What were some of your motivations for creating I’m the Chef Too!?
I’m The Chef Too! started out of the necessity of helping our son who has ADHD. He had a hard time focusing in school but loved to connect with me in the kitchen. I thought what better way of combining my love of teaching over the past 10 years and my passion for baking to create memorable learning experiences for him through fun recipes? That was when I’m The Chef Too! was born. By blending food, STEM and the arts into educational fun, we were able to create meaningful, delicious hands-on activities for our son and now other families nationwide. What child doesn’t love to bake and erupt volcano cakes while learning about chemical reactions, discover the solar system as they whip up galaxy doughnuts or explore their favorite dinosaur species as they create edible dinosaur terrariums? Right?
What’s the hardest part about juggling parenthood and your career?
The hardest part is finding the time to just be present. It is very easy to be consumed with work, but when you have three school-aged children, finding a balance is key. It is extremely difficult to maintain a household, be that “perfect” mom and have a career. There are days where I am exhausted and overwhelmed, but I have realized that time is a special commodity, and taking that time to connect with my children and put work aside is extremely important.
What makes trying to balance both easier?
Having a schedule and being organized has helped me manage both. If events, parties, sports and all of my work-related appointments are penciled in my calendar, I can plan accordingly, which relieves my stress. I have to admit that hiring a babysitter here and there so I can have personal time for myself is definitely helpful. We all know it takes a village to raise a family.
What do you love about being a parent?
There are so many things I love about being a parent. I would say the constant element of surprise—good and bad—is top on my list. Every day is a new adventure, and although there is no instruction manual, I tend to find myself laughing through some of life’s most difficult situations with my kids. Whether it’s cutting slime out of my daughter’s hair, stepping on my son’s LEGOs barefoot while walking through the house or witnessing all of their joyous milestones, I would not trade any of it even for a moment.
What’s your biggest parenting fail?
I definitely would receive a failing grade when planning fun weekend events or family vacations as this activity always ends up in an epic fail. Trying to find shared interests and plan fun getaways for all three children looks promising in my head; however, reality is a completely different story. These stress-free fun moments for the family can quickly turn into tears, arguing and being “so over it” with an eye roll before we even arrive.
What’s the one thing you hope your children learn from you and your career?
I would love for them to learn that being an entrepreneur can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. Taking risks and putting in the hard work gives you a chance to create and build something that you will be proud of in years to come. All three of my children are involved in the business, even at the young ages of 5, 7 and 9! They each play an important role from how we develop and create our products to how our cooking adventure kits get rolled out into the world of e-commerce. I hope they become entrepreneurs one day too!
Title: Founder and CEO of I’m the Chef Too!
Lives: Dayton, Howard County
Family: Lisa Wallace with Ryan (9), Vivian (5) and Jack (7)
Family Meal: Homemade Chicken Parmesan for sure. We have a family recipe that has been passed down through many generations. My children are my perfect sous chefs to help prep the meal now.
Dessert: Ice cream sundaes. Who wouldn’t love packing on all your favorite toppings in one scoop?
Book To Read Together: The “Magic Treehouse” series. We enjoy how nonfiction blends into fiction within each book.
Way To Spend a Weekend with Your Children: Touring the museums in Washington, D.C. We are huge history buffs!
Vacation Spot: Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Nothing is more relaxing than listening to the waves crash on the beach, the laughter of children and sand between your toes.