My passion for cooking started at a young age. I loved watching cooking shows, helping my mother in the kitchen and experimenting when she was at work. Growing up in Oakland, CA with a single mother of four that worked hard to support us, we learned how to make due with what we had, and taught me the value of having a strong work ethic. At ten years old I can still remember the joy it gave me to cook dinner for my family for the first time. Taking a Home Economics class in Jr. High, gave me some basic skills, then I gained my first job working at Burger king while I was attending High School,  which is where I began to understand the basic workings of a professional kitchen.  As I was excited and determined to become a Chef and I knew that Burger King was not a career choice for me,  I went across the bridge to San Francisco after graduating from High School, and enrolled  at The California Culinary Academy. I dove right into the culinary program and additionally picked up a full time job at the school as a sous chef feeding students and staff to help pay my tuition.

After two years of hard work and determination, I graduated with an associates degree. I then set my sights on the incredible city of Las Vegas for an internship at The Rio Hotel & Casino to expand my culinary skills. Ten years and one beautiful daughter later, I realized I found myself yearning for something more than the casino restaurant industry. After working in every variation of the casino restaurants, from fine dining steakhouses to the employee dining room, I had hit a plateau.  Through research I began to learn how changing my diet could greatly improve my overall health and well being. I educated myself about the plant based/vegan lifestyle and fell in love with food all over again!

 Suddenly, I was presented with an opportunity to help open and run a vegan restaurant that I just couldn’t pass up and did so for two years. then two juice bars and a meal prep company. The behind the scenes business side was definitely a learning experience. The long hours, trials, errors, emotional ups ‘n’ downs, and pure grit it took to operate a small  business  was not always easy or fun. But the personal development, relationships, satisfaction, and overall joy I received from those experiences were not only invaluable but shaped me into who I am today. 

 One thing I know about being a chef is not only does it fill my heart, but it is my divine gift to the community. I've watched  folks struggle with health problems, listened to people's frustration with all the misinformation on what “healthy” is, causing us to lose connection with something so simple yet important as to what we put in our mouths.  That being said, I developed affordable plant based meals for people looking for an exciting yet satisfying culinary experience that will not only nourish the body but strengthen the mind. 

With fifteen years in the culinary industry and knowledge of plant based cuisine, Down 2 Earth Plant Based Cuisine was born. I started putting on plant based pop ups in my colleagues' restaurants, gaining more and more praise every week. With comments like  “Wow I could eat this everyday!” and “ I can really taste the love in everything you cook!”  I then realized that I needed my own space to bring the Down 2 Earth brand to fruition. 

Down 2 Earth Plant Based Cuisine

Chef Stephen Parker II