“I started thinking of my daughter and her future, I grew up on McDonald’s and stuff like that and yes I turned out ok, but I wanted her to know there are other things to eat. There are places you can get fresh, local food.”
The Wallace Family Kitchen
Growing up, the kitchen was the place to be at the Wallace house. Maurice Wallace remembers coming home from school and hearing his dad cooking up a storm. He’d wind up in the kitchen and begin his next lesson of the day; cooking. Standing next to his dad, he’d ask what seasoning he was using and why. These moments slowly simmered in Maurice’s brain over the years, until he realized he wanted to become a chef. However, with the traditional 4-year degree and career paths the focus of the K-12 education system, he didn’t know how to get started. After high school, he worked at McDonald’s and Wells Fargo, but neither was the right fit. Talking to Maurice, you can immediately see that he’s the quintessential entrepreneur, brimming with energy and a passion for his craft that simply can’t be contained by a desk job.
“My dad was the inspiration for me. He’s a really good cook but wasn’t able to pursue it professionally.”
Funnily enough, he was watching TV one day and saw an ad for Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and decided to check it out. Once he toured the facility he was hooked. He realized his dad had taught him many of the technical skills he was learning; he had just never known the industry jargon for them. He was ready to share what made the Wallace family kitchen so special with the world.
Finding His Flavor
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in 2013, he started working as a prep cook at Bonicelli’s, an Italian food truck. He was also brought on to the Breaking Bread team by then head chef Lachelle Cunningham. When Bonicelli’s opened a storefront in 2014, he was offered a full-time position as a sous-chef and took it. His experience at Bonicelli’s exposed him to the many different ways food businesses can make money, from meal prep to catering to being a personal chef. However, like all those with an entrepreneurial spirit, he was aching to be his own boss. He wanted more creative freedom when it came to developing recipes, something the team at Breaking Bread had encouraged. After leaving Bonicelli’s in 2015, Lachelle offered him a full-time position.
“Oasis from Your Everyday Life”
While he learned the world of fine dining at Bonicelli’s, Breaking Bread allowed him to create food that fosters community. He’s always seen cooking as a multi-dimensional art form, with the ambiance just as important as the food. It’s also how he got connected to NEON and started the slow and steady work of starting his own food business.
In 2019 he officially launched his business, with NEON’s Ann Fix helping him organize pop-ups and develop a catering menu to test his recipes and build a customer base. By starting his business slowly, he’s been able to be intentional when developing his recipes. He knows what’s in the food is just as important as how it tastes, which is why he’s taken extra care to incorporate fresh, local ingredients into his dishes. He’s created an ambiance all his own, where community, health, and his signature dash of customer service take center stage. He wants customers to leave full of the feeling of home.
"I imagine Wallace Cuisine to be an oasis from your everyday life.”
2020 is set to be a big year for Maurice. Not only is Wallace Cuisine up and running, but he’ll also be taking over as Breaking Bread’s Café’s manager. His goal is to bring the Wallace family kitchen to the café and keep upholding its mission of bringing fresh food to the community. So come on in, grab a seat, and take an oasis from your everyday life.
Written by Anna Schmiel (NEON Community Engagement Coordinator)
Photo Credit: Anna Schmiel (NEON Community Engagement Coordinator)
To reach Wallace Cuisine and ask about his catering, personal chef, and meal prep services, email email@example.com. For more information, please follow them on social media.