Angela Borah

Angela Borah

I deliberately work on managing myself by working on my mindset. Every day I tell myself a mantra–I get to–rather than I need to, or want to. I acknowledge how lucky I am that I get to work in a kitchen in NYC, I get to work in a medium I love–chocolate–and I get to do it with the team that I love. By working on yourself and your mindset, you can show up for your team better with a calm, level-headed approach.

Being a chef requires you to adapt to any situation, so it is important to learn to use different sets of tools in your arsenal, just like each tool serves a different purpose in a Swiss Army knife. Each team member is different and every situation requires a unique approach. You need to be a disciplinarian, a teacher, a cheerleader, counselor, mechanic, problem solver, all at once, and have the foresight to use the right approach at any given moment.
Surround yourself with people who have your best interest, who will vouch for you and will invest in you, invest back and then build your tribe around that. I know this is contradictory to the current rhetoric of “switching jobs every year or two to raise your salary or position” but this deliberate decision has paid me back ten-fold in opportunities, experiences and connections that any amount of money cannot buy.
Patience and perseverance are more important than natural talent to be in this field. You need to have the mental and physical endurance to play the long game. The nature of our field is repetition, and through consistent practice you will develop skills and style that only you can claim as your own. No one but you can do this for you.
As someone in a position of power, it is really important for me to create opportunities to uplift others. If you can send someone to a continuing education class to better them, send them. If you think someone qualifies for a scholarship, share your resources and make a recommendation on their behalf. If you can sponsor a visa through your company, vouch for them. Providing opportunities like these are crucial in building the next generation of chefs.
As a young cook, what attracted me most to the culinary field was the opportunity to learn from talented chefs and develop my craft. As I continued to grow as a cook and transition into a chef, I realized that what keeps this industry relevant and attractive to the next generation is mentorship. When I was promoted to leadership positions, my goal was to not only teach pastry skills, techniques and recipes, but also professionalism, an attitude and a way of life. Nothing is more gratifying than having the opportunity to mentor the younger generation and provide guidance on the same questions that I was faced with when I was a young cook.
When Covid hit in March of 2020, we had to decide whether to close the chocolate shop like the rest of the world or to remain open. We decided to stay open and pivot to e-commerce operations with a bare-bones crew of 4 people doing production, shipping, packaging, and other operational aspects of the business. To this day, choosing to work during quarantine was one of my proudest moments of my career. It was extremely gratifying to provide comfort through chocolate to guests during a period of so much uncertainty, and help them go through holidays, birthdays and special occasions.
To provide an inclusive and caring environment, I try to have genuine, high quality interactions with my team, even if they are brief.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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