Chef S.T. has been fascinated by food from an early age when he watched an egg cook, and turn from a liquid state to a solid finished form. His passion for food and learning drove him to the Cordon Bleu culinary school at the age of 16. After completing his education and becoming a chef, he started catering events of all kinds.
Chef S.T. (whose unabbreviated name is Sarkis T. Takvoryan) burst onto the scene when he began cooking for pop star Mariah Carey. His far flung business venture include his work as a personal chef for celebrities. He has recreated the dinner party as we know it. Chef S.T. and his team have taken luxury to a new level.
Dining with Chef S.T. is a one-of-a-kind experience. His accommodating and experienced catering staff include a professional team of servers, mixologist, maid service and bartender. These parties have become so popular in Southern California that the program is slated to expand into Mexico and Miami in the second half of 2019.
Total Food Service was able to spend a few minutes chatting with Chef S.T. about his creativity and growth.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
My parents are Greek Armenian. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Hooray for Hollywood.
How did you get involved in the business?
It seemed as if I was around it from a very young age. I was too young to get the type of restaurant job I knew I could handle as a 17 year old. So I simply started my own catering company. Before too long what had started in a small apartment became a growing company doing fabulous weddings. Word traveled around and reached this amazing young lady named Mariah Carey hired me to cook for her.
What was the takeaway from working for a celebrity?
I got the opportunity to travel the world first class on tour with Mariah. Very demanding and you burn out being on call 24/7.
So we parted ways and I started this pop up restaurant concept called Mood. The name came from having to cook to match the moods of the celebrities I had cooked for.
Take us inside the Mood concept.
It was perfect for Los Angeles. It goes it goes something like this: Members Only people signed up to get an invitation. Within 24 to 48 hours in advance, we make an announcement on Social media of when it is going to be. The first 40 guests are able to buy the tickets and then get notified where the Pop up is going to be. I then get to cook whatever I am in the mood to serve.
Was the Pop Up a fad?
It’s grown to some 700 members and keeps growing with stops all over LA from Woodland Hills to Santa Monica. We are now getting ready to take it on the road in Mexico and Miami. We can keep growing because it’s all about the creativity of the venue. We’ve actually done a couple of them in a flower store.
In addition, it’s all about creating a feel that you can’t consistently get in a traditional restaurant setting. Our message is good things begin with loving yourself and the second part of the event was love yourself. You could find solace and love and then it just goes on. Love the world. Love your family.
How do you build out the menu for the Pop Ups?
My partner has a traditional banquet hall and event catering business. We bring together our team and set the menu. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to be creative with menu items including octopus and even duck kabobs.
Long Island duck or west coast duck?
No comparison, Long Island duck is the best.
How do you control the invite list, so that you have a room of people that are going to enjoy each other’s company?
We’ve created an interview process to go through the website. There are questions from how much time you spend with your family to your take on consumption of wine and CBD. The screening process is all about finding good energy and good people.
How has social media enabled you to build the business?
We’ve really done a great job of integrating video into our Instagram and social media.
We look at the videography and the direction of production as the key to our being attractive with a focus on very high energy. One of the best decisions I made was to be personally involved in managing social media and videography and on what content we put out there.
What drives you as you build this business?
I am constantly looking for things to learn. I get inspired when we cook something we have never done before. One of those things that stayed with me from childhood. I’m always asking where I am right now and how do I get to the next level?
How can I wake up today and be 10 percent better then yesterday? With food, I feel like I have a purpose on this earth and this planet. Not only do I want to be the best chef in the world but I aspire to be the best human being who can relay a message through food.
To learn more about Chef S.T., visit his website