Cooking and getting creative in the kitchen is something that is always trending! Especially when we are talking about the younger generation. Rhashad Lawery is seventeen years old and loves to cook just as much as he adores designing hats and bow ties. That's why he is affectionately known as Stylin' Chef Shad. Rhashad is such a creative and is super inspiring.
You most likely remember seeing Rhashad on MasterChef Junior's season seven as one of America's Top 10 best home chefs! At a young age, Rhashad began cooking while shadowing his late grandfather in his New York City restaurants. He worked the grill and pastry oven there, which allowed his creative juices to overflow! Since the age of five, Rhashad has been whipping up creative recipes. His signature dish, shrimp scampi with homemade linguini, has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Newspaper and on FOX TV! Rhashad's passion for history and politics has created a platform to lead his fellow classmates, organize community service projects, and compete in public speaking contests. Rhashad holds the winning Southeastern Regional Oratorical Champion title and serves as Vice President of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. When Rhashad is not in the kitchen, he makes TikTok videos for over 350,000 followers! Rhashad lives to create content to make people smile. Rhashad is busy but down-to-earth. We love that he is embracing all of his talents.
Who is Rhashad Lawery
Competing in Master Chef Junior was an electrifying dream come true for Rhashad. When he stepped into the jaw-dropping kitchen, Rhashad was surrounded by an awe-inspiring lineup of world-renowned chefs, including the fiery Gordon Ramsay, the passionate Aarón Sánchez, and the creative genius Christina Tosi. The thrill of collaborating with such culinary legends was beyond anything he could have imagined. However, what made this experience truly magical were his friendships with his fellow home cooks, all shining with the same burning ambition. "Together, we formed an unstoppable team, our hearts beating in sync with the rhythm of culinary passion. The journey was an exhilarating rollercoaster of emotions and learning, fueling my culinary fire like never before," said Rhashad.
Recently, Rhashad had the opportunity to speak with Gemma Magazine about his culinary roots, his passion for fashion, and most importantly; how he stays true to himself with everything he is currently balancing.
Tell us about working on Master Chef Junior and what made it so memorable.
Every day brought new revelations, pushing my boundaries and unearthing hidden talents. I soaked in knowledge like a sponge, absorbing the expertise of the masters and channeling it into my creations. The culinary world became my playground, and I appreciated every moment.
Besides all the unforgettable moments, one memory shines brighter than the rest—the adrenaline-charged first-team challenge. The rush of excitement mingled with the raw nerves as we faced the daunting task of serving a feast to over 100 people! The clock ticked away like a time bomb, and every second counted. The pressure was tangible but fueled us to cook with unparalleled determination.
In that crucible of heat and tension, I discovered the essence of cooking—transforming ordinary ingredients into culinary masterpieces that delight the senses and touch the hearts of those who savor them. It was a baptism of fire, forging me into a seasoned culinary warrior.
The journey was far from easy, but that made it so exhilarating. It's an experience that has left an indelible mark on my soul, propelling me to pursue my culinary dreams with unwavering passion. Nothing can compare to the electrifying thrill of Master Chef Junior—the ultimate culinary adventure!
Where do you get your cooking inspiration from?
Without a doubt, my cooking inspiration finds its roots in my extraordinary grandfather. Growing up in the vibrant atmosphere of his successful restaurant was an unforgettable adventure, and each cherished moment from that time lingers in my heart. I was immersed in a cooking environment from such a young age, and absorbing diverse culinary techniques truly molded and honed my cooking skills, nurturing an unbridled passion for the culinary arts within me. My grandfather, a remarkable entrepreneur, left an indelible mark on me, and I aspire to follow in his illustrious footsteps by owning and running diverse and exceptional restaurants. The mere thought of embarking on this culinary journey fills me with exhilaration and a sense of purpose. I envision creating delightful experiences for diners and crafting delectable masterpieces that linger on their taste buds and in their memories for years to come.
"Exploring the flavors of different cultures is not just a hobby; it's an art that combines a tapestry of techniques and tastes. By blending culinary wisdom from various corners of the world, I can weave together a mesmerizing masterpiece on a plate. The magic of uniting techniques from different culinary backgrounds allows me to craft dishes that tantalize the taste buds and leave a lasting impression on anyone who experiences them." (Rhashad Lawery)
Your favorite dish to whip up is shrimp scampi with linguini. True?
True! Making Shrimp Scampi is a soothing and fun experience for me. It's a dish I've mastered to the point where I can whip it up with my eyes closed! The harmonious blend of incredible flavors, the perfectly cooked al dente pasta, and the aromatic burst of fresh herbs elevate this dish to an extraordinary level of deliciousness. Each time I create Shrimp Scampi, I embark on a culinary adventure, seeking to add or tweak something to make it even more extraordinary. Recently, I discovered the magical touch of rosemary, infusing the dish with a whole new dimension of flavor that tantalizes the taste buds like never before! Cooking Shrimp Scampi has become my playground of flavors, and with every delightful tweak, it reaches new heights of excitement and satisfaction!
Are you constantly testing new recipes?
As an adventurous chef, I constantly strive to push the boundaries of my palate and culinary skills. A couple of times every month, I embark on a thrilling journey to create dishes from diverse cultures. Among my most treasured culinary endeavors was making a delightful Nigerian Puff Puff. This delectable treat can be savored as a luscious dessert or as a captivating dinner side dish. Exploring the flavors of different cultures is not just a hobby; it's an art that combines a tapestry of techniques and tastes. By blending culinary wisdom from various corners of the world, I can weave together a mesmerizing masterpiece on a plate. The magic of uniting techniques from different culinary backgrounds allows me to craft dishes that tantalize the taste buds and leave a lasting impression on anyone who experiences them.
There's an irresistible charm in delving into the vibrant spices, unique ingredients, and traditional cooking methods each culture offers. With each new dish, I uncover a story, a history, and a connection to the people who have perfected these culinary delights over generations.
Venturing beyond my comfort zone to embrace the wonders of global cuisine has expanded my culinary repertoire and opened my eyes to the richness of human culture. It's like embarking on a thrilling gastronomic expedition that takes me to distant lands without leaving my kitchen. The excitement and anticipation of trying new flavors, mastering intricate techniques, and creating unforgettable meals fuel my passion for the culinary arts. As I venture forth on this culinary voyage, I am forever humbled and grateful for the opportunity to savor the world on a plate. Each dish I create celebrates taste and is a tribute to the beautiful diversity that unites us all through the love of food.
I love that you are a designer of hats and bow ties. What sparked your interest in fashion?
Since a young age, my passion for fashion and desire to present myself to the public in the most stylish way possible has been ingrained in me. Fashion is not just a hobby; it's an avenue where my mother and I form an unbreakable bond. There's an unparalleled joy in heading to a mall together and curating new, exciting outfits, with each moment shared with my mother making it all the more special.
My mother, the actual fashion maven, played a pivotal role in igniting this flame within me. From the time I was a newborn, she already had an uncanny knack for creating the most amazing outfits for me. As I am almost eighteen, she still has the incredible ability to concoct top-tier outfits that leave me in awe. While I may showcase stylish looks on my Instagram, I must confess that my mother is often the mastermind behind them. Her eye for fashion goes beyond simply dressing up; she knows that true style lies in the details. I've learned that it's not enough to wear beautiful clothes; accessorizing is the key to elevating any outfit.
Whether one of my signature bowties or a fresh fedora, these carefully chosen accessories transform the outfit into a work of art. When someone remarks that I'm overdressed, I take it as the ultimate compliment, knowing that my outfit captures the essence of my style, which my mother and I have so lovingly nurtured together.
Do you plan to design apparel in the future?
From the age of twelve, an unwavering passion for fashion ignited within me. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would create my extraordinary fashion line, "Shadotics." The name, a fusion of "Shad" - my most known nickname - and "otics" - symbolizing the allure of the exotic - perfectly encapsulates my vision for my unique creations.
Picture this: a fashion empire that breathes life into alluring fabrics from distant lands, crafting one-of-a-kind masterpieces that transcend the ordinary. Each piece tells a story of cultural richness and diversity, merging the boldness of my vision with the charisma of exotic inspiration. With "Shadotics," I envision a kaleidoscope of colors and textures, seamlessly blending luxurious silk from the Far East, sumptuous cashmere from the Himalayas, and opulent brocade from the Middle East. It will be a glorious tapestry of artistry tailored to inspire confidence, allure, and individuality in every person who adorns themselves with the essence of my designs. The runway shows will be a dazzling spectacle, where models strut with an air of mystique, captivating the world with each step. Celebrities and fashion enthusiasts will eagerly anticipate each collection, yearning to indulge in the unique allure of "Shadotics."
My design studio will be a sanctuary of creativity, buzzing with inspiration and a relentless pursuit of perfection. A team of talented artisans and craftsmen will bring my visions to life, ensuring that every stitch and detail reflects the essence of elegance and enchantment.
As the creator of "Shadotics," I dream of dominating and revolutionizing the fashion industry. I aspire to inspire the world, encouraging everyone to embrace their individuality and embrace the allure of the exotic through the art of fashion. So, my journey begins, fueled by an unwavering determination to make "Shadotics" a symbol of uniqueness, innovation, and empowerment. Watch as my fashion line conquers hearts and captivates the world, setting a new standard for what it means to shine in the realm of style truly.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Without a doubt, Virgil Abloh was a visionary fashion icon whose legacy will forever remain in our hearts. Rest in peace to a true creative genius. The brand "Off-White" is a testament to his extraordinary talent, and I am fortunate to own several of his exquisite pieces. Abloh's work with Louis Vuitton was exceptional, setting new standards in the fashion industry.
Stepping into a store filled with Virgil Abloh's designs was an overwhelming experience. Each piece exuded a unique allure, leaving me captivated and craving more. His unparalleled creativity is genuinely awe-inspiring, igniting a fire within me to pursue my fashion line as he fearlessly did.
Virgil Abloh's artistic vision transcended boundaries, and his innovative approach to design continues to influence and shape the fashion world. His journey serves as a powerful inspiration, a reminder that with passion and determination, dreams can become reality. As I walk the path he paved, I am guided by his indomitable spirit and motivated to make my mark in the fashion world, just like he did.
You have a significant following on TikTok. Can you share tips or strategies for building an engaged and loyal audience?
Working with social media was a transformative journey, teaching me a powerful lesson: never give up. Initially, stepping into the world of social media stirred up a whirlwind of anxiety within me. Questions flooded my mind: "Will this video get enough likes?" "Will my followers like this video?" "What if my people at school mock me?" These doubts and worries haunted me, but I was determined to overcome them. Then, a valuable piece of advice from someone close to me resonated profoundly: "Change your mindset." Realizing that I needed to shift my focus from seeking validation to pursuing my passion, I took this wisdom to heart. Embracing this newfound outlook, I found the strength to silence those negative thoughts and anxious musings.
Ultimately, my journey on social media became a pursuit of genuine happiness. I began to create content that fulfilled me creatively and emotionally, regardless of external opinions. The transformative effect on my mental health was undeniable. With this empowered mindset, I unlocked a wellspring of confidence I never knew I possessed. As my newfound authenticity and passion shone through, an astonishing transformation occurred. My following grew exponentially as people resonated with my candid approach and genuine enthusiasm. Social media became a platform for self-expression and a community of like-minded individuals who appreciated and supported each other.
In the face of challenges and adversity, I learned the invaluable lesson of staying true to myself, nurturing my passion, and embracing the belief that happiness lies within me. This inspiring journey on social media has made me realize that the most potent change can come from changing our mindset, and it has enriched both my virtual presence and my life beyond the screen.
How do you stay authentic to yourself while working with brands and promoting products?
I take great pride in remaining true to my authentic self and being completely transparent with my followers. Being genuine is crucial because it's what resonates most with my audience. Whenever I see a video of someone I regularly watch endorsing products, I'm naturally intrigued and eager to learn more. However, if I were to discover that the person I trusted was dishonest about the product, it would not only be a waste of my money and time but also feel disappointing and unfair. I value trust and honesty, and being misled by false claims or fake news is something I want to avoid at all costs. When I collaborate with brands and promote products, I am incredibly selective. I only accept a minimal number of partnerships, ensuring that I genuinely believe in the product and align with its values. It's vital to me that I don't endorse anything I don't genuinely like or support. I want my followers to have confidence in my recommendations, knowing that I have thoroughly evaluated the products and stand behind them.
Staying authentic to myself means being open and honest about my experiences with the products I promote. If something doesn't meet expectations or match the quality I had anticipated, I'm transparent about it. My integrity is non-negotiable, and I want my followers to feel confident that I share my genuine thoughts and opinions.
In conclusion, I prioritize authenticity and transparency with brands and product promotions. By being true to myself, I maintain the trust of my followers and ensure that the products I endorse are ones that I genuinely believe in and enjoy. This approach benefits me as a content creator and serves my audience, as they can make informed decisions based on my experiences and honest assessments.
On the other side, how do you stay up with the trends and stay relevant in the ever-changing world of social media?
My younger sister Rhaquel is the guiding force in my life! She's not just a sister but a mentor who keeps me in line, helping me explore new dances and introducing me to the latest trends. With her invaluable guidance, I constantly stay ahead of the curve. Some of our conversations revolve around discussing the most excellent and current trends and dances, making it a shared passion that brings us even closer. Maintaining relevancy in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of social media is challenging. While many seem obsessed with seeking attention and trying too hard to stay relevant, I have a different approach. I firmly believe in being true to myself, never succumbing to the pressure of following trends to remain relevant. Instead, I focus on being authentic and candid in my online presence.
Now, I take inspiration from my sister and the online community regarding staying up with the trends and maintaining relevance. Rhaquel's constant updates and insights help me stay informed about the latest dances, fashion trends, and social media happenings. Additionally, I actively engage with the online community, participating in discussions, following influential creators, and observing what captivates people's attention. By combining my genuine personality with a keen awareness of current interests, I can strike the perfect balance of being relatable and up-to-date without losing sight of who I truly am.
As my mentor and companion in exploring trends, my sister adds excitement and depth to my social media journey. Rather than seeking attention, I strive to be genuine, ensuring that my online presence reflects the real me. This way, I can stay current and relevant without compromising my authenticity.
What advice would you give aspiring influencers just starting out in the business?
In this fast-paced, interconnected digital era, it's easy to lose oneself in the virtual realm and become someone you're not. The constant online interactions can lead to an identity crisis and a gradual transformation into a "fake" persona. However, I have discovered a powerful way to stay true to myself amidst the chaos: taking meaningful breaks. When I feel the weight of the virtual world overwhelm me, I consciously step back and disconnect from social media for days at a time. These mental respites allow me to recharge and reconnect with the tangible world around me, the one that breathes life into my authentic self. Embracing "the real world" has become my sanctuary, reminding me of who I truly am and what matters most.
In an era dominated by fabricated appearances, staying genuine is paramount. As enticing as it may be, social media can be deceptive. People selectively showcase what they want others to see, constructing a facade that often strays from their genuine selves. Aspiring influencers must remember that remaining true to who they are is crucial.bEven in the life of social media, authenticity holds immense value. Embracing your true self and being relatable to your followers is a secret to building a loyal and engaged audience. Sharing genuine experiences and emotions fosters a more profound connection, resonating with your followers in ways that a polished façade never can.
I offer advice to aspiring influencers just stepping into the business: Embrace your authenticity with unyielding confidence. Take regular breaks from the digital world to ground yourself in reality. The more you stay true to yourself, the stronger your influence will be. Let your genuine self shine like a beacon in a world dominated by pretense, drawing in those who appreciate and admire the real you. Your journey as an influencer will be one of genuine connections and meaningful impact, inspiring others to be true to themselves.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping ride as we fast approach college application season! This upcoming fall, I am brimming with eagerness and unwavering determination as I gear up to submit applications to my dream colleges. But that's not all! I am also continuing my entrepreneurial journey by unveiling a captivating skincare line that will leave you glowing and clear skin! Also, an extensive range of exotic hot sauces will set your taste buds on fire! The excitement is off the charts, and though I can't reveal all the mind-blowing details just yet, rest assured that you won't want to miss a single update!
To keep up with Rhashad Lawery, follow him on Instagram: