We had the good fortune of connecting with Lasheeda Perry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lasheeda, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
As a teenager, it was instilled in me that you have to work hard! Having a strong work ethic is vital. You can be taught how to decorate a cake but no one can truly teach you the ideals of self discipline and hard work but yourself. I truly believe that a strong work ethnic has helped me succeed in my career because it’s an essential habit that impresses your employer, peers, staff, and guests alike.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The bulk of my career revolved around hotels. Once I received my bachelor’s of science in 2008, I immediately started working at Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas as an entry level pastry cook. For the next five and half years, I worked at various Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts properties. In 2012, I landed my very first management position as a pastry sous chef at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. That same year, I had the opportunity to briefly work at their Palo Alto and Lanai properties as well. In 2013, I resigned from Four Seasons and embarked on a new journey. I decided to take an assistant baker position with Bon Appetit Management Company LinkedIn. Believe it or not, I left a management role with a luxury hotel to work as an hourly employee in corporate dining. To some it was a rare career move but I wanted my next position to be vastly different from the previous one. At that time, corporate dining was not viewed as the cream of the crop and was not appealing to fine dining chefs. However, I was unbothered by those comments. After only a few months, I was promoted to Pastry Chef. I implemented a pastry program from the very bottom with the help of one inexperienced baker. It was during my time at Bon Appetit Management LinkedIn where I learned the importance of emotional intelligence and the importance of a diverse team within the workplace. I also had the opportunity to participate in their community outreach programs.
By the time I left in 2016, LinkedIn had grown drastically! I had a team of 12 and was overseeing all of their pastry programs in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and San Francisco. My next move was to Atlanta, where I rejoined the Four Seasons family. It was an amazing accomplishment to be an Executive Pastry Chef with the very same company that I started with in the early stages of my career.
Throughout my professional journey, I’ve had to overcome the typical challenges that most chefs experience. Feeling overworked and underpaid, juggling two jobs, and not feeling empowered. Trust me, the list goes on! On top of that, there are additional challenges that we as female chefs face and completely separate obstacles that African American chefs endure. At times it was very difficult but I was determined to push through it!
I’ve learned to take advantage of every opportunity that I can, build genuine connections, and that interpersonal skills are just as valuable as your technical skills.
My story is that life is going to constantly throw you curveballs. Some might be a major setback. However, I’ve always tried to look at them as a blessing in disguise. Also, I constantly remind myself that there are thousands, possibly millions of people who are currently experiencing extreme hardships and would love to trade places. This humbles me a great deal, so I strive to see the silver lining every tough situation. Dream big and smile!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It’s definitely going to be a jammed back itinerary! The bulk of our time would be dining, sipping on fun flavorful cocktails, mini road trips, and of course, cooking a few meals together. FYI, I’ve only been living in LA for approximately two years now. Half of my time here has been restricted due to the pandemic. Can’t wait to get out and explore again! We will make a pit stop at Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Downtown Long Beach, and Fashion District. As far as dining…there are so many options. However, we have to swing by Republique, Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, Colossus Coffee & Bread, Sqirl, Ginger’s Divine Ice Cream, Perch. and a few farmer’s markets.
Some of my favorite places to visit are The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Long Beach Aquarium, Culver City Park, and Skyspace LA.
There is so much to do which is one of the main reasons why I love living here. It’s nearly impossible to have a dull moment in LA. Once the pandemic is over, I will resume my mission to find the best taco truck in LA. 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?
So many people have rallied around and shown me so much love and support throughout my career. My elementary and high school teachers, especially Mrs. Wilma Stephenson (who, I still stay in touch with). She introduced me to the world of culinary arts. It was because of her dedication and tough love, I was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Johnson & Wales University from Careers Through Culinary Arts program (C-CAP). C-CAP is a nonprofit who gives underprivileged, inner-city students the opportunity to jump start a career into the hospitality industry. While at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, a lot of the chef instructors and professors went out of their way to give me the best education. They genuinely cared about my success. What I appreciated the most about them is that they valued my opinion and gave me the opportunity to let my imagination run wild. Pastry Chef Instructor, Christina Harvey even introduced me to her good friend, Chef Kimberly Davis Cuthbert. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Chef Kimberly (btw she prefers that I call her Kim) because she is the epitome of an awesome leader. She was incredibly very patient with me.
Other: Link for Food Network Kitchen App https://www.foodnetwork.com/kitchen