To say that private chef Damon Ruff knows his way around a kitchen is an understatement. Known professionally, and affectionately by his clients, as Chef Dame Cooks, Ruff has cooked for practically every facet of the culinary world over the past 10 years—from corporate and commercial to offering customized meal prep and in-home cooking classes. Here, he shares his culinary journey, his favorite spots to dine in the Valley when he’s not cheffing it up and what’s in store next.
Please tell us a little bit about you. How did you get your start in the kitchen?
Chef Dame Cooks: Hey all, Chef Dame Cooks aka Damon Ruff from the Midwest, born and raised in Detroit. Partially raised in Columbus, OH to a single mother and a small, talented family. I’ve always been a creative performing my habits through scratch artwork, designs, fashion, music and food. My grandmothers were both amazing cooks and always held down the family. I spent years finding myself through different careers and learned a lot! I gave my all to companies that didn’t appreciate my creative, so about 5 years ago I transitioned careers into culinary. My family’s good friend was an executive chef and showed me the industry in just 2 years. It was like Mr. Miyagi and Daniel Son no kidding, lol. I built my confidence up, studied the Phoenix market and decided to take my show on the road.
What services do you offer as a private chef?
Chef Dame Cooks: I’ve been in business 2 years now here in Phoenix and throughout the Valley. I offer extensive packages, such as in-home private chef, High Profile Athletes Chef, private catering for all types and small meal prep services for people who are trying to really change their lives. Outside of that I have partnered and collaborated with many local chefs, consulted some businesses and have just been available to help all succeed in this business locally and out of state.
What’s the greatest thing about being a chef?
Chef Dame Cooks: The greatest thing about being a chef is you control your own narrative. You can either be mediocre or you can be the greatest to do it. I keep that mentality as I continue to develop new habits through this craft. I feel like as a chef you wear many hats, even being a therapist for clients lol. But truly it’s a great position to be in, assisting many in transitioning their palates.
What’s your favorite food and why do you like it?
Chef Dame Cooks: My favorite food is truly fusions. I like to mix often. I will eat Asian and Mexican together. I love soul food, but then I love Italian, so I will do fried fish or chicken with spaghetti or a pasta, or infuse some mac ‘n’ cheese with soul food ingredients. I snack often as I’m cooking 5-star meals for clients. I need to challenge them to cook for me. But when said and done, I love all cuisines.
When you’re not cooking, where do you like to dine in the Valley?
Chef Dame Cooks: If I’m not in the kitchen, I’m spending my earnings at Buck & Rider, Jersey Mikes, Amados Mexican Restaurant, Rosati’s Pizzeria, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Harold’s Chicken and Hannys. I truly patronize other chefs as well.
Crystal Ball. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Chef Dame Cooks: In 5 years I see myself becoming a chef mogul, balancing business and relations with food. Developing other chefs and creating like a Marvel Comics type of atmosphere where we are attending and competing with major food companies to supply our products. I’d like to own several kitchens and create schooling for chefs down the road. Also, cooking for as many big names as I can.
Where can people contact you?
Chef Dame Cooks: I can be contacted through my website, chefdamoncooks.com, and on Instagram @chefdamecooks.
Please feel free to add anything else!
Chef Dame Cooks: I just want you all to know, never give up on your inspiration, never allow others to downplay your potential, if you feel like you can do it! All you have is yourself to find that out. Cheffing has changed my life and my kids’ lives! I challenge all to continue being different and find something you can express and be heard through. Don’t rely on the outlets that don’t feed your MIND BODY AND SOUL. Stay true to you and your loved ones. My Classic Line is: “Let’s Eat. Tap In. More than a Chef.”