Today we’d like to introduce you to Sebastian Wijata.
Hi Sebastian, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story with cooking started almost 15 years ago back in Poland, I had been working in many restaurants, and I was the youngest executive sous chef in my town. I came to US 6 years ago and started at a pizzeria which was big step back on my career because my English wasn’t good enough to work as a chef. I knew how to cook I just didn’t know how to speak English.
After few months I was able to actually hold conversations and began creating relationships with other people in the industry. I started working at the most beautiful resort in Paradise Valley; Sanctuary on Camelback whose executive chef’s is Beau McMillan who became a very important role model for me. After working for him everyday for about 5 years we became friends! My skills were growing, my language was getting better. I just started becoming much more comfortable!
I decided to try something new having a great role model (Beau),I decided to apply for the show on Food Network “Chopped”.
After many interviews,I ended up in New York for my first competition. I can’t share the outcome but I will encourage you to watch it 😀 .
In 2020 hard times hit the whole hospitality industry with the “coronavirus“.
Everyone was suffering for weeks, it was extremely difficult to see all the events being canceled. I was the last one to become furloughed. After a few weeks we came back to work but it wasn’t great. It was scary because no one knew what would happen next. Beau called me into his office, he asked if I’m interested in other opportunities because he doesn’t know what is coming next and he wants to make sure his guys stay employed. Of course I was interested and agreed, he had a friend that is a professional Athlete playing for Cardinals and is looking for private chef for the season.
I started right away, it was supposed to be for one season, which turned into the rest of the year and another season for him and his fiancé.
Through him I was able to meet a lot of people who were interested in my skill, cooking and catering services. After a few months, I realized between the Sanctuary, private cooking and my own Catering business starting to take off, there was too much on my plate. I needed to put all my focus on private cooking and my business Royal Catering.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road? If not, what were the primary challenges?
New country New people
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My business offers everything about great food, hospitality, creativity and a great time with family and friends. We love to see smiles and happiness after our service, this is the best reward for us after many hours of hard work.
We serve small events from 1 to 50-60 people since it’s easier to have a personal connection and interaction with all the guests. A couple of minutes to share with them everything about our work and passion but most important create long lasting connections.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
In order to find a mentor and be successful in the hospitality business you need to be real and truthful. Sometimes our mentors or role models can be a coworker, friend or family and we don’t even realize it. Hard work and time bring success and eventually it will show its rewards. Find someone that has a clear vision of what you want your future to look like when all you wanted to do was throw in the towel. When looking for a mentor make sure they do hold a higher position and working experience in the industry which will allow you to gain their experience and knowledge. They should be able to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” Most importantly they need to be patient and understanding. Success takes time, what I learned in this beautiful country if you give part of yourself it will give back lots.
My personal motto “work, listen, think, work”
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @royal_catering_az