Chef Alex Perez was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and started his business four years ago. Papi Cuisine is a gourmet catering company, specializing in authentic Caribbean, Italian, American traditional/southern, and Asian cuisines. They offer services such as Gourmet Catering, private chef services (in home chef), and meal prep (for family/health/fitness goals). Alex likes drawing, painting, cannabis studies, photography, outdoor sports, marketing and much more.
Tell readers about your Papi Cuisine and what inspired you to start it?
I started Papi Cuisine back in 2014. This was a time in my life where I had no job, limited resources and hungry mouths to feed. I felt I needed to do something to change the direction my life was headed, but something I loved doing or was good at. So that I would have longevity in the monetization of that thing. I’ve always had a love for creating, cooking was another way I could express my artistic capabilities.
I learned how to cook from my dad at an early age. Mostly Dominican cuisine, since a great deal of my family is from Santo Domingo , Dominican Republic. I began to venture off in a series of flavor pallets and cuisines all around the world. I would put my Afro Latino twist on it.
The proper term Is ” Fusion”. I noticed the reactions I would get from my followers when I posted food on social media. The fact people would ask to purchase the food as well and since I’m an entrepreneur at heart…I started Papi Cuisine.
What role do you think social media plays in food today?
Social media allows me to share my gift/food with the world. In turn, this has allowed me and my craft to be celebrated in places I’ve never been and by people I haven’t personally met. That’s powerful.
What has been your greatest professional success and biggest setback?
My greatest professional success to date has to be the fact I’ve created a flavor pallet that is loved universally no matter how diverse my fan base becomes. I’ve been through a lot in this business. I remember the first day I launched the company out of my house. I had one customer (the whole day). I assessed the cause for the turn out, changed my strategy and got back into the ring. Those things many consider to be set backs are often times ”set up’s” for you to embark on something far greater than you could imagine.
Describe your food in three words?
Good As F$%@ (At least that’s what I think my clients would say if they could only use three words).
Who are the clients or events that you most enjoy working on?
I have a very wide range of clients and events I do. All of them are special in someway.
What is your favorite food and restaurant?
Seafood, I’m a fan of great food in general. When it comes to food, I love a variety. That way no matter what foods I’m eating, it doesn’t get old or played out for my taste.
Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
My wife and kids. I feel its good to spend as much time possible with the members of your house hold. It’s easier said than done when running a rapidly growing business.
If you were given $10,000 to throw an amazing party, gathering, or event, what would that look like?
I would throw a free client appreciation event. My clients have supported me so much throughout the years, I would use that to give back to them.
Do you think your childhood was better or worse than other people growing up in a similar place and time?
I can’t compare myself to anyone, but I grew up in the hood and then the projects. I actually spent my whole childhood unbeknownst to myself in poverty. I’ve seen the drug use, the drug dealing, the overdoses, the murders and the violence. Somehow my mom and my dad showed me, this would not be the norm for my life and this is certainly not the end. Maybe the fact my dad lived in New York, but still was apart of my life really helped me. The fact my mother who I lived with in Baltimore deciding to break the chains of poverty and refusing to depend on the system did a lot for me. My mom showed me my current situation isn’t my final situation and my dad showed me there was more to the world than the Baltimore streets I grew up in. Maybe, that was better than what some kids got who grew up where I grew up or at a similar place and time.
If you weren’t a chef what would you see yourself doing?
If I wasn’t a chef, I would be a marketer/brand ambassador or YouTube influencer. Maybe a tattoo artist or producer, who knows? I’m great at all of those things and more. But something told me this food thing was just the thing to do at the time and I’m glad I went with it. Being a chef has open so many doors for me, food has this special way of connecting all of us!
What must be seen or experienced in person to really appreciate it?
Just about anything you can think of if you ask me. The visuals of my food makes people gravitate towards my company. But there’s nothing like that first bite!
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
For Instagram you can follow me at @papicuisine, @iamchefpapi and our sister page @thechefgods. For Facebook , like Papi Cuisine Catering, Chef Alex Perez, & The Chef Gods.