Mona grew up in Greensville, North Carolina with a passion for food. At the early age of nine, she discovered that this was something that passed down from generation to generation.
“It’s been something in my bloodline”, Mona says. “My grandmother cooked and even my great grandmother before her”.
You would think Mona got started as a chef, with her many interest in different foods, but instead she began pursuing a career in medicine to follow her parent’s wishes.
“Our parents mainly wanted us to focus on the health field. I was gearing more towards nursing by the end of high school”. She believed that becoming a nurse wasn’t the right way to go when it comes to living your passion. It was something that didn’t spark her true interest, “It seemed like people were going for the money, not the passion. It was depressing for me”. It wasn’t until Mona had a face to face conversation with her high school guidance counselor, that she realized what she wanted to do in life. By the time she graduated, she decided to take the generational current of cooking and turn it into a legacy. By revamping this history, she focused her career on making a specific name for her family by becoming a well-known Celebrity Chef. As she attended cooking school and continued to grow, she realized her favorite foods to prepare were ones that could be fused together, brining different cultures onto one plate.
“I like taking two cultures and bringing them together so someone can enjoy”. One of her favorite creations, are her unique variety of egg roll combos: mac and cheese egg rolls, collard green egg rolls, apple pie and so much more. When asked what was one of the most memorable moments in her career, she responded with the encounters she had with multiple celebrities like Jamie Fox and Da Baby.
“I sent [Jamie] a menu full of high-end things, but instead he wanted soul food”, says Mona. “He was easy going and allowed me to chill with him as I handed out the food. It was really cool to experience that moment and also magnifies the person that I am”. Mona wishes to further her career in cooking by leaning more towards an entrepreneurial goal, using her extravagant food combinations. She also wishes to share her skills by creating a conviction kitchen at local prisons.
“The reason why people do negative things is for negative attention, they never believe that they can be the diamond in the rough. We are all diamonds in the rough and it is up to us to be valuable. Male or females can come in a work together and love themselves”. Her advice travels far and can also be taken by those who wish to pursue a career in cooking. Mona wishes to connect with the young people in this generation in order to encourage them to follow that desire.
“Don’t think you know everything because that is where you go wrong. Take the opportunity to see what you don’t know and build on that.”
Photography: Vyzion Photography