The proud parents of Quiana Shanai Jeffries recognized early on that there was something special about their daughter. She had great awareness, determination and creativity at such a young age, especially when it came to matters in her family kitchen. As a child, Quiana stayed busy in that kitchen! She was always emptying out her mother’s Tupperware with great curiosity, wanting to know how food became magically transformed into delectable dishes. Years later, her ‘Granny’ had a vision and decided to put a spoon in her right hand and a pot in her left and said “OK, lets cook”. ‘Granny’ then began to teach Quiana all the basics she would need to know that would later help her advance in her culinary career. In essence, Granny gave the young Quiana the necessary ingredients to put in every single dish she prepared- passion, soul, and love.
By the tender age of 10, Quiana’s vision for herself was clear. She dreamed of being one of the greatest chefs ever known to mankind. She adopted a quote from champion boxing icon Muhammad Ali as her own personal life affirmation. “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.”
In 2003, Quiana decided to enhance her knowledge and further hone her skills in the kitchen. She enrolled in the renowned Culinary Arts School Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California. There, she learned to perfect her passion in cooking. During her studies, Quiana was exposed to another genre of culinary expertise, adding French cuisine to her arsenal. She graduated in 2005, and that is when ‘Chef Q’ was born.
Chef Q, a native of Los Angeles, CA, holds a strong belief in giving back to her community. She volunteers her superb cooking skills to the Los Angeles Police department downtown every Thanksgiving. She also volunteers her time and talent to underprivileged high school students at William and Carol Ouchi High School. She has her Catering Company called Chefism that offers a fresh and edgy take on Southern Cuisine. Currently you can find her beasting in Floyd Mayweather’s kitchen as his Private Chef. But the journey doesn’t stop here for Chef Q. Her biggest aspirations have yet to come, such as owning her own reality cooking show on Oprah’s OWN Network and continuing to create unbelievable savory culinary masterpieces. “Belief is the fulfillment of what’s already been made true.” She is the greatest, and she said that before she knew it.
Let delicious interview begin!
First Lady Truth: Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a personal chef?
Chef Q: I was born in Los Angeles California. When I was younger I was always into sports. Basketball was my life and cooking was just a hobby. My great grandmother Inez Shoemaker was a great influence in my life and gave me the foundation I needed to be a great cook. She was from Louisiana so I learned all the southern dishes. She didn’t go by recipes and measurements. She just knew how much of each ingredient to mix together. And that’s how she taught me. My passion to become a Chef didn’t come until later on in life as I graduated High School. I went to college wanting to do something with sports and when that fell through I went to Culinary Arts Le Cordon Bleu in 2003. That’s where CHEF Q was born. I learned so many different things and techniques in Culinary and with what I already knew from granny, it just came to play. I had the total package to be something great and amazing. After graduating, I got into working in different hotels, women rehab shelters, restaurants and catering companies. One day I got tired of making someone else money and decided to branch off and do my own catering company and that’s how CHEFISM came about. I also started getting into TV and doing different shows. I got on Guy Fieri show called Guys Grocery Games and lost. That was a year ago and all I can say is look at me now. I never gave up and I kept going. Since the airing of that particular show, I have just been focusing on myself and branding myself in my culinary field as a Personal/Private Chef.
First Lady Truth: How did you link up with Floyd Mayweather?
Chef Q: This is a funny story but his assistant Kitchie actually found me on Instagram. I was cooking for a celebrity life coach and his name is Tony Gaskins. He used to post pictures of my food on his page. So Kitchie called him and told him Champ needed me for his training camp. (this was in June 2014) So the very next day I packed up my car with all of my clothes and drove to Vegas with the anticipation of working for champ for the next 8 weeks only. After his fight in September 2014 he decided to keep me. I have been with him as his Private Chef ever since. So thank you INSTAGRAM…and God of course.
First Lady Truth: Do you find it difficult to work on your brand and your identity as a chef while working for Mr. Mayweather?
Chef Q: I didn’t find it difficult to work on my brand and identity as a Chef while working for Champ. I found it easy actually. Just think I’m around the richest well-known athlete everyday. That within itself is inspirational. I am one that ALWAYS pays attention and I watch those around me. So as I am working I am also learning what to do in my own business. I was born to leave my mark on this world.
First Lady Truth: What is on your personal menu when you are simply kicking back with family and friends?
Chef Q: My personal menu when I am kicking back with just family and friends may consist of anything HEARTY and SOULFUL. I am the type to fill you up with lots of love. LOL I have that feel good food. Make you want to dance and sing in the rain. I would make fried chicken, coconut candy yams, mac and Jesus (mac and Cheese), mixed greens, cabbage, rice and gravy and it can go on and on. I like to make any day a Thanksgiving Holiday.
First Lady Truth: Do you have any aspirations of opening a restaurant?
Chef Q: That’s a question I get asked A LOT. At this point I can’t say I don’t want to have a restaurant one day. I am more focus on branding myself and just getting my name out there. I would love to have a food reality show on Oprah’s OWN network. I love to connect with others on a deeper level first. Get more intimate and then come out with a restaurant where everyone can experience me feeding his or her souls.
First Lady Truth: Is there any dish that you have yet to conquer?
Chef Q: I would love to get into more Asian dishes. I have Thailand in my bloodline and as a kid I remember the food my granddad used to make and eat. So I would love to perfect any Asian dish and maybe come up with some of my own.
First Lady Truth: If someone wanted to wine and dine you what should they cook?
Chef Q: If someone wanted to wine and dine me what should they cook?? WOW that’s a great question because it’s soooo rare that anyone really cooks for me other than my twin sister. I would say a juicy steak either Filet or Porterhouse….Loaded Baked Potato and Sautéed Broccoli. Something simple yet elegant.
First Lady Truth: Where can we find your years from now?
Chef Q: Years from now you can find me just being happy and living my life accordingly. I don’t know what my future holds BUT I do know it will be a bright one. I plan on having my own cooking reality show and inspiring others within my field or just in life period.
First Lady Truth: What can you say to motivate members of our youth that aspire to be in this field?
Chef Q: My advice would simply be JUST BE YOU…. No one lives your life but you so live for YOU…Don’t compromise who you are for anyone…Don’t change who you are for anyone. Don’t be afraid to take a stand for YOUR OWN LIFE…You MATTER…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL the way you are. When it all comes down to it you don’t have anyone but yourself so why not love you for you and live accordingly. People will always have something negative to say when there is something positive. So it doesn’t matter what you do in life, just live for YOU. Do whatever makes YOU happy.