#2 - Chef Dane
Dayton, OH - Being a chef is about more than just the food you cook. We spoke with Dane Shipp, who explained to us why that’s true, and gave us his perspective on what it’s like to be a private chef and independent business owner.
Known as Chef Dane, Shipp, age 31, was born and raised in the west side of Dayton, Ohio. He began cooking at age 11, making meals for his friends. Over time, his hobby of cooking became his passion.
“Once I got a little older, I started working at a place called Chappys, where I worked for eight years,” said Dane, speaking about the start of his career. “Then, I went to Lock 27, where I was the executive chef for three years.”
As a head chef, Shipp’s job was rewarding but demanding. Wanting a change of pace and a chance to invest in himself, as well as explore his creativity in the kitchen, on June 8th, 2020 - Dane’s 30th birthday - he started his own business, and decided to leave his job.
“I had no plan; I quit my job because I knew I wasn’t happy anymore doing that,” he said candidly.
Upon leaving Lock 27, he began working independently, doing pop-up events in The Oregon District and Yellow Springs, in addition to cheffing private dinners and catering. Despite his abilities, even he didn’t expect to be where he is now.
“I would’ve never thought I’d be a private chef,” Shipp said, looking surprised. “It kind of presented itself, it was natural. I didn’t say ‘Hey, I’m a private chef now’, people just started reaching out asking if I could cook for them in their homes.”
For Chef Dane, it’s not only about the food he cooks, but also the people he cooks for. When he worked at a restaurant, he was unable to see the people enjoying his consumable creations. Now, he’s able to interact with his audience as he prepares their delicacies, and see their reactions.
Bridging this gap between chef and patron has given Dane the potential to network with a number of people, including comedian and Yellow Springs resident, Dave Chappelle. After posting a picture of a shrimp-and-pineapple bowl on Instagram he made while working with Phat & Rich DYT, they were contacted to cook for Chappelle at his home.
“It was random, I got a phone call one day from a picture I posted on Instagram,” Shipp chuckled. “That’s what I do every day. It’s no different from the 500 other pictures I have on there, but it’s crazy that was the one that got us that phone call.”
Following the dinner at his home, they were invited back several times, to the point where he found himself around the stand-up star almost everyday, just hanging out.
“Kayaking, Hiking, just being there - sometimes, I wasn’t even cooking,” said Shipp on his experiences with Chappelle. “Meeting him was a blessing because it opened a lot of doors for me. He’s a very good dude and creates a lot of opportunities for the people around him.”
With hopes to build up the Yellow Springs area, Chappelle is planning on opening a market in Yellow Springs, which will feature Chef Dane, as well as a comedy club and restaurant in the near future.
As far as plans for the future of Dane’s business, his plan is “to go with the flow”. He says he’s not going to try to plan out his next 5 years, because he knows what he plans is unlikely to happen. Instead, he intends on embracing the opportunities that come his way and finding more ways to make his food available to the public.
Although his efforts have been paying off, Dane knows he still has a lot to learn. As a word of advice to aspiring chefs, he says not just to work hard and believe in yourself, but to never stop learning.
“I see a lot of people who become content where they are, and they think they know everything,” he noted. “Really though, you never stop learning. Especially in my field, because food is always evolving.”
For all the hard work Dane has put in, his reward has been more hard work. Unlike most people however, he’s okay with that. In his mind, that’s what it takes to be the best at what he does.
“You have to work harder than everyone else,” he stated confidently. “While other chefs are asleep, in my mind they’re asleep, I’m up studying, I’m cooking recipes, I’m working. I wanna be the best at what I do so I have to work 10 times harder than the next person.”
To contact Chef Dane for private events or catering, visit his instagram: @ChefDaneFly
A couple of plates that Dane prepared.