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Conversations with Steven Lash

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steven Lash.

Hi Steven, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My culinary journey started in high school when I got a job as a dishwasher at Steak n Ale and I worked my way up through the ranks at various restaurants over the course of the next 15 years. All along I worked to hone my skills and elevate my craft. When my first child was born I began to reevaluate the restaurant lifestyle and eventually changed careers. I spent the next 18 years working in tech where I built a successful career yet I very much missed the kitchen.

In late 2019, I was working for a tech start-up that didn’t work out and I found myself looking for something to do. I posted to my friend’s list on Facebook that I would ‘come to your home and cook a high-end meal for you and your guests. One of my friends owned a vacation property rental company and took me up on my offer. Things took off from there and by the summer of 2020, it has become a full-time occupation.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Hell no! It took me several months of doing this before I really gave in to it and began to call myself a ‘chef’. I straddled the fence for a while and it wasn’t until I fully committed to what I am doing now that things began to really take off.

When I first started to do it is when COVID hit. I lost a lot of private bookings and had to pivot. I began doing food truck-style pop-ups for a while.

In addition to that, there was a tremendous learning curve from a business and operations perspective. Cooking is the easy part. Getting myself organized, dealing with part-time help, and handling accounting and budgeting are all challenges that require a lot of discipline that don’t come naturally to me.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a private chef and my brand is called Blue Duck. The name is inspired by a small blue rubber duck that my daughter gave to me to carry on a business trip many years ago so that I would not forget her while I was away. The duck still travels with me to this day.

I bring an elevated restaurant-style dining experience into people’s private homes or vacation properties and my food is what I call “Inspired American Cuisine”. Many of my dishes are inspired by regional favorites (especially southern) and family recipes. I enjoy taking these classic dishes and elevating them with an upscale flare and often unexpected twists.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
“Luck favors the prepared”, Honestly, I don’t really believe in luck. The Universe has a way of putting people, situations, and opportunities in our path to guide us along the way. I have had countless circumstances that have happened that have helped me along this road. Many people would call it luck – I like to see it as ‘divine intervention.

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Image Credits:

Jerry King and Steven Lash

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