In 2012, I miraculously beat out nearly 45,000 applicants to compete on the FOX show Masterchef, where I gained invaluable experience and feedback from Chef Gordon Ramsey, Joe Bastianich, Chef Graham Elliot, and Chef Alain Ducasse, among many others. After finishing 3rd place, I went back to reality, where I decided to leave my career as a food photographer and began cooking full time— in some of LA’s toughest restaurants. I began my journey as a stage at Providence restaurant under Chef Michael Cimarusti for 4 months, then transitioned to chef de commis at Rays and Stark Bar, under Chef Kris Morningstar for 1 1/2 years. In 2014 I started working as chef de partie at The Churchkey restaurant, under Chef Stven Fretz.
By fall of 2014, I had been splitting my time (read: working 7 days a week, day and night) between The Churchkey, and building the brand for my popup brunch concept: Bang Bang Brunch. I finally decided to leave my restaurant job as a line cook and devote my time to launching Bang Bang, and building my private cooking clientele. By 2016, Bang Bang transitioned into my full service catering and personal chef brand. I began working as an in-home personal chef for high profile clients during the day, and organizing and executing private events all over Los Angeles at night. At the same time, I was doing a great deal of food styling for television shows like Access Hollywood, The Talk, Conan, Queen Latifah, The Steve Harvey Show and others. As well as partnering with online media companies for video content like cooking shows, or how-to videos and various other projects, like designing meal kit delivery boxes, for home cooks. In the fall of 2016 I guest starred on Restaurant Startup, on CNBC, and was a featured Chef/Host on the Masterchef cruise with Holland America Cruise lines.
In 2018, I partnered with a long-time colleague and coffee expert, Aldo Lihiang to open my first restaurant, a brunch concept, called Lately. We broke ground and began the process of designing the menu & space in May of 2018. By December, we opened our doors, serving delicious contemporary comfort food in the heart of Chinatown, in downtown Los Angeles. Lately is open daily form 8:30am-3pm.
I now split my time between Lately, private work, and all the fun projects that keep me inspired daily, and near food, always.