Written by: DaMarko GianCarlo
Photos by: Malik Daniels
My name is Chef Maverick and I am a private chef, caterer and cannabis chef based out of Los Angeles, CA
Where are you from?
I would like to say I am from Los Angeles, CA because that is where I spent the majority of my childhood. I moved to LA at age 4 and remained in south central until I was 16 years old, at that point we relocated to Atlanta, GA. I finished High school in Atlanta and spent my freshman year at Clark Atlanta University before transferring to Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN where I finished college graduating with a B.S in computer science. In totality I was in Nashville about 11 years. However, I was actually born in Little Rock, Arkansas, where I spent the first few years of my life. I guess you could say I am from all over.
When you were a kid, what were your interests/hobbies?
When I was a child I was into a variety of things. Early on around age 5 I began showing interest in cooking and doing hair. My grandmother who was an established beautician and an amazing cook began teaching me recipes and allowing me to help her cook. She also allowed me to help her in her beauty salon where she taught me salon basics. As I got a little older, I switched my interests towards becoming an entertainer/actress/model. My mom realized my love for music, dancing and performing, so when I was 9, she encouraged my friends and I to form a rap group. We performed all over the city of LA in various talent shows, wrote all of our own music and recorded in a professional music studio. Eventually we begin gaining the attention of local record labels. After group disagreements, we eventually disbanded. Around that time a friend asked me to try out for basketball with her. I then switched my focus and got really into basketball and track. Basketball eventually ended up being my primary focus.
Did you play any sports in college?
Yes, I actually received a basketball scholarship to Clark Atlanta University my freshman year where I played for 1 year before transferring to Tennessee State University where I played 2 seasons. I played until 2006 when my mother was sentenced to 5 years in prison and I took custody of my two younger sisters who were at the time 6 and 1 years of age. I actually aspired to one day play professionally in the WNBA or overseas.
Are you a Lakers fan?
I grew up here in South Central LA, not too far from the Staples Center and my stepfather and brothers were die-hard fans so naturally I became a fan too. Especially back in the Shaq and Kobe days. Now that Lebron and Anthony Davis have teamed up with the Lakers, I am looking forward to seeing how they do this year.
So, how did you discover your love for culinary arts?
I have always loved cooking and cooking for people since a very young age. There was always some kind of satisfaction that I got from watching people enjoy what I put together for them. Family and friends began calling me on holidays and special occasions asking me for recipes and that’s when I knew I had a gift for this. In college I worked a variety of restaurant jobs-high end to low, mostly serving. I eventually started doing some line cook work because of my natural talent in the kitchen. I would study the menu and ingredients, then go home and recreate them with my own spin. I am completely self-taught; I would do my own research and perfect recipes at home. It truly made me happy being able to recreate these gourmet dishes. In 2015 I discovered the real love I have for food and the culinary arts and decided to pursue it full time.
What inspires you to create the different things you cook?
I just love to cook so my desire to be great in the kitchen pushes me to want to try to create different things. I love challenging myself to create delicious vegan – gluten free food as well due to my own personal dietary restrictions.
What is your favorite type of food to cook?
To be honest I love cooking all types of food. Because of my catering experience, I am accustomed to cooking a different type of cuisine on a daily basis and I absolutely love that! But… if I had to choose an absolute favorite type of food to cook, I think it would be Mexican or Southern Creole. A close 3rd place would be brunch.
Would you ever think about being a contestant on a cooking show?
Yes, definitely but it depends on the show. I used to want to try out for Master Chef when I was in college. I think I would really be into a show like “Bong Appetit” at this stage in my career.
What is your creative process when it comes to creating recipes?
The first step to my creative process of creating a bomb recipe: Smoke a blunt! Second: turn on trap music. Third: think outside of the box. Sometimes I like to take what people already know and love and put my twist on it. Fourth step: research, write and execute.
You are always dressed to impress, what inspires the clothes you wear?
I believe the attention you put into your clothes and how you dress greatly reflects your inner energy and who you are as a person, so I put a lot of love and detail into my wardrobe. Your wardrobe and your energy have the power to capture the attention of an entire room without saying a word. I love hip hop/ Rap and streetwear and I am greatly inspired by hip hop fashion culture with my own unique quirky androgynous twist.
How do you incorporate fashion into what you do?
I love being unique and standing out in a crowd not only with my food but in my appearance. In my mind, I must look as good as my food tastes! I have a partnership with Los Angeles fashion designer Rachelle Burchette of Drip Queen (@drip.queen.la), who creates custom pieces for me to wear for events and appearances. She has custom designed 2 of my chef coats as well as merch. I also always make sure I have on a dope pair of shoes, sunglasses and joggers at all times. I also think it is important to support local designers and small independent fashion brands.
I heard you are a huge hip hop fan, what do you like to listen to?
I Love, love, love hip-hop, trap music, R&B/ Soul, New school, old school… all of it! I am usually listening to music, the majority of my day while I work and prepare dishes. Music also inspires some of the food I create. I even created a youtube concept called “Food Trap”, cooking tutorials inspired by rap music. So, as you can see, music is a huge part of my life. Hip-hip specifically embodies the hustle and grind required to be successful and I use it as a motivator to push myself daily as an entrepreneur. A few of my favorite artists include Nipsey Hussle, Jay- Z, Two Chainz, Big Sean, J. Cole, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Migos, Da Baby, Lil Baby just to name a few.
Nipsey Hussle’s recent unforeseen death really devastated the entire Los Angeles community, how has his death and legacy inspired you?
Nipsey’s death was a real tragedy and it really affected me, especially since we were about the same age. It was strange because the day before he was murdered, I told a friend I wanted to go visit the Marathon store. Learning the next day that he was killed was very traumatic. It just made me realize even more how short life really is and how important it is to leave a legacy when you are gone. He was and still is a true inspiration from his music, to business ventures, and his undying love for his family and community. He raps a lot about creating your own business and generational wealth. That is something. I truly resonate with. It motivates me to go hard with creating my own business, leaving a positive legacy, and achieving generational wealth. I listen to Nip every morning to jump start my day.
So what exactly is Mav Sauce and Mav Snacks?
Mav Sauce / Mav Snacks is my line of handmade gourmet cannabis infused sauces and snacks. Everything is gluten and soy free with some vegan options as well. The vegan strawberry lemonade cookie and my Mav Magic Gummies are among the most popular.
What inspired you to start infusing food and creating your own brand?
I was already a cannabis enthusiast, using it medicinally to treat my autoimmune illnesses. I started to notice edible more and more in my local dispensaries but due to my allergies I could never eat them. I also noticed that what I saw was kind of basic so I wanted to put out a product that someone like me could enjoy. At that point I started experimenting, infusing everything from Indian food to cookies. I had always dreamt that one day I was going to have my own business and be my own boss in some way but never knew what that would be until one day I had the idea to create my own line of infused sauces. Initially I started with sauces because sauces have always been somewhat of a specialty of mine. In addition, I wanted to have edible treats that were allergy friendly and delicious, visually appealing and most importantly, effective. That is when I decided to release Mav Snacks.
How long did it take you from thinking about it to actually going to market?
I think it took about a year to really conceptualize everything. I designed the logos, website and branding which took a little time. I really didn’t have any money saved or any capital to start this, so I decided to use my rent money to make my first 150 bottles of Sauce. I was able to flip that and kept going from there.
What is your favorite dish to cook currently?
This is going to sound so LA, but low key my favorite dish to cook right now is tacos! It’s definitely one of my favorite foods to eat and there is so much you can do with a taco. Fish, jackfruit, jerk chicken, brisket…the possibilities are endless.
There are a variety of chefs in LA what do you think separates you from everyone else?
Yes, there are definitely some amazing chefs out there but there are definitely none like me! I think my unique sense of style, work ethic, energy and passion definitely set me apart from everyone else. Plus, I can guarantee anything I cook for you will be nothing but flavor on your plate. Have you ever had someone attack hug you because the food you made was so good? I’ve been bombarded by many many hugs.
What do you do on your days off?
What days off??? I’m not sure if there is such a thing in my line of work. If I have a few hours off I like to do yoga, get massages, ride my bike around the city. I also go to the beach, shopping, or chill with my girlfriend.
So what’s next for Chef Maverick?
Next for me is just continued elevation. I am just getting started, you know! I am working on developing the Mav Sauce/Mav Snacks brand more. In addition I plan to do a lot more partnerships and events with local cannabis influencers. You can also expect more of me on
YouTube and Food Trap coming soon. I can guarantee you will see a lot of Chef Maverick in the future.