Veronica Wheat founded Chef V in 2010, providing private wellness chef services to clients in the San Diego area. Today, Chef V is a national player in the organic food delivery industry. Veronica is a passionate chef, a certified nutritional therapist, member of the board of the California Certified Organic Foundation (CCOF) and a volunteer for Southern California charities.
What got you started as a Chef?
In 2010 I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology but I have worked in the restaurant industry since I was a kid. I am a self taught chef and have learned my trade in the school of “hard knocks”.
I was just a little kid when I started my journey to being Chef V. When I was 12, I worked at a café helping to make sandwiches, soups, and drinks and to scoop gelato for guests. It was my friend’s Mom’s shop and I got paid in sandwiches and ice tea. At 15 I got my first real job working at a vegetarian restaurant called Veggie & Tea House. I was an aspiring vegetarian and working there convinced me that there were so many foods to eat and still be healthy.
After Veggie & Tea, I worked in over 15 different restaurants throughout high school and college including Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Fine Dining, To-Go, Bistro style, and Bar. I worked every job you can do in a restaurant: front of house, back of house, on the line, on the floor, prepping food, cleaning dishes, bartending, etc. It was the best experience I could imagine, as it completely shaped my style into my own original vision of healthy and delicious food.
By the time I finished college, I was in love with food and nutrition but didn’t want to work in a restaurant any longer. I was on to the next step in my path to Chef V.
So you became a Private Chef.
Ready to move on from working in restaurants and having graduated from college, in 2010 I started a business in San Diego offering private chef services. My business’s cuisine style was healthy comfort food using organic seasonal meats and produce. The company started to keep me very busy, both as an in-home private chef and with frequent catering jobs including weddings, showers, birthdays, office parties and more.
In 2011, I started a meal delivery for the clients I met at events I catered. I had several dozen clients and made breakfast, lunch and dinner for them, plus I delivered twice a week, myself! The business grew and grew.
One of my trademark recipes was my Green Drink. I would have my clients drink my famous Green Drink before each meal. This way they were always getting a little bit of healthy greens with each meal. I made them drink it before eating their meals and wait 15 minutes before eating their food for proper absorption.
Green Drink was a hit. My Clients started sharing their Private Chef’s Green Drink with their friends and family. And before I knew it I had 100 green drink only clients in San Diego. I concluded my private chef services in November 2012 and focused on keeping up with the increasing demand for my certified Organic Green Drink and Cleanses.
What led you to make your own Green Drink and Cleanse products?
Why not just encourage my clients to buy a green drink or cleanse from the store? Because as a nutritional therapist I saw how bad the sugar latent drinks and cleanses on the market were. Many contain around 200g of sugar a day and I was appalled. It is not recommended to consume more than 40g of sugar in one day.
So I created a real Cleanse that incorporates my Green Drink, plus two vegan protein shakes each day and a tasty soup at night. My clients started my new Cleanse product and were losing up to 15 lbs in 3 days and up to 25 lbs in 7 days.
My Chef V Cleanse became so popular, I expanded my deliveries to Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Bay Area in 2013 and in 2014 I moved to New York City to start my East coast production facility. Chef V now services the entire country (minus Hawaii and Alaska, sorry friends). We are family owned and operated. My husband and I run all aspects of the business. And our dog child Mr. CocoNut is the mascot.
Are you vegan?
I’m not a vegan I just veg a lot! In fact I’m not even Vegetarian, wholeheartedly.
You might say “WHAT?! Chef V all you do is advocate veganism and plant based?” And yes that is true. I like to say I’m plant based with some organic protein in my diet. I do have some grains but mostly sweet potato or cauliflower instead of rice grains these days. I do still have organic animal proteins in my diet. Not with every meal but usually a little once a day. I only eat chicken or turkey that I cook myself and is certified organic.I don’t trust other places. I do also have wild fish and shellfish a couple times a week. But my main diet is plant based.
I think it is important to weigh your values and how your body does the best and with which foods. For me, I’ve tried cutting animal protein out of my diet and the result is a craving for bad processed carbs like bread and pasta. Which are animal-free so my mind and body go there. When I have a little organic protein in my diet I feel the best and don’t crave those processed carbohydrates. Again, I think it is important to do what works for you.
For the purpose of cleansing your body, I do think you should stick to a plant based diet but I also think having some pure, organic protein is ok and is still beneficial.
Being that your business is cleansing and yummy health food, what is your favorite healthy food?
I love my Green Drink. I have one every morning for breakfast. I also love salads. I have a big salad every day for lunch. I try to not eat meat during the day and have some sort of lean protein for dinner. Sometimes I have salmon sashimi for lunch.
Below, I am in the Chef V kitchen. The blenders behind me are filled with seven different organic greens, a little apple, and purified water. I’m getting ready to make my Green Drink.
Do you take Cooking Classes?
Since i was 25, I have traveled the world taking cooking classes. In fact, I just got back from one in Mexico last week. I learned to make fresh corn tortillas! They were the best I’ve ever had in the world! I also learned roasted salsa, grilled pineapple salsa and a rosemary guacamole I can’t wait to make and share with you!
I’ve also had classes in Tokyo, Italy, Cuba, Bali, Thailand, Croatia, and many more around the USA.
You have so many enthusiastic loyal fans of your products. What do you attribute this to?
Having honest products that work. And staying true to my brand. It’s my mission to Make Healthier Easier and having a green drink a day with no added sugars or extra fruits to sweeten it up really will change your life. It can change your life in as little as 3-7 days with a cleanse, thousands of our customers have attested to it. It will change your life and increase your longevity if you invest in having a green drink every day forever.
If someone is not happy with our products or services, we always try to make it right. We have a 100% money back guarantee for your first week of green drink if it is not right for you. This way you can make sure you like it before diving into a more expensive cleanse.
To order my book, click on the picture below.
You even have your own cookbook! What was that like to write?
It was a long process. But I learned so much!
When I moved to NYC I didn’t have much of a social life. I Worked at the kitchen all day making green drink and training my staff. Then came home, cooked and worked on social media. I get bored super easily so to keep myself busy I bought a camera and started documenting all my recipes.
The cookbook theme, the title and the recipes changed maybe 50 times. I compiled all the recipes for 7 months. By the time I was done with it it was January 2015.
I met with a local publisher who published Top Chef contestant Brian Malarkey’s book. I loved the book and images so much, we started working together and got everything done by June 2015, all the editing, formatting, and photos (they redid the photos because mine were not very professional).
In June 2015 we started going through a re-branding. Our logo and materials were so dated and created by my husband and myself. Plus I started as a chef and now was moved to more juice delivery, so we needed to re-brand with a more solid logo and message. So, because of this, my book was on hold for 6 months until we finished the re-brand. Once this was finished we had to go back through the book and add the new logos, change the title AGAIN, and changed the cover photo to a photo shoot we did at a local farm we do business with.
So, I always tell people, however long you think it is going to take to write a book, triple it and that is probably more accurate. I am proud to say that I sold 2,000 books and just reordered by second order of 2,000 books! Volume 2!
To order my book, click on the picture below.
What’s next for you?
I would love to start some other ventures. I have some other food brands I’d like to bring to life without diluting Chef V and that purpose. I also want to write more cook books. I have a holiday one in mind next. Another goal of mine is to be a judge on a cooking show.
Lastly I really want to start a women’s entrepreneur group. I know so many women that want to do something or start their own business but aren’t sure how. I feel I would be a great coach for women who want to get started and create a great environment with like minded women to support and help each other grow!