From Runway to Chef

An honest conversation with model turned chef on the importance of being true...

Transformation can be frightening, or it can be exhilarating. It’s usually some combination of the two. Let’s have conversation about both…

"You would be great at that"

I was born in the 70’s where we didn’t learn about passion or desire of the heart. We were taught find something you like, get a job and ride the wave to see where it takes you. Well I did just that… At the age of 18, I went against the grain stop attending college to pursue modeling fulltime. I had an amazing career in makeup which later transferred my life into broadcasting/entertainment. I can’t tell you how many times I've heard “OMG, you would be great at that…” So, I did it and I was great at it but still missing something. After years of allowing others to validate what I was supposed to be and after a horrible marriage/divorce I decided to LIVE for ME, by my own rules and be my own validation. It took me 40 years to figure that part out!

The Transformation

The exhilarating part of this transformation was learning I was going to be a first-time mom and starting culinary school at the same time. I knew if I wanted to show my daughter what being true to yourself really was, I first had to live it. I had to live up to my own standards. But did I know what they were? Did I have the courage to soul search and hold myself accountable? Would I be able to make this transformation successful and not care about what other people thought? The answer to all of the above was NO! I doubted myself on everything. I could have a good day and turn around and have a week was full out fear, sadness and confusion. But as I look back on those moments they were all a part of the transformation… building up strength I didn’t know existed. Now I won’t lie and say as I write this, I’m not wondering what you’re thinking about as you read this… But I’ve learned to control my thoughts and not give a shit. I established the 30 second rule for myself. It's where I allow myself to feel whatever emotion no longer than 30 seconds and not let it grow into something it was never meant to be!

Just Being Me

Growing up I loved being in the kitchen with my mom. She was truly my foundation to the art and love of cooking. Whenever I needed to decompress or just BE, I would find myself (punt intended) in the kitchen creating, laughing or just BEING ME. Many people ask when did your relationship start with the kitchen? I was enjoying cookbooks before I could walk. Unfortunately, I never knew how to nurture that itch. I followed the validations of others. Don’t get me wrong by doing so I created one heck of a life for myself. So just imagine what this chapter will be as I march to the beat of my own drums. Especially with my beautiful baby-girl in tow.

So, when I decided to go to culinary school, I wanted to do something for me. Something where there’s no managers, there’s no agents, there’s no one depending on me or my time or scheduling my life, nothing. I went to school four days a week, seven hours a day and that became the most refreshing and renewing career for me. It’s not that I didn’t love the world of entertainment but I needed a mental hiatus. My life has been awesome, I haven’t had a “real job” since I was 22, so I can’t really complain. Knowing myself, I needed to take the reins back and have more control and remember why I started this. I never started this for fame and fortune and popularity. I don’t need people to praise me all day to feel like I’m doing a good job. You have to center yourself and what matters to you. I think that’s what I needed. So now, with food, I love the fact that I’m good at something else and I can get my hands dirty. I’m older and more in control and I haven’t lost sight, of what matters to me.

Check out Cooking with Chef Kat's YouTube page…

#ChefKat #ModelturnedChef #KatrellMendenahll

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