With the COVID-19 Pandemic hitting small businesses hard, many entrepreneurs are still putting in work to make it by. Within the food industry, local chefs are working around the clock to provide their customers with quality meals despite the restrictions. One Bay Area Chef has been on a roll as her business takes off while she provides some of the best meals you’ll find in the area.
1. Where are you from and how was your upbringing?
My name is Shabriya Hill and I’m from San Francisco, CA. Born and raised in Fillmore. I’m the oldest of 4, and growing up my responsibilities started early on. My mom was a single parent and worked 2 full time jobs, so I had to help with my siblings. This started my cooking journey; in short, I was tired of Cup-a-Noodles. We didn’t have a whole lot, so when I started I had to empty all the cabinets and create something, and I loved it! Early on, when I was around 7 years old, I would always sit in the kitchen be nosey and I would also watch my Granny Pat and my Great Aunts and Great Grandma in the kitchen they could really cook; when I decided I wanted to learn they were my first teachers and taste-testers.
2. How did BriyaBeCookin start and when did you realize something special was happening?
Even though I always loved to cook and I have been in the kitchen since a really young age, it wasn’t until after I had a stroke at 24 that it became more than just cooking; it became therapy, it became what helped me heal. My cooking got better, the way my brain started to work and remember flavors was different, and I was cooking better than ever before. Even when I could barely remember most things I could always remember when it came to cooking and food.
3. How have you had to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic forced me to focus on building my business and take my “side hustle” more seriously. Though I have been blessed with many opportunities during this pandemic, I have also had to cancel events due to social distancing and all the closings. The safety of our customers and our families is our biggest concern, so all of us at Briyabecookin have been wearing masks, washing our hands (even more) and practicing social distancing, not only while working and serving customers but off the clock as well. Since I started cooking at the @blackfoodcollective kitchen we have contactless ordering and pick up which helps keep both us and our customers safe during these difficult times.
4. Any advice to the young entrepreneurs/chefs just starting out?
My advice to young entrepreneurs would be to keep getting up. Because you are going to fall. A lot is going to happen – it’s inevitable, but it’s about getting back up, learning from that fall, and pushing forward. Invest in yourself, but be smart and logical. Keep a small circle of people around you who genuinely want to see you win that will also give you that harsh truth. If you’re anything like me, you may have a million and one great ideas that you want to chase all at once, without the time to execute them correctly. It took someone else telling me “Hey, stop dumping money into all these different things and focus on one and build that first” for me to really build that.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
In 5-10 years I see Briyabecookin in stores and homes. I see books and products accessible to people across the world. I started selling plates out of my kitchen, but the sky’s the limit.
6. How can people get in touch with you?