Chef Scott’s Story
As most stories start, this one being no different, the journey was not expected and full of twists, turns, and faith building experiences that have shaped and continue to shape Chef Scott and Latin Fusion Foods.
Chef Scott grew up in Sacramento, CA with a father that loved to cook. Chef Scott’s memories include grilling, cooking, experimenting, critiquing and over all enjoying food with his father Jack Wedge. Chef Scott’s passion and love for Latin cooking began while serving for two years in Guatemala as a missionary, and continues today and is expressed through Latin Fusion Foods.
In 1999 Chef Scott moved to Arizona. He toured the campus of Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona but the timing was not right at that time. Chef Scott entered the mortgage industry in 2000 as a mortgage loan officer and enjoyed a very fruitful career for almost ten years. Chef Scott even hosted his own radio show on KKNT 960AM on mortgage credit and advice.
After the mortgage turmoil struck, Chef Scott faced the daunting task of having to “start over” with mortgages and contemplated a career change. By this time Chef Scott had seven children and worried how he would financially support his family. Like most fellow Arizonans with the mortgage crisis Chef Scott lost his home and his income dramatically reduced to almost nothing. It was tough and prayerful time. To make things even worse during this time, Chef Scott lost his father unexpectedly which caused depression and a midlife crisis. Chef Scott reached a dramatic point in his life and pray fully considered what direction to take in his life.
In discussions with his wife and with her encouragement Chef Scott contemplated going to culinary school and to follow his passion to cook. The cons to such a dramatic redirection in his life Chef Scott worried how he would financially provide for his family, as the restaurant and food industry starts with low pay. In discussion with a best friend, and fellow mortgage colleague he encouraged Chef Scott to follow his passion and that a direction in catering might be his best option to fulfill a passion towards cooking and providing financially for his family. Chef Scott’s focus and drive, coupled with a creative sense towards branding and marketing that served Chef Scott a successful career in the mortgage industry could be the perfect recipe to establish a successful catering company.
With faith and determination Chef Scott enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, AZ to begin his training as a chef while continuing to work as a mortgage loan officer. Chef Scott excelled in his classes at Le Cordon Bleu and enjoyed to its fullest his experience learning from some of the best chefs in Arizona. A year passed and Chef Scott reached a critical point where he almost quit the program because of financial strains to support his family. It was the final class, which was an externship class and three months to graduate. Chef Scott due to his lack of restaurant experience and the slow summer months was unable to find a restaurant to employ him on an externship and would be forced to do his externship at the restaurant kitchen located on the Le Cordon Bleu campus. Besides not offering any financial pay, the hours also conflicted with Chef Scott’s mortgage schedule. Chef Scott contemplated quitting and it was only through the encouragement and prodding of his wife Becky that Chef Scott determined to graduate. Chef Scott approached his chef instructor with the dilemma he faced and was allowed to come to class earlier, which would allow him to continue to work mortgages in the afternoons and evenings.
Chef Scott worked with the bakers in the morning and was assigned the task to do breakfast burritos for the café. It was there that Chef Scott created his signature “Not Your Typical Chorizo and Egg Burrito” and created a buzz around the school campus with his burritos. It was also the first note of inspiration that would eventually inspire Latin Fusion Foods.
Chef Scott graduated Le Cordon Bleu in October 2010. The next few months Chef Scott contemplated the direction and launch of his eventual catering company. He also continued to work mortgages but with little success. Although not certainly viewed at the time, an act of intervention was about to happen. It was Christmas time 2010. Chef Scott had been working on a mortgage loan and it was scheduled to close soon. There has been no income for almost two months. The Christmas tree was bare. There were no presents for the children. There was a little money that was set aside for the utilities that was scheduled to be turned off the first few days in January. It was a tough and trying time. Chef Scott received word the mortgage loan papers were signed and the loan was set to close the end of December. With the good news and against the better wishes of his wife, they spent the reserved money for the utilities to buy Christmas presents for their children. The day after Christmas Chef Scott received the disturbing and devastating news that the expected loan had canceled. The bank had renegaded on a verbal extension of escrow and decided to foreclose on the property, when it only would have closed and funded in a few days. It was devastating news! The utilities were set to be turned off and there was no money to pay them.
Chef Scott’s wife Becky was extremely angry at the decision to spend the utility money on Christmas presents. As most good things arise from difficult and trying circumstances this was the birth of Latin Fusion Foods. Chef Scott spent the entire day in prayer and meditation and searching for a way out of the financial dilemma. While in prayer his thoughts were immediately taken to the burrito experience while at school and immediately felt an answer to his prayers and the entire Latin Fusion concept unfolded and played out in his mind. With determined focus and enthusiasm Chef Scott mapped out his line of specialty egg burritos and a marketing plan. That same day he bought all of the ingredients and began cooking and had a burrito party that evening with friends and family. Two days later on December 28th and December 29th Chef Scott began to peddle his burritos in a warehouse district in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. In those two days Chef Scott and his family were financially blessed and able to pay their bills and make up all the money that was mismanaged and spent on Christmas presents.
Without a restaurant and any prior experience in the food industry Chef Scott hit the ground running January 2011 and established Latin Fusion Foods with a sales distributorship to various office parks and retails business selling egg breakfast burritos with his unique fusion of Latin foods throughout Mexico, Central and South America. Chef Scott also established a successful wholesale business of his burritos to local coffee shops. In Latin Fusion Food’s first year sold over 11,000 burritos, mostly by Chef Scott on the strength of his personal sales. He exceeded expectations and was able to establish a loyal following and excitement over his unique brand of “Latin Fusion”.
Chef Scott is a business success story of hard work, dedication and a vision when all else seems impossible. Latin Fusion Foods continues to grow with its unique concept and brand into not only burritos but offers full catering for weddings, events and has its sight on a restaurant very soon. Chef Scott has a designated on line presence with instructional and cooking videos. Chef Scott continues to broaden the view and produce a Latin food experience that is much more than Mexican food in Arizona, by providing an experience that focuses on freshness and Central and South American culture