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From Marva with Love: Chef Duke from Dreamerz Cafe

By Marva J. Sneed

We recently talked to Chef Rasheeda Duke, the owner of Dreamerz Café. Chef Duke said Dallas College (formerly Dallas County Community College District) changed her life and belief in herself. “I learned so much about striving for a college education and career and pushing through in spite of my family history.”

MS: Tell us about your journey to own and be the Chef of Dreamerz Café.

RD: Wow, the fact that you said “journey” is confirmation that you’re speaking my language. I had a lot of disappointment. I got my culinary degree as an adult. I was a full-time mom with three children. I was previously married. During that time I got my degree, I had some business owners who wanted to invest in me. When I graduated college I had an offer to work with a franchise in Canada, but I had a teenage daughter and I wasn’t able to embark on that opportunity. The biggest disappointment was a job offer I got to open an American concept in Australia. That hurt me so bad. I had to change my perception of how I handle things… I started teaching culinary at Cedar Hill High School and those young people changed my perception and gave me the will to go ahead. I opened Dreamerz Café right here in the hood.

MS: What was it about the children that allowed you to dream bigger?

RD: Here’s the thing. I have a different kind of work ethic. I understand the business perspective and I understand a lot of things. When I came to Cedar Hill High School they had changed what used to be home economics to a new state-of-the-art professional kitchen. I was able to expose the students to things that they had not been exposed to before. I enlightened them on things in culinary. They thought I was there to cook for them and I told them I was there to teach them to cook for me and to see if it was worth paying for. I had to showcase my skills to the school. My test was Thanksgiving dinner. The students did an amazing job. When I came they had only had two catering jobs, but by the end of the semester, we had catered 27 events.

Chef Duke talked about so much more, describing her journey including her education at El Centro College. She describes Dreamers Café as a build-your-own concept kitchen. To hear the full interview, go here. Dreamerz Cafe’ is Located at 4417 S. Lancaster Rd. Suite 2289. across from the VA Hospital. 972-863- 7372.

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