Maverick Monday: “The Roaming Chef” Dawn Sloan

Time for Mav Mon circle text

What do you do when you’re about to turn 40 years old and you feel deeply in your heart that you need to shift gears in order to find and fulfill your purpose?

If you’re Dawn Sloan you:

  • put on your “grown woman undies;”
  • quit your job;
  • enroll in culinary school;
  • graduate at the top of your class;
  • then move all the way to Spain–without knowing Spanish, no less–for a year to perfect your craft and pursue your dream of becoming the world’s 1st Black Master Chef.

How’s that for being fearless?

Chef Dawn Sloan (cropped)

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dawn for many years and she has always been an amazing spirit. The way she has been living her life the last couple of years by walking in faith in the face of uncertainty and unfamiliar territory though have revealed how much of a maverick she truly is. In fact, it’s that inner boldness that inspired her to give herself the nom de plume of “The Roaming Chef.” The next leg of Chef Dawn’s journey will take her to London and Thailand, so clearly the moniker she’s dubbed herself with is quite apropos!

The essence of Dawn’s philosophy is simple: “I’m roaming the world, discovering people, places and culture. I am chasing flavor and praying for communion with those I encounter.” As far as Chef Sloan’s food is concerned, trust me when I say that when this woman says she’s “chasing flavor,” she MEANS it! I was blessed to have the opportunity to chat with Dawn recently over some of her ridiculously delicious and spectacular cuisine and let me tell you this woman’s talents run deep in the kitchen! Get ready to drool, because here’s what was on the menu:

Brioche French toast served with sweet pecan butter; chèvre with Anaheim chiles & pomegranate; vanilla bean freshly whipped cream; and syrup

Spicy hot chicken {inspired by Nashville-style hot fried chicken}

Bacon and spinach quiche with creamy Alpine-style cheese

Dawn's Brunch Collage

From left: Chef Dawn’s decadent and delish French toast; my actual brunch plate with everything on it; the bacon and spinach quiche oozing creamy, gooey cheese

Dawn believes in scratch cooking with whole food ingredients–artificial ingredients and processed foods are not her jam. And for the record, a bite of that warm, pillowy, perfectly tender-crisp French toast + the sweet pecan butter + tart and creamy pomegranate chèvre + syrup = sheer, sublime, taste-sensation heaven!

After brunch I was able to interview Dawn for the “Maverick Monday” series and I don’t think I could have selected a better person to be the inaugural Maverick.  I asked her a series of questions and naturally her responses were just as dynamic and bold as she is. Read on and be inspired to unleash your own inner Maverick!

Chef Dawn Sloan Collage

From left: Chef Dawn explaining her cooking technique and ingredients for the meal; peeking over the quiche at the chef; The chef in action in her natural habitat

(1) What does the word “maverick” mean to you?

“An uninhibited taker of chances. I chose the word ‘chances’ as opposed to ‘risk’ because when you take a chance you are expecting a positive outcome as opposed to a risk- where you are already preparing for the worst. You take only one risk but you chose to take multiple chances.”

(2) Who is someone you admire that you consider a maverick?

“This was a hard question but I have the pleasure of knowing two wonderful mavericks who show me how to live a Real God Filled Life with no excuses, no regrets, [who are] constantly striving to be transparent to all that meet them and loving so many people along the way – Pastors  Rudy & Juanita Rasmus of St. John’s Downtown UMC in Houston, Texas.”

(3) What in your opinion makes he/she a maverick?

“They teach not only The Truth of God [but also] how to go into the world and be the love of God to all. They do it not only in words but through actions and letting the world see they are not perfect people but true sinful people that are pushing to be the people of God by living their lives through the principals of God.”

(4) What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received when it comes to taking a risk or pursuing your dreams?

“Pray about your decision and then leap in the direction God calls you to go. If we take steps, we tend to turn around to a safe place. When you go to the top of the mountain and leap, you can only expect God to take care of the rest- there is no turning back.”

(5) What risk(s) have you taken in pursuing your dreams?

“I left a life of striving for ‘security’ to strive for joy [instead]. When you stop worrying about what you look like, what people and society will think of you and stop worrying about the judgment that will be passed on your life choices, you can begin to actually pursue the dream/purpose God intended for you to have and not the one other people have for you. If you don’t have a clear vision of your own dream or simply don’t have a dream, someone will give you a dream or ‘figure out’ one for you.”

(6) What’s the next risk you will take? What goal(s) do you have planned for yourself next? 

“I’m headed to the UK to live for a moment. I want to experience the people, the culture and the food.  I will be there a year and then I will be moving to Asia for 6 months after that. My original goal was to become the first African American female Master Chef. There are currently 67 Master Chefs in the world; I want to add to that number but I’ve [also] discovered and uncovered so much more in my purpose. Bringing back the reason to eat and commune  together is a lost art- I will bring that back to all cultures.”

(7) If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering taking a risk or pursuing their dream like you have, what would that advice be?

“Live your life to inspire others to live their lives. When you truly find that ‘thing’ that gives you joy and true purpose, your ‘direction’ begins to fall in place. Be a beacon, a testament to those that are still searching. Really live out your purpose so others will be encouraged and inspired to seek out their purpose and live too.” 

I told you Dawn is an amazing spirit! I have been so inspired by her journey and I hope that you have been inspired, too. My favorite piece of advice she gave is to leap instead of just taking steps. Sometimes we hinder our progress because we overthink things and only allow ourselves to take safe baby steps when what we really need to do is courageously jump off the deep end and just SWIM.

After reading Dawn’s interview responses, it should be clear why she is truly a maverick in her own right, and the perfect candidate for this inaugural Maverick Monday series. You can nurture your own inner maverick by taking a honest look at where you are in your journey and asking yourself “What part of my dream pursuit do I need to just go ahead and take the leap on?” Don’t stop there though–you should actually take the leap and see where you land. After all, you see where the leap landed Chef Dawn!

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dawn will achieve her Master Chef goal and I can’t wait to follow along with her as her journey unfolds.

You can keep up with “The Roaming Chef” and her amazing journey too! Be sure to visit her “The Roaming Chef” website as well as follow her on both Instagram and Twitter–she regularly posts pics of her food and her spectacular travels and adventures. And if you happen to find yourself in London in 2016, make sure you’re following Dawn on social media so that you can check her and her cuisine out at the restaurant she’ll be cheffing for–your mouth and belly will thank you!!

Cheers to the Maverick, The Roaming Chef Dawn Sloan!