Byron Franz, also known as Chef B, has been cooking since he was 13 years old, and since he can remember, he has always loved doing so.
10 years later, his passion for food is still there, and with the help of his mentor, celebrity chef DeMarco Cavil, Franz is starting to see a lot of opportunity in the cooking industry.
Chef DeMarco Cavil, who has cooked for the likes of Magic Johnson, Dwayne Wade and Bill Clinton, has trusted Franz to be his guest chef on multiple occasions.
“He will message me whenever he needs me, and I’ll go up there (Twin Cities) to help him out. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going into when I go up there,” Franz said. “As summer progresses, he’s talked about us feeding the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota United Men’s Soccer team.”
Chef DeMarco will secure a gig and message Franz to meet him at the address.
“He will bring all the food there, and I will help him finish it off and do any of the last steps,” Franz said. “When we do these gigs, we try to have 75 percent of the food done, so that when we show up to these people’s homes, we are only spending 45 minutes to an hour there at the max.”
With a rate of $125 per plate, Franz dishes up an appetizer, entrée and a dessert. But for first time customers, Franz lets them eat for free.
“It’s more of a way to get myself out there, and if I can do that, I think it goes a long way to show them that I actually care about my work.”
Franz has delivered his creations and hosted meals at his house in an effort to get clients hooked on his product. This way when he opens up shop, he can get returning customers right away.
He is able to make money now from donations and tips, while also getting paid when he helps Chef DeMarco.
In an effort to get his name known, Franz has been messaging many celebrities and athletes to try and set up dates to cook for them. To his surprise, a few responded, such as Naz Reid of the Timberwolves, and Mr. Hotspot, a Hip-Hop artist.
“When I messaged them, I didn’t expect them to actually look at their DMs because a lot of them will have their DMs still go through their general and have hundreds of messages from their fans,” Franz said. “When they do respond back, it’s kind of a weird feeling, like these famous people are noticing your work, and they want you to come down and cook for them.”
Franz is hoping to have menu put together in the coming weeks so he can start taking orders from clients.
He usually cooks in themes for the week. If customers like what they see, they can order from his Facebook page, or text him directly.
This week’s theme was chicken and waffles.
Earlier this week, he made waffle cones filled with mac n’ cheese and chicken.
The meal he cooked in this picture is waffle tacos with a mac n’ cheese base, filled with deep fried chicken and drizzled with a sweet honey barbecue sauce. He then toped it off with bacon bits and chives for the garnish.
Franz journey as a chef started when he was 13 years old, cooking for his parents, grandparents and friends. Right away, he knew this is what he loved to do.
From there he started volunteering at his church and cooking for his youth group, before getting his first job as a kitchen aid at the Good Samaritan Nursing home when he was 15.
He worked at the Good Samaritan all through high school before having to leave for college where he would chase his music dreams in Kansas. Eventually releasing an electronic album titled ‘The Journey’ on iTunes, ultimately putting his cooking career to the side.
Things did not feel right for Franz, and after a few years away, he return home. And in 2018, he got his old job back at the Good Samaritan.
This time, as the head cook.
“The nursing home was the perfect spot for me,” Franz said. “I got to cook for a large crowd, and it taught me food cost and food waste. I learned a lot of what I know from there.”
Franz eventually moved on from the nursing home and took two jobs as a cook at a bar and grill called Duffy’s and a bar and grill called The Den.
After only a few months of working, Franz received a promotion at The Den and decided to work there full time.
The Den is where Franz found his love for cooking again.
He decided to take a step away from music, and apply for culinary school at South Central in Mankato, MN.
Here is where he met Chef DeMarco and took his cooking to the next level.
Franz became known locally for some of the meals he prepared like the one below.
But, it was his noodle cup creation, inspired by Trendy Chef, that really gained him a following.
“After I made my first noodle cup, I’ve taken the idea of being this out of the box chef, and just come up with weird creations. It’s given me lots of attention on my social media, I have people in my DMs saying, ‘I wish you were in Atlanta, I wish you were in Texas, or New York.’ Or they will message me saying ‘what’s it going to take to get you out here.’ So, the hard work is definitely paying off, and it’s showing.”
“It’s hard sometimes though, I just won’t know what to make,” Franz said. “I go to these celebrity chef profiles and gather ideas from them, and just combine them all in one dish.”
Franz does take pride in the look of his meals, but he prefers the taste to be what he is known for.
“Our professors told us, ‘you can have a plate that looks like a million-dollar plate, but it might not even taste good,’” Franz said. “’But you can have some food that looks like a disaster and be one of the better things you’ve tasted.’”
Experimenting with different combinations, not everything turns out well for Franz. So, he throws it away, and try’s and try’s again.
“I’ve always told myself, ‘you’re the chef, you’re allowed to do whatever you want in the kitchen,’” Franz said. “I want to be different, and that forces me to step outside of the box. That’s the kind of chef I aspire to be, a chef that isn’t afraid to mix flavors that don’t normally go with each other.”
Franz’s wants to be based out of Minnesota, but the ultimate goal is to travel with athletes and families as their personal chef. He also mentioned a dream of becoming the Minnesota Timberwolves chef if traveling doesn’t work.
He is waiting for the corona virus to pass to get his first gig alone, but says as long as he is confident, he is sure he will kill it. And from there, word of mouth will do its thing to keep the customers coming.
“This first opportunity under my brand is the biggest thing that’s going to happen in my life and is going to be the thing that changes my life,” Franz said.
With his logo selected, business cards made, and t shirts being sent out. Franz, or more famously known as Chef B, is fully branded and ready to get his business running.
Here is a link to his Facebook page where you can book meals, see his past creations and read reviews from his customers.