them hopefully to choose some good career paths.
Thank you Chef Mona for sharing with our readers your amazing career, and passionate culinary talent!
Thank you Urban Tymes for having me!