The move from Michigan to Georgia seems to be a pretty common transition for most Michiganders living in metro Atlanta. When I originally moved to Atlanta it wasn’t viewed as it is now due to all the reality shows being filmed here. I came for college and stayed I knew that going back home to Michigan wasn’t really an option for me. Our interviewee for “The TALLK”, this month also moved from Michigan “FLINT”, to be exact. Judging from how much success his culinary and catering skills have brought him around the city and worldwide it doesn’t look like he’ll be leaving anytime soon either! Don’t get me wrong and I’m sure I can speak for Chef Wallace also, Michigan will always, always be home and I love that place forever, but going home to visit for a few days or more usually cures my homesickness and then I’m ready to book it on outta there lol….. Well without further ado here’s “The TALLK”, for the month of June, featuring Chef Willie Wallace!!
Name: Willie Wallace
Marital Status: in a relationship
Hometown Flint, MI
Occupation: Personal Chef and Caterer
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a former overseas pro basketball player, turned chef….I’ve also worked in the corporate world for Dell INC. for several years. My passion for food inspired me to be a chef. Food is a healer, makes people happy, and bring people together.
When was the first time you realized your height made you stand out from others?
When I was in junior high, I had a small growth spurt and was taller than everyone in my class. I was the best ball handler on my basketball team so I was out there like magic running the point guard position.
How did your height impact your life differently than others?
It made me stand out, so it was something I had to accept. When I was younger, I would slouch a lot to fit in. Once I understood it was a gift, I embraced it.
What’s the most common question you are asked because of your size/height?
Do you play basketball? Or I know you play for the Falcons.
Name a pro and con associated with your height?
Pro: I can see over a crowd and I will know if it’s going down.
Con: It’s hard for me to fit in anything, clothes, shoes, cars, crowds lol…
Being that we’re both from Michigan, a place known for producing some great athletes, you played ball also right?
Yep, a Flintstone!
What are some of the biggest challenges you face when it comes to shopping?
I can hardly find 15s in a shoe, all the stylish jeans are never my size. I end up wearing a lot of joggers and gym shorts.
How would you describe your style?
Real relaxed, I’m a hooper so sweats all day and flip flops but I can clean up a little bit when I need to. I love the euro style.
What are some brands you always wear?
Not really a brands person, if I look good in it, I’ll wear it
If you have to wear a daily uniform what would it consist of?
Grey or black sweats.
What are your top 5 fashion must-haves as a tall guy?
2. Stylish sweats.
3. Nice tailored suit.
4. Nice fitting jeans.
5. A haircut.
First celebrity crush? Shit, probably Janet Jackson and the old Lil Kim lolol, not the latest.
Invisibility or super strength? I’m really in tune with my spirit.. my discernment is crazy.
Last song you downloaded? Nas “NASSIR” Album
Do you snore? Sometimes
Detroit Pistons or Atlanta Hawks? Lakers!!
Last Halloween costume? Man, it’s been years but I think a nerd.. easy costume.
Any friends your height or taller? Yep bunch of old teammates and opponents.
What’s the best age? The 30s have been lit but I know 40s will be better.
Who inspires you? Myself. I’ve been thru so much to see where I am and where I’m going is amazing.
Say something cool. Something cool.
Moesha or Blossom? Lmao Moesha but Jenna from Blossom kept me watching.
What’s your middle name? Jamal
Fried or Baked Chicken? Baked
Paper or Plastic? Plastic, only making one trip from the car to the crib.
Do you know how to salsa dance? Yep, they taught me to merengue in DR.
Nike or Adidas? I have more Nike’s than Adidas but I love NMDs.
Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Spring and fall. Perfect temp for a big guy.
Salt or Pepa? Salt!!!!!!
How did you get into cooking?
I always had a love for cooking, I got tired of working for someone else so I started out meal prepping for people. That hustle turned into a career.
What made you decide to become a fulltime Chef?
To get paid to do something I was already doing for fun it was a no-brainer. I’ve worked so hard to establish myself in the industry so it’s no turning back now. I’m now growing my brand into something special
What are some of your specialties/favorite dishes to cook?
Shrimp and grits in many different ways are my
favorite….. I love to cook vegan food too.
Being a chef do you follow a strict healthy eating lifestyle or do eat what you want just in moderation?
It’s tough as a chef, I can be very strict sometimes, then other times I can taste everything I cook. But I also have a lifestyle of eating pretty healthy. I know that food is a healer, so I eat mostly what I know is good for me.
What’s one of your most memorable moments catering an event?
Cooking at Rick Ross crib, he has a basement that comes second to Dave and Buster’s, so that was fun. Also having to feed 400 people at Essence “My City 4 Ways”, was my first huge job, and I got a chance to cook next to Kelis. My food could barely make it out of the kitchen before folks were tugging from the servers.
Chef Willie & Chef Kelis cooking at an event.
Just a few of the celebs that Chef Willie has cooked for Keyshia Cole, Monica, Trina, and K. Michelle.
Talk about a catering disaster you’ve experienced?
Very recently I pulled up to an event and it started raining profusely and I had to bring in food for 100 people. Then some of my pans for my chaffing dishes had small punctured holes in it. So it wouldn’t hold water, it was the worst but I got thru it and everyone loved the food.
Would you eventually like to have a restaurant?
Yes, nothing huge but who knows what God has planned.
Where are some of your favorite places your profession has taken you?
London!!! I had the opportunity to host an event out there and it sold out! The love people showed me out there was incredible.
Where do you see yourself in your career 5yrs from now?
Recipe books, sauces, seasonings, and helping heal people thru food.
Relationship 101: Do you think social media has ruined the value of relationships?
Yes, it’s not the same… people get so caught up in a false sense of reality. People only show maybe 10 percent of their lives and people try to hard to mimic other folks lives. It’s also easier access to people.
Do you believe reality shows like Love and Hip Hop and Basketball Wives have tarnished the way people view love?
Yep because people get so caught up in that mess. A small percentage of it is real, having done it myself before, I know it can be genuine but most of it is bs.
Being that you are currently in a relationship. What are some of the things you suggest couples do to keep the spark in their relationship going?
Correct. Communicate on all levels… continue to date, and flirt. What you did at the beginning, continue the consistency.
What are three important components of a relationship?
Lastly, how can people contact you for catering inquiries?
Chefwilliewallace@gmail.com chefwilliewallace.com or ig: chefwilliewallace
Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the readers?
It’s about profession, not perfection, keep God first, let him lead and you will be lead to your dreams. We have dominion over the earth, so whatever it is you want, speak it and go get it. Trust the process!