We had the good fortune of connecting with André Griffin Jr. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi André, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In my eyes, life without risk would be one hell of a boring one. It’s all about one’s perspective of risk; whether or not the outcome is positive or negative. I believe the experience and lessons gained from the outcome is all that matters.
Some of my best life experiences were because I decided to take faith-filled risks. One of my most riskiest and defining moment of my life happened my junior year in college. While attending Penn State University, I was offered the an unpaid internship opportunity at Caesar’s Entertainment in Las Vegas, NV. Although they provided housing and food, as a broke college student from North Philadelphia, with no back up plan there was no turning this down. I had many moments of occasional doubt and frustration. Needless to say, I successfully completed my internship program but yet hit with another obstacle that the internship was considered not eligible for academic credit. To my academic advisor, the semester away wasn’t considered worthy.
When you are raised in a single parent household and the oldest of 4 siblings, there is no room for failure. Those anxieties of not having money to take care of myself weren’t as loud as my severe determination to see this experience through. “Figuring it out along the way” has always been a go-to mantra. I am the first to accomplish many in my family. I refuse to allow fear to be the reason of me not completing my goals and chasing my dreams.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I fully dedicated myself to this business in just under two years. So seeing the progress I am making, it fuels me to keep going. Honestly, I am mostly excited about where my business and I will be in the next 3, 5, and 10 years.
I actually started my culinary career at Penn State University while obtaining a B.S degree in Hospitality Management. I was a banquet cook at the school’s four-diamond rated hotel until graduating. That’s where my curiosity of discovering new food items and learning new recipes grew into passion. Upon graduating, I’ve worked at a few companies as a Food & Beverage Manager. I thought that was the career I wanted but it was making me miserable, yet alone being the only black person in Management. I wasn’t able to be creative and ultimately I was stressed out. I quit my last job to pursue my dream of becoming a chef and a business owner.
The decision of wanting to be financially independent is not easy and can be very challenging. When I was working as a manager, I had got used to making a certain amount of money and the lifestyle that came with it. At first I was scared because I had to figure out a way that I can make money solely on my own and from my skill. Being independent has taught me to be more financially conscious of my spending and make sure I book enough clients to cover my monthly expenses. It also taught me to be more of a go getter because no one will believe more in your vision than you more than you. You have to go out make it happen.
There was some trial and error in the very beginning. I needed to find what exactly I wanted to do. As a black chef it is easy to get boxed in and conform to making soul food. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up eating soul food and will forever love it but, I also knew that I wanted to try other types of cuisines. I wanted to share what I’ve learned and experienced from cooking in luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants and introduce it to not only my family & friends but to the community I come from. I tried meal prepping but I knew I wanted to do something better. Then, I sold platters out of my apartment. I would cook upscale meals that you get as if you’re at a restaurant. I loved it because it helped get my name out there and for people to the familiar with my style of cooking. I would sell out all the time. But again, I wasn’t satisfied doing that because I knew I had more to offer.
I remember sitting at the dinner table writing and speaking out loud on how I wanted my business to be. I wanted to curate an entire experience for those who are seeking to be more romantic towards their significant other. After countless days of brainstorming I finally figured it out. My goal was to help celebrate love and life’s precious moments through food, music and culture.
My brand is all about quality, high standards & elevating the dining experience for my clients. Enjoy a fully customizable experience in the comfort of your home and/or vacation stay.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I was back in L.A. and my best friend was visiting me, first, we are going to Herbarium to get something to roll up. From there, hit up Happy Ice on Melrose Ave. to support another Philly native and their business. We would do a lot of the touristy stuff because I still haven’t done it yet. I would definitely take them to Santa Monica Pier because it’s always a dope vibe there and we will visit the Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle murals in the city at some point during their visit.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost I have to shoutout and give praise to God! I truly believe I have a strong support system. With that being said, I have to give a shoutout to my family and all of my friends for supporting and encouraging me. Shoutout D$money (you know who you are) for believing in my vision. I appreciate you for always challenging me to be creative; You have helped me so much along the way and that I am forever grateful towards you. Also I want to say thank you to all the other business owners I’ve had done business with for being me business. Thank you to my clients for referring me to people in their network.
Other: Business Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/enchantehospitality/?hl=en
Personal photo: Photographer Davon Gaskins