It’s 2018 and for some misogynistic reason, every single woman is expected to throw down in the kitchen. Guys want their counterparts to make the food and make their plate, yet they can’t even make up their mind about taking you seriously (but that’s a topic for another TED Talk). Starlone “Cheflito” Boone, owner of Cheflito’s Catering & Prep, is doing his part to rewrite the cooking narrative.For years, the Norfolk, VA native watched his mother chef up meal after meal; by the time Boone got to high school, he knew cooking would become more than a hobby.
“I was in home ec[onomics] and I just fell in love with it, with the art, with the passion,” he said. “The ability to bring a bunch of ingredients together, make it something that’s tasteful and that just looks good is special – something that people will enjoy.”
The 27-year-old moved to the Queen City in 2012.
“I went to culinary school for about a year and a half at the Art Institute of Charlotte. I didn’t finish because that shit was expensive as fuck,” said Boone.
Boone didn’t let not finishing culinary school gnaw at his love for cooking. He maintained a variety of restaurant jobs before ultimately being fired from Hickory Tavern as the certified trainer/shift lead.
“After that I was just like I’m not going through that again and I’m about to start my own thing. I decided to just jump out on a limb and actually make this happen,” said Boone.
In June 2017, Boone did in fact make it happen.
“When I first started selling plates I wasn’t making no money, like I was selling plates for dirt cheap just to make the money that I spent back,” he said. “You can’t skip the process if you want to be great at something. There’s no way around it, you gotta go through it.”
During times of adversity, Boone is always reminded of his mother’s Nigerian roots and the African proverb – smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors.
“You’re going to go through tough times but you have to keep going,” he said. “Over the course of a year, the whole thing has just put me in a position of doing better things and it’s just amazing. The quote is something that I live and stand by.”
Over a year and a half later, Cheflito’s Catering & Prep is a well-known name all throughout Charlotte, NC. In addition to catering and meal prep, Boone also offers brunch pop-up shops, private dinners, and wedding receptions. UNC Charlotte alumni, the black ones of course, might’ve indulged in Cheflito’s cuisine at The Black Elite’s most recent events: Hashbrowns and Henny, and the Potliq.
Boone is also a personal chef to Miami Heat point guard and childhood friend Briante Weber.
“He [Briante] also connected me with Malik Monk from the Charlotte Hornets, I cook for him as well whenever they’re in town. Through Briante, I ended up cooking for the whole Miami Heat team which was a blessing,” said Boone.
Boone wants to let it be known that he’s not one of those people who feeds into the hype or thinks he is above anyone.
“The different opportunities are great but there’s still more money out here to be made. I can’t live in the moment forever. I’m just trying to stay as humble as I can you know,” said Boone.
Sauce it up…
When Cheflito is in da’ kitchen water whippin’, he likes to stay true to his roots – the Chesapeake Bay area. Delicacies such as crab, shrimp, fish, flounder, squid, oysters, and crawfish can be seen on Boone’s Instagram on any given day.
What is your most essential cooking tool/appliance?
Do you cook with music?
Neo Soul and R&B.
As a chef where do you like to eat?
The crazy thing about it is, I eat a lot of pizza, like a lot. People think I’m a ninja turtle lowkey.
Doctor says you only have one full day left on Earth, what’s your last meal?
Lamb chops, pizza, mac n’ cheese, shrimp with some crab legs, and probably some oxtails.
Boone doesn’t aspire to be like the Gordon Ramsays or the Guy Fieris of the world, but he does intend on leaving a legacy.
“I want to eventually get a food truck and a restaurant so I have something to leave my family when I’m dead and hopefully have them takeover. I don’t want them to have to worry about anything so that’s why I’m here doing the footwork,” said Boone.
To book Cheflito today head to his website right now!