From Physical Therapist to Chef
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a chef, but when my son was diagnosed with a myriad of health problems at just age 2, I became passionate about finding a way to heal him through food. I did tons of research on how your diet truly affects your health and triggers certain ailments.
That’s when I decided to switch careers as a physical therapist to become a chef. I wanted a job that I could take care of my son and daughter while also helping others heal themselves through food – that’s when I started my first culinary business. It was scary but I knew that was my calling in life.
Starting from Scratch
This personal chef business would be just the beginning. I carved out my own niche with this business and did highly personalized meal delivery. Back then it was a new concept and not many people were doing it, especially with a culinary medicine background like I had.
A few years after opening my first company, I decided to try my hand at owning a restaurant called Cantrell’s Lakeview Grill. After a year of that, I decided it just wasn’t for me even though it did well. I just didn’t love the restaurant life.
I had been in the Fort Worth area for a while but my husband’s job took us to a different city and I had to start from scratch all over again. I had to find new clients in a new area I didn’t know and build new business relationships all over. It was quite the learning experience.
Once we were settled back into good ‘ole Fort Worth, that’s when I decided that I was going to get serious about making it successful and I decided to hire my first business coach and spent WAY more than I was comfortable with, but I knew it was a worthwhile investment.
From Scratch to Successful Serial Entrepreneur
Thousands of dollars later spent on various coaches to help me get where I am today, I built multiple businesses I was proud of and a reputation in a community I loved. I was able to vacation with my family several times a year and not worry about my business exploding while I was gone.
In between all of this, in 2014 I decided to launch Chef Deb – my coaching programs. For years I chefs had been asking me how I did this and that. I knew there were hardly ANY resources for learning these things, so I wanted to offer this to others who could use the help like I needed too.
In 2019 I decided to sell my company to my head chef. It was hard to let go of the baby I had built. It was not an easy decision at all. However, I felt like it was time to focus on coaching and mentoring other chefs. I had to let go of something good to make room for something even better.
Now, I wake up excited every day to work with an exclusive, small group of passionate business owners who want to make the world a better and brighter place through their food. I learn so much from them and I just love this supportive community we’ve built.
Timeline of Her Culinary Business Journey
Deb’s Awards & Accolades
Over the past 18 years, Deb has received the honor of being:
2009 – Named “Marketer of the Year” by the USPCA
2015 – Named “Chef of the Year” by the USPCA
2015 – #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of “So You’re a Chef Now What?”
2016 – Won “Website of the Year” by the USPCA
2016 – Voted “Best Chef” in Fort Worth Texas Magazine
2017 – Voted “Best Catering” in Fort Worth Texas Magazine
2018 – Voted “Best Catering” in Fort Worth Texas Magazine
Fort Worth Native
If you’ve heard me talk, you know I’ve got a little twang! I’m a Texas native who currently has roots in Fort Worth, with my family – including my husband Don, daughter Shelby, dog Sydney and my son Spencer, when he’s on leave from the Army.
Fort Worth has an amazing culinary scene that inspires me every day. While you’ll usually find me dining at the latest artisan restaurant, you’ll also find me traveling across the U.S. supporting all of my culinary friends in their latest foodie adventures.