May 2017 Announcements!
Dear Family, Friends, Students, Fans… everyone who has been an integral part of the ZeeTheCook Family…
I am so proud to announce the opening of our new Culinary Studio in Dearborn Heights! Starting June 1st, 2017 all ZTC operations will be conducted at 24732/24736 W.Warren Ave, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127.
The 2 different addresses might confuse you, so let me explain that they are 2 units in one building:
The first address 24732 was an old pizzeria, completely outdated, not up-to-code and needed so much care. When I first walked in for a showing (after hundreds of other showings elsewhere) something magical happened: I could truly feel inside my heart this was “the one”.
The pizzeria had a dining room, so there was a huge wall separating dining from kitchen, and the bathrooms were centered right in the middle of it all. The structural presence itself was not something I was looking for, because I was looking for a big open space- somewhere we can all feel so alive and to feel good- but something was telling me, this is it…
So I hired an architect+contractor and sketched out a plan to break down all the walls, and start renovating. We ripped out the bathrooms, floors, walls, ceiling, everything…. and these last 4 months have been a real journey dealing with city officials, permits, contractors, the whole nine yards. On top of it all, the banks did not approve us for a loan so every single penny I’ve saved over time- went into this intense and amazing project. That’s why I can’t tell you enough how appreciative I am for your continuous support and signing up your kids in my classes, or spreading the word to those around you.
My mission from the minute I started this program is truly to give my students the best experience I can give them in a loving and safe environment… so thank you for trusting & believing in me.
The actual building on W Warren was for sale, but I couldn’t afford it, so I started my lease in February and that’s when the renovations began. 1400 sq ft of space was enough to operate cooking classes, accommodate storage & kitchen operations + 2 handicap bathrooms- but we didn’t have enough space for a “recess” room (which my students need) or a check in/check out station and office. I thought to myself: “It’s ok, if I did it from home these last 2 years, then somehow we will still make this work…”
God totally had his own plans for ZTC though because 2 months after I signed the lease agreement at the 1st unit, the 2nd unit (24736) went up for lease as well. I couldn’t believe it…
I was so tight on finances and my family urged me against taking on the 2nd unit for a long time. I couldn’t sleep through the night for weeks just thinking about how perfect it would be if I could have this 2nd unit and open the wall in between both units to create ONE ZeeTheCook Culinary Studio with every needed to fulfill my student’s and customer’s needs.
No one could see my vision, the place I lived inside my mind… and I don’t blame them’ my dream is so huge and many may say I’m crazy- or it can’t be done…. but this is my first big-baby step towards the future and I knew it was time to work and hustle more than ever before to make this happen… so I did work so much these last few months.
– I took on the 2nd lease which was a “Music Academy” for 8 years. It was carpeted and sectioned into about 10 tiny office spaces.. Again, very old, dark, outdated and sad. I realized even in that moment this still belongs to me. Everything felt like it made sense and would come together as each day passed…
After consulting once again with a contractor on the cost to tear down the walls, fix the drop ceiling from all the tearing, electrical, mechanical etc. it was beyond what I could ever afford at that point. I still took the lease as is and those around me again said: “keep it the way it is and just make it work”…
But I couldn’t.
I 100% knew it did not fit my vision of that clean, open space that would make my students and staff feel great and amazing.
So…….. I became the contractor and cut down my costs by 50% on that unit. I hired my own demolition guys, electricians, painters, etc. Took each step one week at a time. Paid for material on cc’s and labor out of pocket (I hope this story inspires some of you to never give up on your dreams).
It’s May 14 right now so this 2nd project started just a few weeks ago! We are almost done, now we have more open space, new carpet and new ceiling tile. I’m practically broke at this point- but guess what? I feel like the richest person in the world. I feel amazing because now I know how much more I can offer the ZTC family… and I know acting on my beliefs and visions against all odds is what I NEEDED to do to be successful in the future.
I can tell you right now- just as my intuition told me before on all decisions made, that Summer Camp this year is going to be the best experience of my student’s lives… and I can’t wait to share it with them!!!!
With the opening of the new studio in our community comes new opportunities for us all. Before, we mostly catered to kids & teens while sometimes hosting family events off-site and every now and then I had a few private adult classes at home- for example the Hamet Family Reunion every December which was so much fun! Now we will be able to offer more family events “ON SITE” where parents and their kids can connect more, and do something special as a family in a fun atmosphere. We will also be hosting adult cooking classes as well! I’ve hired 3 different independently contracted chefs to host alongside the team when we need them! Italian, Mexican, and Japanese…
Also, we will be offering something called: “Pop-Up Dinners” where you and your date/friends can simply “show up” (Pop up!) to enjoy an evening of delicious food, dessert, and tea/coffee hosted by a specialty chef. No cooking necessary!
For example, we have an exciting POP-UP dinner coming up this June by Layla Outita Siklawi- owner of “Taste of Marrakech”. She will be hosting a delicious Moroccon 6-course dinner during Ramadan. The announcement and tickets will be announced later this week! Amazing menu, I am so excited… We really hope you take advantage of this 1st experience @ the studio ❤️
Our Adults Only Cooking Classes will mostly be hosted on Friday and Saturday nights… no longer will you be doing the same old thing- this time you will be able to grab your friends or date/ double dates and create something together as a team, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor afterwards + go home with new skills and recipes!
The kids have always had SO MUCH FUN throughout the last 2 years… now it’s your turn to do the same at ZeeTheCook! 🙂 I promise, you will love it!
I will do my very best these next few weeks to completely finish everything we need to do by June 1st. No matter what happens though, I am opening those doors on June 1st! God-willing…
Before I end this really long email.. (sorry) I wanted to mention one last and very important thing:
I found out I was pregnant the same week I signed papers on the 1st unit, late January 🙂 I’ve been hiding my little secret for so long because my focus has been on my students and completing this big project for them by summer time! I’m so grateful to tell you that the baby is doing great and this has been my best pregnancy so far (maybe because I’m too busy to be weak or sick 🙂
Our baby boy is due in September… which gives me a perfect amount of time to open the studio doors, get everything well and running great + enjoy the entire summer with my amazing students….
By the time your kids go back to school, I’ll be taking care of this bambino… All I can say is that God is the BEST of planners and timing is everything.
Please keep in mind that our studio will always be running, this pregnancy hasn’t stopped me and the birth of my baby won’t either 🙂 as I’ve already prepared a nursery for him at the studio lol…. we will be there right away! (You guys know I’m a workaholic, don’t hate me).
My staff is amazing, they’ve hosted 4 classes already without me. The chefs we hired will be working throughout the summer in preparation for their own classes at the studio too! At the end of the day, I will ALWAYS be available for you and your loved ones – so please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time… ZeeTheCook is not one person… ZTC is a program for all of us to join together and enjoy some great social experiences together….
I trust my well-trained team and I hope you will too!
Lastly, if you would like to host a private party of any kind or rent out the kitchen and dining area, please let me or my event planner, Balkees know! You can contact me directly or email her at Contact@ZeeTheCook.com
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this… I know it’s a lot of info, but I consider you family and wanted to share the background of all that has happened and will happen…
Please remember to sign up your kids for the BEST Summer Camp in town. You will be supporting a great cause and you won’t have to worry about packing a lunch, drink, sending money or anything! All will be provided and they will go home happy ….
With Much Love & Appreciation,
Zee Shami, Culinarian & CEO