Nik Fields quit her corporate six-figure job in 2020 to become a private chef.
Starting a business is a leap of faith for some people, but for Fields the decision was to be her authentic self, the “Chic Chef.”
Her turning point, her opportunity to make a career transition, was when in 2016 her daughter graduated from college and her husband received his Ph.D.
Fields did not disclose where she used to work but told Voyage Phoenix she had a full-time, 20-year-career occupation in finance at the time. With both her daughter and husband finishing their studies, she figured it was a prime time for her to pursue her longtime dream career.
A ‘Crazy’ Move
‘“Everybody literally thought I was crazy,” Fields told Rolling Out. “You’re literally going to quit a job where you’re making $250,000 a year just to cook food for people.”
She was not passionate about her job despite being a vice president, Sweatpants and Coffee reported. She did, however, have a passion for culinary arts, and she has more than 25 years of experience.
Like her father, she wanted to have a career as a professional chef, and in 1995, Chef Nik graduated from a culinary arts school and traveled to Italy to study the country’s rich history and gastronomy.
Meet the Chic Chef
Fields took on the persona of The Chic Chef and has been a private chef for the Phoenix Suns for 15 years, and she has also prepared meals for countless celebrities, including Snoop Dog, Vivica A. Fox, and Sharon Stone.
According to to Eat This, Fields was also a personal chef to Phoenix Cardinals player Chris Johnson.
In the U.S., the average earning for a private chef is $86,738 annually. There is a wide range of salaries, depending upon location. Private chefs rake in the most in San Francisco at $129,433, according to job placement service Comparably. According to Indeed, in Atlanta the average salary for a private chef is $86,835.
In early winter 2021, she opened a restaurant and shop called the Chic Chef Co Café & Marketplace in Arizona. Customers could buy her full line of products including balsamic vinegars, spice blends, teas. The restaurant featured seasonal comfort foods. But the business was short-lived and has since closed. This hasn’t deterred Fields, who has turned her attention to another brick-and-mortar location.
“I don’t fit into the ‘normal’ box of African-American chefs based on the foods that I prepare,” she told Clean Eating Mag. “[But] I am determined to be a household name. I am an author, celebrity chef, philanthropist, brand owner and, most importantly, a Black woman.”
On Feb. 8, Chef Nik is slated to open Phoenix’s first Black-owned wine bar, Chic Chef 77 Bistro & Wine Bar. Many of her celebrity friends plan to make an appearance at the grand opening.
“We were fully reserved until the end of the month in like two days,” she revealed proudly.
“It’s definitely a blessing. I have a lot of celebrities who are coming in, they even did a complete buy-out for the space for them to have their own party, so that’s the best week to actually open to generate that exposure for us,” Chef Nik told Rolling Out. “Having a Black-owned business, and having actual support to keep us going is what can make or break us within that first year.”