Now that she has a space to call her own, Dearborn resident Zee Shami has room to grow her business the way she wants it.
This September marks the third year anniversary of ZeeTheCook, but it was this past June when things really started to heat up. That's when Shami opened the doors of her Dearborn Heights studio. Cooking classes, summer camps, arts and crafts, games and activities -- it's all happening at her space on Warren Avenue.
"I saved up every penny to get this building. Now I'm not limited by space or other people's schedules," says Shami. "I have the freedom to run my classes and host my events."
Dearborn resident Zee Shami runs her business ZeeTheCook, bringing people together through cooking.Shami's business, ZeeTheCook, is multifaceted, though ultimately serves as a means for bringing people together through cooking. She runs a Monday-through-Friday summer camp, where she hosts children ages four through sixteen. They make breakfast and lunch together, play games and make arts and crafts, go on adventures in the park and scavenger hunts in local super markets. She not only teaches children how to cook, but also healthy eating habits, customs of etiquette, and life skills.
Now that summer is nearly over, Shami will turn her focus to birthday parties and private events. With the fall and winter holidays, she'll offer classes and parties revolving around Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas foods and treats. And with the extra space her studio provides, she'll be offering cooking lessons to adults, too.
ZeeTheCook wasn't always Zee the Cook. She says she didn't find her passion until she was 25 years old when, having purchased her first home with her new husband, a beautiful new kitchen was calling out to her. She began experimenting with recipes and started the food blog ZeeTheCook.
As the blog picked up in popularity, Shami's followers wanted to try the recipes of the meals she posted. Not one for keeping exact measurements, Shami says she figured it would be easier to offer classes instead.
"I wanted to teach cooking classes because I wanted to share my belief in how to cook. It shouldn't have to be by the book, it shouldn't have to be word-for-word from a recipe," she says.
"You should be able to look at the ingredients and, like an art, say how are we going to combine these ingredients and create something beautiful out of it. The result is something from the heart."
With her classes gaining in popularity, Shami discovered that the real opportunity for sharing her passion was in teaching children. She's now fostering that same passion for cooking in those kids. One-time picky eaters now go home to their parents with an excitement for trying new foods. She says she has eight year olds that can prepare whole feasts for their families.
For all the time and energy she puts into running her business -- 14 hour days, phone calls at 10 p.m. -- Shami says it's all worth it. Though it might be considered "work," she certainly doesn't see it that way.
"I love to cook. It's therapeutic for me. So, I've never worked a day in my life."
ZeeThe Cook is located at 24732 W. Warren Ave. in Dearborn Heights. Visit them online [zeethecook.com] to learn more about classes and registration.