Rhadia Hursey’s passion for cooking began at a young age in Champaign, Illinois. She learned everything about cooking from her village (grandmother, aunts, and neighbors). When she moved to California after her mother joined the Navy, she craved the food her grandmother would make and started cooking for her mom and siblings. Rhadia has lived in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Washington DC, and has traveled extensively to the Caribbean and Europe. All of these places have shaped her culinary identity.
Although Rhadia’s love of cooking was evident at a young age, she was unable to pursue it as a career because she became a mother at the age of 16, and had to drop out of high school. After working different jobs over the years and going to college off and on, she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2005. After graduation, she began working as an insurance agent, but never let go of her dream of being a chef. For her side hustle, she cooked at holiday parties, baby showers, and took as many cooking classes she could afford to broaden her skills.
In 2010, at the age of 33, Rhadia’s professional life was at a crossroads. She had been working as an insurance agent for several years, and the economy was in a recession. Business was slow and she needed to make a career change. During this time, the state of Georgia announced a new program that would pay for anyone who had been affected by the recession to learn a new trade, and culinary arts was one of the approved careers. Rhadia registered for culinary school and hasn’t looked back. While she was in culinary school, she started her own personal/private chef business. Many of her clients practiced the Paleo lifestyle. Unfamiliar with Paleo, Rhadia learned everything about this diet and quickly became known as the Paleo chef around town.
In 2013, Rhadia relocated to New York City, where she worked as a chef for various events such as the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Rhadia has worked in healthcare as a chef for Archcare, and Mt. Sinai Hospital, and has worked as a chef consultant for Center Light Healthcare.
Rhadia has earned degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, and The Center for Culinary Education at Chattahoochee Technical College.
Rhadia is the President of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. Rhadia currently works as a private chef in New York City and the Hamptons.