Behind The Hero: Samantha Stanley, Private Chef
After serving over 20,000 guests nationwide last year, yhangry recognised that behind every dinner party, every recipe, and every photo of a dish and chef is a compelling story waiting to be shared with the world.
We launched the Yhangry Foodie Hero Award, an award for food creators, chefs, cookbook authors, recipe developers and more to celebrate the local heroes who nourish us all and highlight the businesses and individuals who shape the industry.
Join Usman as he dives Behind the Hero and sits down with nominee Samantha Stanley, Private Chef to hear her story, including some BTS of what being a private chef is really like. We love that Samantha is part of this food award.
Q: What’s your story, how did you get started in this space?
A: I’ve been working in kitchens for most of my life and was travelling just before the pandemic hit. When I returned, I got a job working night shifts behind a hotel but was furloughed soon after. During this time, I rediscovered my love for cooking creatively and decided to explore opportunities in the British eventing industry.
I wanted to find a job that didn’t require me to work long hours in a restaurant kitchen, so I started my own private dining and catering business, which gave me the freedom and flexibility to work on my own terms.
Q: What does the food industry mean to you?
A: The food industry is a humbling experience. It’s a privilege to be a part of people’s special events like weddings, christenings, engagements, and birthdays.
I love the fast-paced, quick-thinking environment, and I get to share food with people who love it. It’s a gift.
Q: What was your “holy Sh*t, this is kind of going somewhere” moment?
A: My “holy sh*t” moment was when I earned enough money to invest in a brand-new Thermomix. I was so excited, and it’s my favourite piece of equipment to use. I always took it for granted when I was working in restaurants or big hotels, but having my own made me treasure it.
Q: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are now?
A: The hardest thing I had to overcome was taking a leap of faith and giving up my full-time job to pursue my catering business. Although the business was picking up, it was still a fear not to have regular income coming in. However, I took a chance, and it worked out.
Q: Who are you inspired by?
A: I’m inspired by a range of chefs. I love visiting different restaurants and getting inspired by the different types of food that I receive. I also enjoy watching TV programmes like Master Chef, Chef’s Table, and Great British Menu and the incredible chefs who partake.
My favourite chef is Dominique Crenn. I love the episode she did at Chef’s Table. I also love Sat Bains; I’ve been to his restaurant and love his style of food.
Q: What advice would you give to people who want to join the industry?
A: You need to have a passion for this industry. It’s long days and high pressure, so if you don’t love it, it’s not worth it. However, if you do love it, get involved, ask questions, and learn as much as you can from whoever you can.
Q: How does it feel to be nominated for the Foodie Hero Award and why do you want to win?
A: Being nominated for the awards is an amazing feeling. Many old colleagues reached out to me after the nomination, and it’s great to reconnect.
It’s truly an honour to be nominated, and I never set out to win any awards. I just wanted to share my food with people who love food, and the nomination allowed me to do that even more.
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Q: What’s your go-to comfort food?
A: My go-to comfort food is cheesy crushed potatoes. It’s something I crave when I want to feel comfortable or when I’m not feeling very well.
My mom used to give us plain mashed potatoes when we weren’t feeling well, and I think it’s just extended from there. I love it mashed all together with cheese. It’s that memory that makes it comforting.
Want to support Samantha?
Help her become a Yhangry Foodie Hero, by voting now!
Check Samantha out on Instagram: @chefsamstanley