If you’re on Instagram and enjoy watching drool-worthy food then you probably already know our favorite professional self-taught chef, May Yacoubi. She didn’t let anything stand in her way from following her dream of cooking amazing recipes that you can do at home with ease.


What do you do consistently for time management?

Actually, what helps me manage my time is kind of old school but it works like a charm. I do the very basic to-do list every day. I sit down with my notebook and write down what I have to do for work, kids, and the house. To me, it really is the most efficient way to get things done.


What is one resource you wish you knew about when you were starting out?

What I really wish I knew about when I was starting out is online “Master Classes”. The internet wasn’t really that popular, fast or resourceful as it is today. Master Classes are just like their name implies. They are classes by award class chefs that people can buy or register for access to their series of professional classes. These can anything from bakery classes, international cuisines, or even desserts. I actually took a few courses and plan to take more in bread making, something I’ve become a fan of lately.

What is the best career advice anyone has ever given you?

“Be in it for it, not for the money”

That was the best advice someone gave me. It means you should be doing what you do for the love of it. You should do it right, with heart and with patience and always have your eyes on the target. But that target should never be just financial success. If you do it for the passion you have for your profession, success will come, and that will lead to financial success. Just financial success shouldn’t be the reason behind what you do.


What do you do to motivate yourself when you feel like giving up?

When I feel like giving up I remind myself of the harder times I faced and survived. I look at my own life challenges and remember when I hit rock bottom and how I got through that phase of my life. This really helps me put things in perspective and realize that the hard situation I’m in now is not really as horrible as it seems.  I tell myself that if I survived that, then I can do this as well.


What advice would you give self-taught chefs that didn’t go to a fancy culinary school and yet want to prove themselves just as professional as a certified chef?

Although you didn’t get enough training, you have enough passion to be in a carrier that you weren’t professionally trained for. So, translate your passion into hard work because passion is not enough. That means getting yourself equipped with everything you need from courses, master classes, to cookbooks and the proper kitchen tools.

Familiarize yourself with your own style, and taste of cooking, and find your edge. Know that you are going out there to share your passion with the world, polish your skills and learn as you go. Always listen to your heart and open yourself to listening to advice others give you. Never stop learning. Every day, you should read, watch, try, fail and succeed till you create your own style that no one will ever care about your degree. You should never forget that a work ethic is something you can’t buy. You have to always respect others in this field. Respect other’s effort, recipes and give credit to everyone you’ve learned from.


Photographer: Khaled Marzouk

MUA: Christine Khayat