Food Allergies and Parties are Welcome Challenges for Chef Brando
Personal Chef Brandon Spies took a risk not many people would.
After the financial bailout of 2008 and a job he “hated” in wastewater for the City of Clovis, N.M., the former financial planner with AIG cashed in his retirement and moved with his wife and three children to Denver to become a personal chef.
That was in 2010 at the age of 40. Six years later, the Parker resident has no regrets.
In fact, Chef Brandon is truly enjoying life, cooking up delightful meals for a variety of clients, including professional athletes and people with dietary challenges.
It’s a life that gives him the flexibility to travel to Italy to learn “the traditional way to cook Italian food” and return home to a thriving business.
“I have no regrets,” he says, adding that he enjoys “being able to take off for three weeks to go to Italy and still have a business when I get back.”
Cooking is something he has always done when entertaining family and friends, but he “wasn’t getting paid for it” until he became a personal chef.
“I’ve always cooked. My grandmother died in 1976, and my grandfather didn’t know how to cook, so I told my mom I don’t want to be like my grandfather.”
Chef Brando does everything from scratch – from the menu planning and shopping to the cooking and clean-up. His goal is to make life easier for his clients, who tend to be “busy people, trying to free up some time.”
He also enjoys cooking for people on special diets, including Paleo, low-carb, low-fat, kosher, vegetarian, gluten-free, or those with severe food allergies.
“I enjoy cooking for people with food allergies because they’re a challenge, and they tend to need me rather than want me.”
And he likes preparing and cooking for private parties of up to 150 people, whether they are beer pairings and whiskey dinners, holiday dinner parties, or customer or employee appreciation buffets.
Beer pairings are part of the way he gives back to the community too. For the last two years, he has paired up with a local brewery to raise money for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation, which promotes education and research, and provides patient support for those with this hard autoimmune disease.
Chef Brando also participated in the March of Dimes live auction in September, where he offered up a beer dinner to raise money for that cause as well.
His goal was always to become a personal chef.
“I didn’t really want to go the restaurant route. Just being older and working my way up, I didn’t have the time. Chefs start out at $10 an hour, even with training. I didn’t have five or seven years to wait to do that.”
He wasn’t intimidated by self-employment.
“I’ve always been self-employed so I wasn’t scared of that.”
For those people who are thinking about changing careers, Chef Brando has a few suggestions.
“Do your research before you decide to make the leap,” he says. “I wish I would have researched a little bit more. I don’t regret it. It just took me longer to get the business going than what I had anticipated.”
He also suggests learning from others and making sure you like your new line of work.
“Find somebody that’s done what you’ve done and then go visit with them first. Get a job in that industry and see if you like that industry before you change industries.”
If you’d like more information or want to book Chef Brando for your personal meals or an upcoming party, visit PersonalChefBrando.com.