Two months ago, I received a Facebook inbox message from my friend Sharon. She shared that someone she’s known all of her life was also living in St. Louis and that he’s a chef. Sure, my eyebrow shot up and my heart leaped. Chef. Cleveland. Chef. To top it all off, she was treating me to a meal cooked by her friend, Chef Clifford Wade.
By the end of the week, I had not one meal but two courtesy of my friend and the chef. By the end of the week, I also had someone I knew I’d always call friend. Chef Clifford is such a kind, warm, and god-fearing man. He begins all encounters with a hug, and ends them with a prayer and the most sincere “I love you.”
During our first telephone conversation, we talked for an hour. He told me how he knew Sharon (elementary school), and told me how he ended up in St. Louis. His wife is how he ended up here. Rosezenta missed her family, and he missed her after she left Cleveland, and though there are a ton of other details we know what the outcome is.
Interestingly, Chef Clifford received his chef’s certification a few years ago. He’d been cooking and working with food for many years, but decided he wanted the paper. He is an enterprising man who dabbled in street pharm as a young man in Cleveland. The love of Rosezenta made him change his ways. But, if you’ve spoken to someone from the streets or who has had street experience, they will tell you that enterprising is enterprising. Chef Clifford is still hustling, except he is slinging seafood and other goodies directly from Facebook. He has a Facebook clientele that is both loyal and consistent business all year.
He also has a day job as an assistant chef at the stadium. He works the sky box, where he uses his education from L’Ecole Culinaire to make guests happy.
One of the things that immediately endeared me to him was when he told me that Rosezenta was a better cook, and had taught him the finer points of cooking everything from ribs to soul food to anything she decides they should eat. Having worked her grandmother’s farm provided experience that is not always found in a fancy cooking school.
Gee, there’s so much to tell about Chef Clifford. If you talk to him, he will share his thoughts on almost anything. He is quite transparent, but he is also inspiring.
Here is when and how I decided he was the best. I told him that I was going through a rough patch financially, and he said to me, “Tell the devil to get his hands out of your pockets.” Seemed simple enough, I did it, and there was a turnaround almost immediately. (Did I mention that he’s in ministry at his church?) Amen.
Food is his ministry as well. Chef Clifford brought me his version of a favorite Cleveland street food. The Polish Boy. I’m going to share more about it later but when I received his gift of food, I cried happy tears. It was better than anything I’d had at home. It was home to me. And Chef Clifford has become home to me here.
He has a number of plans in his immediate future, and I will post them here as they come to fruition. In the meantime, you can order from him on Facebook. He has a menu I’ve linked below. And he delivers.
I have a feeling that his food will be like home to you too. It doesn’t matter where you call home.
His Facebook Page: Chef Clifford Wade
Update: Chef Clifford takes orders on Instagram too. @chefcwade
Send him a message on Facebook and he will respond ASAP.