Shanel Dewalt is the Owner of Divine Indulgence Personal Chef Services in Detroit, MI. I recently had the chance to chat with Shanel about her rising business and entrepreneurial journey.
Divine Indulgence Personal Chef Services provides an exclusive culinary experience for private, corporate and social events. Shanel creates high quality full course meals, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts for all occasions. She enjoys preparing speciality to meals for weddings, private romantic dinners, conferences, holiday parties, and small business events.
I had the pleasure of working with Shanel earlier this year when she created signature lunch boxes for The Unlocked Summit Detroit. When I found out that she was only 20 years, I knew I had to dive deeper to learn how she took the leap to become a thriving entrepreneur at such a young age. So let’s get right to it.
Chatoya: What sparked your interest to start cooking and become a chef?
Shanel: I started cooking at a young age. My mother was a single mom that worked all the time. I am the oldest of five so she never really learned how to cook for us. We always ate tv dinners and frozen meals. There were times when we didn’t have enough food for all of us so I would go in our pantry and just start putting meals together that I knew would easily feed a family of five such as home fries (Cubed Seasoned Potatoes).
I used to watch food network all the time so I was pretty familiar with flavor combinations. After a while of experimenting and using my siblings as the tester, I started developing my own.
Chatoya: How did you gain a love for becoming a chef?
Shanel: I am not in love with being a chef. I love being a great cook though. Being a good cook allows me to always learn different things. The flavor profiles is always changing because of the versatility of ingredients that exist all over the world. Being a cook has exposed me to those ingredients. Who would have known there are 20+ varieties of apples?
Chatoya: What’s your favorite meal to cook?
Shanel: My favorite thing to make is Chicken Picatta and Shepard’s Pie.
Chatoya: What type of cuisine do you enjoy cooking the most?
Shanel: I love the Spanish Culture. I always wanted travel to Spain and explore the food culture. Go to each of the different parts and make the different versions of Paella.
Chatoya: What is your vision for Divine Indulgence?
Shanel: My ultimate vision for divine indulgence is to provide as many meals as possible for people. I see myself providing nourishment through food. I just want to make people happy by providing good meals along with a great ambiance to follow. That seems to always does the trick.
Chatoya: Do you have a target market that focus on solely for clients?
Shanel: My target market are families or individuals that require personal chef services.
Chatoya: Do you have a favorite celebrity chef that you look to for inspirational dishes?
Shanel: I don’t have a favorite celebrity chef that I look up to. I like to march to the beat of my own drum. I do however research certain flavor profiles to develop ones of my own.
Chatoya: What is one of your biggest challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
Shanel: One of my biggest challenges I have faced as an entrepreneur is trying to do so much in so little time by myself. I work hard everyday to expand my brand and it gets hard doing things by myself when I also have school, clients, and everyday responsibilities. I overcame this by hiring Her F.L.A.M.E.S brand consulting services as my brand consultant and Social Media Manager owned by Ci’era Blankenship. She has been by my side since the very beginning and has done an amazing job capturing my vision while growing it simultaneously. It definitely helps to have people on your team that excel in the areas you lack in.
Chatoya: What advice would you give to an aspiring or rising chef?
Shanel: Never doubt yourself and always work hard to perfect your craft. Don’t try to mimic others. You having your own style of cooking is how your target audience will gravitate towards you.
Chatoya: What can we look forward to in the future for Divine Indulgence? Any upcoming events, partnerships or collaborations?
You can look forward to Divine Indulgence launching a seasoning line in the late fall/early winter. Any other upcoming events or partnerships will be posted on social media handles.
Thanks so much for tuning in!
I’ll definitely be on the look out for the seasoning line! Shanel is such an inspiration. When I was 20 the only on my mind was graduating from college on time and passing my finals. I hope this interview has sparked a light in your tunnel to push pass fear and do whatever it is that you set your mind to. Shanel didn’t let her upbringing hold her back, she used it to her advantage and found her passion in the process. Keep striving to be who you are destined to be, even if that means creating and designing the life you want to live. #ToTheTopWeGo