Fabulous People: Phillip Humphrey

Phillip Humphrey is the executive chef of Coco Maya, a vibrant culinary destination in San Diego offering a fusion of flavors highlighting the best Creole and Cajun cuisine. “As executive chef, I blend traditional techniques with modern twists to create memorable dining experiences.” Learn more about Phillip Humphrey…

Follow at: @FlashyPhill

Hometown: San Diego

First job: Cart attendant at Target.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: I enjoy exploring local restaurants and outdoor activities with my family.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My greatest accomplishment is being a father to my two boys. Balancing a demanding career as a chef with fatherhood has been challenging, but it’s also gratifying. It has taught me patience, resilience and the importance of being present. Watching them grow and sharing my love for cooking with them is an unparalleled joy.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: My journey to lose weight. At one point, I weighed over 300 pounds, which posed not only health risks but also affected my energy and well-being. Embracing a healthier lifestyle was pivotal; I transitioned to a pescatarian diet and focused on overall wellness. This journey wasn’t just about shedding pounds but about reinventing my relationship with food and my body, leading to a healthier, more balanced life.

Someone who inspires you and why: My mother introduced me to cooking. Her passion for food and family meals taught me the value of cooking for sustenance and bringing people together.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Working in the kitchen is incredibly rewarding but also time consuming. You often miss out on many memories due to long hours. My advice is to balance your professional dedication with personal well-being. Invest in self-care and mental health. Having a therapist or a support system of positive people is crucial to keep you on track, as the culinary lifestyle can be hectic and demanding. Remember, success in this field is not just about skill and passion for food but also about maintaining overall health and well-being.

Favorite quote: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington.

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Many might be surprised to know I have a deep love for music. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the saxophone. Its soulful sound resonates with my creative spirit, much like cooking does.

What makes someone fabulous: Being true to oneself, showing passion in what they do and having the ability to bring joy and inspiration to others.

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