We had the good fortune of connecting with Shiay McKithean and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shiay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Starting my own business was actually an accident. I am a long time foodie and home cook, and I decided to create an instagram for my food as a stress reliever.

At some point people kept asking me to bake cakes, I declined so many times because I just wanted to post content for fun, but one day I took a cake order for a friend and kept on baking after that.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am most excited about where this life is going to take me. I am still working hard on making my small business a not-so-small business. I am proud of where I have come from but I know I have so much further to go. I got to where I am today simply through the support of others. I’ve wanted to give up. I actually had given up at one point, but I have been blessed with people that want to see me win and keep a fire lit under me so that I don’t give up on my dreams before they can become a reality. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that cooking is a school you never truly graduate from. When you start cooking, you have to come into it with the understanding that you will never stop being a student of food and the same is true for life. I want the world to know that if I can learn how to make all of the things I know how to make with no formal culinary training, then they absolutely can as well. My brand is based on me being an “amateur” hence the name “imnotevenachef” but I am far from it. I want people to be impressed by the fact someone that’s not even a chef can do the things I do and make it look easy, then say, “I can do that too!”

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite thing to do in the city is eat of course. Some great restaurants in my area of Virginia are Heirloom, The Butcher’s Son, Fin and Tonic, and NEST. I would definitely go to Naa’s Bakery for the best donuts in town, and head out to downtown Norfolk for the nightlife. When the weather is nice Virginia Beach is always fun to go to, and there’s also a Selfie Wrld.

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?
I feel like all of the great people from the early Food Network days deserve a shoutout. I wouldn’t be half the cook I am if it wasn’t for Emeril Lagasse, Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Ina Garten. They taught me all of the basics of cooking and even some of the more intricate techniques.

Instagram: imnotevenachef

Twitter: imnotevenachef

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