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Who’s That BOSS: Nichelle Benford

Get ready to move up to that corner office or start your own enterprise. JETmag.com is partnering with the award-winning The BOSS Network to bring you BOSS UP every week. This feature will highlight movers, shakers and rule-breakers across different industries, plus offer you career and entrepreneurial advice.

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Nichelle Benford is a chef who specializes in healthy comfort Food. She believes food is the nourishment for your mind, body and soul. Each time you gather with family and friends food is a focal point. After ending her modeling career, Benford quit cooperate America, went to culinary school and later worked in numerous restaurants to study her craft. She started Beautiful Foods Catering in 2008 and began Model Chef LLC, which focuses on meal deliveries, catering and personal chef services, in 2012.

In May 2014, Model Chef Food Truck hit the streets at various events, concerts, private parties and festivals. Benford recently branched off from the Model Chef brand to focus on a new venture Dream Chef LLC that focuses on catering high end events and personalized chef services.

The BOSS Network: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?

Nichelle Benford: I always knew I wanted to own and operate my own business. Food has always been my passion so I used that as a mechanism to reach people. I then took time to learn the food business. I worked in restaurants, found guidance from mentors as well as studied and attended culinary school. Every meal, every outing was research in creating my brand. In 2013, I partnered with a childhood friend and started the journey to Model Chef Food Truck. I have recently broke off from that partnership to start Dream Chef LLC.

TBN: What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?

NB: I stay on top of my game professionally through prayer. The funny thing about being an entrepreneur is that if you are not on top of your game, you can lose it all. Every day is a constant grind. I just take pride in the fact that I can do something I love–and that same something warms the souls of others. Not only does food nourish your body, it gives nourishment to your soul.

TBN: How do you balance your personal life with your professional?

NB: This is a question I ask every entrepreneur I know. Communication is key in having balance. I let my loved ones know that I love them even if I can’t be at every event. I also have to take time for myself. I learned the hard way that your body needs a break sometimes. And I’ve learned to take in every moment. Look up at the sky, enjoy the view.

TBN: What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?

NB: Keep working, dream it and live out your dream every day. Everyone around you should know what your doing. Keep people around that will support your ventures. You need a team, but in order to be the leader you have to build a strong foundation for people to follow.

TBN: What does being a BOSS mean to you?

NB: I was able to cater The BOSS Network anniversary event. When I looked around at all of the beautiful ladies who have sacrificed for their vision, I felt a sense of pride being in that room. Being a BOSS means that I have a platform to make a difference. I can make an event wonderful by providing amazing food. Or I can be the person that someone looks up to and decides to follow their dreams. I also have a wonderful community of women to encourage and support me along the way.

TBN: When someone looks at your brand, what do you want them to see?

NB: I want my personal brand to show comfort and hospitality. I see food as a gateway to the hearts of people. And I want my brand to represent the same thing.

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Follow BOSS Member Nichelle and view her profile at The BOSS Network.

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