Leigh Orleans has always been passionate about cooking. She graduated with a business degree from Chapel Hill in North Carolina, but the Virginia native never stopped spending her free time in the kitchen. Two years after college, she married her now spouse, who happens to be a US Army Officer. Finding a job or career when your family moves around constantly for military purposes is no easy task. “I used this as a new opportunity. Instead of trying to force my previous idea of my future, I followed my passion and started a business in food.”
Turning Passion Into A Career
Leigh started culinary school in 2020, taking most of her preliminary classes online during the pandemic. She has since staged for larger kitchens, but realized that the demand for a private chef was much higher than before the pandemic. “I have the utmost respect for restaurant chefs. The hours are grueling, the environment can be incredibly intense, and it requires a huge amount of synchronization. I prefer work as a private chef because it allows me to create my own menus, arrange my own schedule, and interact personally with the people I have the pleasure of feeding.”
The Impact From The Kitchen
While working for yourself has benefits, there are challenges that come with being your own boss. As a private chef, Leigh does not have the luxury of relying on a team. All prep work, including chopping, shredding, meat prep, must be done by her. Additionally, a spine injury from Leigh’s past makes her back sensitive to standing for long hours or moving heavy equipment, all of which are necessary for her job. “The floors in the kitchen are incredibly hard. Your back aches. Your shins are sore. Anyone can tell you that during the first few weeks in the industry –even for those working front of house,
Leigh first found OOFOS when she was nursing an arch injury from a run. While waiting for an orthopedic diagnosis to treat her injury, a sales clerk at a store recommended she try OOFOS OOahh Recovery Slides. “The woman had said, ‘They feel like gummy bears!’..
Leigh soon realized that the closed-toe OOFOS Recovery Clog, OOcloog, could provide her this same impact absorption while in the kitchen. Whether nursing an injury or all day at work, OOFOS are perfect for walking or standing because they absorb 37% more impact and the patented footbed technology provides good arch support. Leigh’s body is still tired from a long work day on the tile or hardwood floors found in most home kitchens, her feet feel rejuvenated. “Wearing the OOcloog when I’m at work has made a drastic difference in how I feel throughout prep time and at events. Also, they are easy to clean and keep my feet safe if I were to spill or drop anything hot.” Leigh throws her OOcloogs in the washing machine regularly with her work clothes to keep them fresh and odor-free for the next service.
Active OOcrew Member
When Leigh is not cooking in the OOcloog, she is recovering in OOahh slides. Leigh is very active outside of her career and strives to always be moving. Her priority is to take care of her body so that she can lift her heavy equipment comfortably and remain self-sufficient. You can find her hiking, swimming laps, jumping rope, and lifting weights at the gym. Leigh is also a member of the #theOOcrew, the ambassador program for OOFOS. “I joined the OOcrew because OOFOS truly changed my life. For more than 12 months in my early 20s, I could not walk without serious pain. Now, after years of wearing these actually supportive shoes, I am pain-free. I tell EVERYONE about OOFOS, and I have never met someone who didn’t say “wow” when I tell them to try mine on!”
Leigh is further advancing her career and is enrolled in a master’s program for Wine and Beverage Management. While she does not anticipate being a private chef forever, she stated, “I never want to leave food. I spend every second thinking about food and I don’t foresee that changing!” OOFOS is ecstatic that Leigh is one of the OOcrew members and will continue to support Leigh as she accomplishes her goals, without foot and joint pain. “I like to take advantage of every chance I have to pivot or grow, and so far it has paid off every time.”