Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiele-Jael Stanton.
Hi Kiele-Jael, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ll never forget this one Spring day in 2015. It was a Sunday in NYC, and unlike many other 30-something-year-old women who were enjoying mimosas at brunch and window shopping in the Lower East Side or Brooklyn, I was sitting in a lecture about food and healing clad in a white culinary uniform. I was almost finished with my year-long training in health-supportive culinary arts and pondering on my future. For the past year, every Sunday and Monday evening had been dedicated to my training. I was already in a successful 11-year career where I was respected, had a high position in my company, managed a team, and got to be creative 24/7. My career as a handbag designer brought me all over the world and while I loved it, something was nudging me to turn my attention elsewhere. I was deep in brainstorming that day. The questions I asked myself were – what is my mission and how can I help others? What are two things that I think could change people’s lives? The answers were sensuality and nourishment. It was right then that the Sensual Chef was born.
I started my business in the culinary, health, and wellness world because I saw a need for this kind of work. I noticed that there weren’t many businesses that taught holistic healing, self-reliance, and culinary skills all in one. My business came to fruition due to my own past experiences where I focused on root-cause healing, sensuality, and slowing down.
I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Guam. My life in Guam was typical island life: super family-oriented, where I spent many hours cooking with my grandmother in her outdoor kitchen. I moved to Brooklyn, NY from Guam in 2000 right after high school to attend Pratt Institute, a prestigious art and design school. I graduated in 2004 with a communications design degree from Pratt Institute and immediately got a job in the fashion industry designing handbags and accessories.
I worked as a handbag and accessories designer for 15 years. It was a fun, adventurous, lucrative career where I worked relentlessly and hardly ever had time for play. My life revolved around work. I traveled six months out of the year and created new collections constantly. I worked in factories in Asia and Europe, and it was incredible. But I suffered from overwhelm, burnout, and fatigue often; needless to say it was a high-stress environment, and I embodied the hustle lifestyle. My self-care routines were non-existent and my idea of health was skipping breakfast, eating low calorie salads at 2pm, and working on the weekends.
In 2008, everything changed. I suffered from metal poisoning that left me sick and in need of some self-care, self-love, and nourishment prioritization. The metal poisoning left me with rashes and lesions from head to toe, epilective twitching, damage to my nervous system and digestive system, and feeling ill constantly. Doctors had no idea what was wrong and only gave me different steroid prescription medications that suppressed the symptoms but with a whole new list of side effects. After seven months, multiple biopsies, and no answers, I finally discovered the thing that was poisoning me – my braces! Months prior, I decided to get braces to straighten my teeth not knowing that I was allergic to nickel, which made up 15% of the brace system in my mouth. I immediately got them out and decided I needed to try something different. I was feeling limited and agitated that I couldn’t rely on myself to heal, and decided to focus on that.
I got off all prescription medication, learned about healing with food, and within a year, I was 100% better and proud I did it naturally. My inflammation went away, my skin started to glow where I once had lesions, and my digestive and nervous systems were finally healed. I was so thrilled, and I wanted to learn more so I could help others discover this power. I saw the need to help women who suffered from illness, confusion, burnout, stress, and overwhelm.
A few years later, I decided, instead of opting for a basic health coaching or nutrition certification; I got the certification and training I longed for from the Natural Gourmet Institute (currently the Natural Gourmet Center at the Institute for Culinary Education). It was a health-supportive culinary school that educated its students in natural food and nutritional cooking to heal. I then went on to study with an eastern medicine mentor and expanded my education in Traditional Chinese Medicine, focusing on healing food and cooking.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like everything you start from scratch, there’s always a lot of trial and error. My biggest struggle has been developing something nobody has ever heard of and building it into a lifestyle movement. Compared to my handbag design days, I am just as busy, but now I understand how to balance my workload. I’ve worked to find a balance in all the facets of being a business owner. It’s a journey! And it’s important to always have clarity, be focused but grounded, and give yourself patience and grace. I’m in it for the long haul. It’s taken me years of building experience, credibility, and confidence to grow my business and now four years later, I am finally getting recognized and sought out for sensual cooking and sensual wellness. I feel humbled and thrilled I kept going.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I started my career part-time as a chef for women’s wellness retreats while also working part-time in high-end NYC restaurants. I then became a private chef, taught at home cooking classes, and hosted culinary events in NYC. While it was fun cooking for events and teaching classes, I wanted to create a company that focused on educating women for life-long healing and sensual nourishment. This company would be the start of a movement. The objective was and is to teach holistic health from a sensual approach to food, cooking, and living that educates women on how to heal for life and cook with pleasure. In 2018, The Sensual Chef emerged, and Kiele Jael Wellness was created. Through my experience, I saw a need for women to connect to their health through food and cooking in deeper, tangible, meaningful ways.
And now, through my coaching programs and online courses, I have helped hundreds of women improve their relationships with food and become passionate and confident about cooking. They have been able to mitigate symptoms and even heal illnesses and diseases like type 2 diabetes, Hashimoto’s, adenomyosis, PCOS, arthritis, and hormone imbalances. It’s such rewarding work and I feel honored to touch women’s lives in this way. It’s my mission, passion, and purpose in this lifetime.
I think what sets me apart from other culinary and health experts is that I mix together holistic health, wellness practices, deep connection, professional cooking skills, and ancient food wisdom all in one. There’s nobody else doing this kind of work, and I’m really proud to be not just sharing it daily but serving others and watching them heal and transform.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I have had multiple mentors and supporters. My main supporters and cheerleaders have been my husband, Andrew Stanton, and my parents, Gerald and Frances Taitano. I’ve also had multiple business coaches and business partners over the years, my most recent one being Taylor Dixon of Taylor Lou Coaching here in Austin, TX, and my Publicist Lydia Bagarozza. Lastly, I also wouldn’t be doing this work if it weren’t for my clients and customers who have trusted me throughout the years and who I’ve created priceless memories and relationships with. My mission has always been to share and serve others and it’s an honor to do so daily.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.kielejael.com
- Instagram: @_thesensualchef
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/kielejael
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