Posted on February 12, 2016 | blushingblack.com
HUSTLE, HONEY: JAMILA PÉCOU OF EARTHCANDYARTS
Everyone on this earth is born with a God-given gift. That something special within us is the very thing that can take our lives from ordinary to extraordinary. Those who take the risk to walk in that gift has room made for them! I simply admire women, especially, who don’t just walk, but strut unapologetically within that gift! Today’s Hustle, Honey! story is about an amazing woman who struts and makes it look so easy…& fly!
Meet Jamila Crawford Pécou: a highly sought after celebrity vegan chef, with a zeal for cuisine, travelling the world, fashion and culture. When I met Jamila over 10 years ago, she had such a vibrant personality and an intense passion for life! She eventually went on to turn that passion into an amazing lifestyle brand EARTHCANDYARTS, which focuses on services around healthy cuisine, highlighting her travels around the world, and of course, fashion. For the past 15 years, Jamila has been the go-to vegan chef of celebrity clients such as Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle, Alicia Silverstone, & Gabrielle Union.
I am such a proponent for healthy eating and I am a personal fan of Jamila’s brand and her cooking! Delish! I admire her style, her drive, and her hustle. After several trips around the world, I finally had the chance to catch up with her to talk to her about EARTHCANDYARTS, how she defines success, and what’s next for her.
LG of BB: Have you always lived a vegan lifestyle? If not, what led you to switch?
JCP: No. Not at all, in fact, I LOATHED veggies when I was a child (with the exception of corn and lettuce). But you couldn’t pay me to eat most other vegetables! I began my vegan lifestyle when I was 19. It was during a time of many transitions for me which also included cutting out my permed hair. I was exposed to alternative ways of living and introduced to new ways of thinking. Changing my diet was an outgrowth of that paradigm shift.
LG of BB: I changed my eating habits years ago, cutting out beef and pork, and people would make the rudest comments about that. So being vegan, I can only imagine! What’s the biggest misconception about being vegan?
JCP: The biggest misconception is that vegan food is RABBIT FOOD. The running joke is that I eat lettuce, tomato and carrots, when in fact there’s a world of fruits and veggies that I get to choose from. Think about this – on a standard dinner plate, maybe 25% of the plate features meat (chicken, beef, etc.)— the remaining 75% is meat-free! I have a cookbook that I’m releasing this year that’ll be sure to change that misconception.
LG of BB: Speaking of cooking, you’re in the Farmer’s Market and you can only take 5 things with you to cook. What are those five things and why?
JCP: Great question – I’d take onion and garlic, because all my cooking start with these two items…kale, because I can either eat it as a raw salad or sauté it…Black Rice because it’s actually a seed, relieving my body of a starchy intake, PLUS I can soften it via soaking overnight…finally, plantain—because I’m of Dominican descent and a life without plantain is like no life at all
LG of BB: So, if someone wanted to start living a vegan life, what are the top tips you would share with them?
JCP: I’d advise them to go forward with an open mind and don’t expect everything to replicate meat. Experience the vegetables for what they are and how they nourish our bodies. I’d also recommend they keep their meals as colorful as possible—that way you KNOW you’re eating all the vitamins and minerals needed!
LG of BB: That’s great advice! What do you love about what you do?
JCP: I love the freedom to create. There’s no one telling me what to do and how I should do it…It’s all a learning process on my own terms. I love that what I do can be shared with everyone who encounters my cuisine. I love that not only does what I do taste good (if I do say so myself :)), but it’s good for you— a WIN-WIN!
LG of BB: It’s pretty scary to put yourself out there because you don’t know how people will respond to you. Do you ever doubt yourself? If so, how do you overcome it?
JCP: All the time. I often question if my brand is something viable to others, or am I just blowing steam. However, on the flipside of doubt comes self-assurance. Positivity always prevails. Once I feel that doubtful consciousness creep in, I immediately shift focus to a victorious state of mind. The mind is a powerful tool, and whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re always gonna be RIGHT…so do yourself a favor and think positive!
LG of BB: So true! That thinking has opened the doors of success for you. Tell me: How do you define success?
JCP: Success to me being content with the decisions I’ve made. Be it for my business or in my personal life. Waking up in the morning with excitement about the day ahead as opposed to the wail of an alarm clock. Experiencing the joy of completing a task despite challenges. And finally being supported my loved ones as I take on any endeavor is priceless!
LG of BB: What’s your mantra in life?
JCP: ‘To thine own self be true’. Those words resonated with me at a time that I was doing quite the opposite, and I paid dearly for it, by way of unhappiness. Since I’ve adopted this mantra, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for myself! Self-care is extremely important in my life. As a mother of two daughters, I thought that my life had to revolve around their every single need. And yes, though I definitely am first to get ANY and EVERY call, I also incorporated ME time into my life—it makes me a better person! You know like before a flight takes-off and the attendants go through all the rules? Well they always instruct you to ‘place your mask on first before helping others’ in the event of an emergency? That’s my sentiment-take care of YOU before others, that way you can be at YOUR optimum. Once I’m at my optimum, there’s no stopping me!
LG of BB: That’s amazing to know! I often struggle with that now with one child, so I’m learning that “me time” is essential and a non-negotiable! What would you want your legacy to be?
JCP: In terms of being a chef, I want my legacy to be one of knowledge and respect, through my passion for culinary arts. My cookbooks will be my legacy, not only for my family, but to all who encounter it. It can be passed on for as long as the recipes are preserved, and I know it’ll be utilized in the name of GOOD HEALTH!
LG of BB: Your journey has been a fantastic one! What’s next for you?
JCP: More cookbooks, more webisodes, turned TV shows turned TV Network Ownership! Sky’s the limit—move over Oprah!
LG of BB: I see you girl. Keep hustlin’.