When you think of New Orleans, Louisiana, food, and libations will always come to mind. Let’s not even mention the possible extra pounds one may incur from the delicious taste of a Po-Boy. However, in the grand scheme of things, who doesn’t love to explore new foods in this tourist city?
Introducing Chef Ryan Tapp! For now, let’s just call him the “King of House Calls.” This fettuccine-making, big ass steak cooking, stuffed baked potato having a guy is simply good at what he does. James Evans from the classic sitcom, “Good Times,” once told his wife, Florida Evans, that women were only good “in the kitchen and the bedroom.” Well, that dated notion doesn’t hold to Chef Tapp…the cooking part, of course.
Tapp’s House Calls business has been doing incredibly well with his home-cooked meals with premium food items, and just in case you’re a vegan, his menu is all-inclusive. With the option to pick-up, despite his business’s name, he also does delivery.
Being established for five years, thus far, Chef Tapp can’t help but continue to go up. Chef Tapp, from New Orleans, Louisiana, currently residing in Houston, Texas, is filled with enthusiasm and vigor to deliver the best.
HMM. What was life growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in?
RT: I grew up in the projects in New Orleans. Like most inner-city youths, it was not the best life, but moms gave us her best. I was blessed to be raised in a two-family household, but we still struggled. My parents had two boys (me and my twin brother) and four girls (3 biological and one adopted). When my mom cooked, she cooked enough for a few days, which meant a loss of leftovers and no time nor money for spoiling the kids, we got what they could afford, and that’s it.
HMM. How old were you when you knew this was your calling, and what would you do with the rest of your life?
RT: Our parents made sure they raised responsible children. After school, we had our chores and no tv until the weekend. My mom left a list of tasks for everyone, and I was the one that usually ended up in the kitchen. While dad spent approximately 30 years at Pepsi America, our mom was a stay at home mom. With my mom being at home and my chore being tending to the kitchen, I was the one who cleaned and helped with the prepping of the food. Who would have thought it would have led to this! Once I was introduced to what goes on in the kitchen, I never left. At around the tender age of 11, I was able to help my mom more with the cooking. At a young age, I gained my curiosity. When I turned 13, my first job was at McDonald’s. After that, all my posts were in a restaurant.
HMM. Were you a dreamer growing up? What kind of dreams did you have?
RT. Growing up, what dreams did I have? Shocking as it may seem, one of my goals was to become a public speaker. I did public speaking and motivational speaking, which led me to become a pastor! Yes, cooking filled my soul, but preaching soothed it. I was a pastor, and I still can reflect and remember having a church of over 200 parishioners jumping to their feet from my words that they felt in their spirit. Sadly, I backed away from that when I lost my mom to cancer not too long ago.
HMM. Where were you born, and where do you reside?
RT. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, and currently live in Houston, Texas.
“Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams!”
HMM. What made you decide to be a chef? Who were some of your earliest influences?
RT. Spending time in the kitchen with my mom, I think, is what made me decide to become a chef. When you say who are some of my earliest influences, I would say, my mom, of course. Then, I would have to thank Chef Andreas, who has a restaurant in New Orleans, as well as a woman named Maria from Dragos Seafood Restaurant and New Orleans. Maria was tough, but not in a wrong way. I think Maria built me and prepared me to become a chef and the expectations that would be expected of me. Maria did not teach me how to cook, but her giving me that tough love, prepared me to be a man and a chef. I provide a lot of props to those three people, just to name a few.
HMM. Was it hard breaking into the business? Do you consider yourself a known chef or a chef in progress? Have you worked for any celebrities?
RT. Compared to some of the stories I hear, I would say it was not hard. Now, as far as what type of chef that I would consider myself, I would say that I am a chef in progress. I was blessed to become to enter this business and do it right away. In no time, I created a name for myself. Thankful that I have been given many opportunities that I am grateful for, especially when being able to cook for some celebrities such as Machine Gun Kelly, Waka Flocka, and Tammy Rivera, Bow Wow, Jim Jones and Chrissie, Niecey Nash, and a few stars from the TV Show “Love and Hip Hop!” I accomplished it. A lot right away, compared to people who took 8-10 years. I prepare the same quality meals without you leaving your house, and I also offer my clients the options of drinks. Now, not only do you not have to leave your house, you do not have to waste gas, wait on a line, reheat food when you get home, and do not have to clean up. I bring the table to you. I come into your house and cook for you while you relax.
HMM. How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometimes unscrupulous industry, as the restaurant business can be very cut-throat?
RT. The best way to maintain your integrity is to keep God first, stay true to you, and stay focused.
HMM. When cooking, what do you enjoy more?
RT. When cooking, I love it when many artists call and ask me to come through. I love a kitchen that stays busy and is continually moving. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I just yell out and talk to myself. I call my name, and I know I got this. It boosts me and keeps me going.
HMM. How difficult is it to maintain a work-life balance? Splitting time between you and your family?
RT. Since my mother passed, it was a difficult time for me. I stayed single for a while. I think a part of me was trying to find someone to fill my mother’s shoes. Not to replace my mother, but who lived up to the woman she was. I needed that same strength in my life. Happy to say, I am newly dating. She has been by far the most supportive. Not to mention, I am also a single father. Without going into too much detail, I had a few issues with my daughter’s mother, and I chose to raise my daughter. I went to court to make sure my daughter’s safety was secure, and for the most, it’s been me and my princess, Ry-Lee. With everything against me, I still stayed strong. I lost my mom, but I was blessed with my daughter. Also, it was great meeting a woman who not only understands me, but she supports me. Having late and odd hours as District Manager of a 5-star franchise, Top Wings (Wing Stop and Waffles n Creamz), it feels good to have someone to come home to and to know that I have someone there to help. Not only does she help with my daughter, but she is an excellent help with my business. Currently, we have a small apartment, but I steadfast hold onto faith that, in due times, we will find a bigger and better place. If I have not said so enough or recently to that special woman in my life, thank you.
HMM. Would you consider yourself a driven person? What makes you a POWERHOUSE? What is the source of your strength?
RT. I think I am very driven. Mom made sure I stayed driven and focused on my goals. I remember preaching, and while the whole church was standing, she was the one person sitting. One day, while driving home from church, I asked mom, “why do you never stand?” She said, “Baby, I got you. While they are rejoicing in the word, I am studying the word and focused so we can discuss what you need to work on later.” She was my biggest cheerleader, and I miss her dearly. I recently took a test, and I scored high on it, and I know that is my mom still cheering me on.
During one of the most challenging times in my life, I had to motivate myself to keep going. When things get tough, I always remember where I came from, and I am grateful for where I am. Self-motivation is key. My source of strength comes from my mom. If she could still fight while cancer beat her down, why can I not again fight while life trials and tribulations beat me down? My mom got sick, and she never complained. I remember her always being a fighter. Even when she said not today, if I told her to get up, she tried to move those legs. With all the things she has been through, she never lost her faith. She still stood up and raised her hands to give honor to God. If she can always give a fight, then I know that I can make it through whatever life throws at me, and I can and will succeed because nothing less is acceptable.
HMM. How would you define PEACE?
RT. My definition of PEACE is setting yourself a goal. Not easy targets, but big goals and accomplishing them. For example, a house. You know it will give you a headache, it will be tough, but you know once you achieved it, it was all worth it.
HMM. What can we expect from you in the future? Do you own your restaurant, or is that a dream of yours?
RT. When I think about the future, I think the sky is the limit! What is the abundant life Jesus promised? In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” When I get a restaurant where fine dining will be served, I want it to be great, rooftop setting and all. It may take a year, it may take five years, but no matter how long that God is preparing me for it, I will wait on it. I have greatness coming into the future, and thus, I want to walk into it. Nothing against those with a food truck or a small space, but I know what I want, and I am willing to wait. My plan and God’s plan are two different things, and I firmly believe He is working it out. When it is my time, I want to walk into it and not around the corner to it.
HMM. What advice would you offer others who are interested in becoming a chef?
RT. The advice I would give to others interested in becoming a chef is to stay focused. That is the best advice. Same information my mom gave me the same advice I would offer to others. Whether you are looking to become a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, hairstylist, entrepreneur, etc., it’s not easy, but it is worth it. Through my time of building my name and my brand, people have loved me and hated me. Even when I gave out discounts and deals, they expected quality beyond their budgets. When they felt they deserved more, they took to social media, trying to bash me. That was nothing but the devil being busy, but what those people did not know is that MY GOD IS BUSIER! The reason why so many companies succeed for so many years is that they never give up. Stay focused, remain persistent, and win, regardless of who is against you. You cannot and will not please everyone, and there will always be haters and naysayers.
If you are in the Houston, Texas area and need a personal chef or an event catered, check out Chef Ryan Tapp. For bookings and pricing, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Tapp, currently resides in the Houston, Texas area, Nolatopchef