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Chef leaves paradise so you'll have time to find yours

Nobody could get tired of paradise, right?

Sailing on a cruise ship, visiting exotic ports of call – and getting paid to do it on top of everything else.

Well, Alfrederick Coleman got tired of it. He quit his job in paradise – as a chef on a luxury cruise ship – to start his own business as a personal chef cooking meals for busy families across North Carolina.

Coleman, whose company is called Chef On The Go, said he knew he wanted to be a chef from the age of eight. “I really got my inspiration from watching cooking shows” when he was very young, he said.

If you’ve ever been on a cruise – or even watched The Love Boat on TV – you know that being a passenger can be glamorous, fun and carefree.

For those who work on the ships, though, it’s anything but carefree.

“I gave up the cruise line industry because I got tired of the long hours and no days off,” Coleman said as he prepared stuffed bell peppers for one of his clients. “It was a very intense job. I worked 7 days a week so I basically had no days off.

“Also, I missed my family and friends by being gone that long. I missed a lot of the holidays and special events.”

Coleman, 25, said he doesn’t want to make it sound as though the job was endless drudgery.

“I met tons of people from across the world - from the Philippines, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Guam, India, etc. I was stationed in Hawaii. During my time there I was able to see some of the islands. Each island had its own unique features about it. Honolulu and Maui were my two favorites.

“The food, of course, was one of my favorite things about being in Hawaii. The food is so fresh there and they have some of the best pineapples I’ve ever tried. I was also able to save a lot of money while being on the ship since I definitely didn’t have any expenses,” he said.

Most of his customers, he said, are retired couples and single people with busy careers. “Mostly, they’re people who don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, but who want to be able to open the refrigerator and find tasty, healthy food,” he said.

Coleman will even do the grocery shopping, he said.

“After being in the cooking industry for a while now, I decided that I wanted to branch out and do my own business. So I took the route of starting my own personal chef business where I offer 3-5 day meal prep, cater small parties and offer cooking classes,” he said.

It came down, he said, to starting a food truck or doing a personal chef business.

“Doing a food truck is nice and all, but it’s really expensive,” he said. “Doing a personal chef business requires a lot less capital to get started.”

He even washes the pots and pans and leaves your kitchen spotless when he’s done.

Coleman formerly worked with Chef Shawn, who runs nationally renowned Sophisticated Catering in Durham.

The Saunders Report wrote a story on that company a few months ago and noted that Will Smith called up Chef Shawn and selected him to cater Jada’s and his wedding in Baltimore.

That’s cool, you say, “But Chef, isn’t it expensive hiring somebody to cook for you? Isn’t that the province of the rich?”

Not at all, Coleman said.

“It is actually economical,” he said. “If a person calculates how much they spend on Door Dash or Uber Eats everyday, or eating out, they would be saving more money with a personal chef. Also there’s the convenience of having someone cooking for you right inside your home.”

If you’re interested in him cooking in your home or catering events – he said his best dish is shrimp & grits, but he makes a mean stuffed pepper, too – you can contact him at or 434-222-0057.

That'll free you up to find your paradise.

1 Comment

I’m always appalled when I see a “masks optional” sign on a door—and I hasten my retreat from those doors. If the company wants my business it should value my life!





Meet Barry Saunders

For over 20 years, Barry was a columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He also wrote for other publications, such as the Atlanta Constitution and the Richmond County Daily Journal. Often described as powerfully honest and illustratively funny, Barry's writing is both loved and hated by readers- sometimes simultaneously.  


Want more? Get your own copy of one of Barry's published books featuring reader favorites (and not so favorites) from his years writing columns for The News & Observer. Titled "Do Unto Others...And then Run" and "...And The Horse You Rode In On Saunders!", they're full of guaranteed entertainment. 


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