Jobs & Career : Chef Terry Ann Davidson rises above the odds
At 26 years old, Terry Ann Davidson is the proud owner and operator of two restaurants called Chef Terry Restaurant and Catering Services (CTRCS). But just a year ago, she was a single mother struggling to make ends meet.
"I was facing a very down time in my life where I hit rock bottom. Life hit me hard. I became a single mom which I never dreamt of being. I said I need to do something with my life," Davidson shared with THE STAR at the launch of PAN 2017 yesterday in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew.
"My daughter saw me crying one day and said to me, 'Mommy, you know you're gonna make it in life. God told me to tell you that,'" the St Ann native shared.
That prophetic conversation with her daughter occurred a week before PAN 2016, formerly known as the CB Pan Chicken Championship. Davidson's mother attained some PAN tickets and encouraged her to enter, which she did, though she did not expect to win.
"Even when I was coming to the competition, people were cancelling on me. The vehicle bruck down on the road to Portland. It was hard, but God said, 'You deserve it, because you're fighting," she recalled.
Davidson was crowned the 2016 PAN champion in a competition that seeks to identify the best pan chicken vendors across the island. He prizes included $400,000 in cash and a business development grant worth $350,000.
The Ocho Rios High School past student decided to invest her winnings into a business. Given her love for cooking, she opted to become a restaurateur. Today, she has one branch in Linstead, St Catherine, and another in Faith's Pen, St Ann, and employs a staff of ten.
Davidson is no stranger to the cooking business as she has been helping her mother, who is now her manager, to cook and sell from as far back as she can remember.
"I am a professional chef now, but before, I used to go out with mommy from me eye deh a me knee. She used to jerk at Grand Market and any other events, so it's in the family, it's in my blood. I love to experiment with chicken," she said.
This is only the start, as she plans to open two more branches - one in Kingston and another in Montego Bay, St James.
For other young women thinking of following a similar path, Davidson advised that they should not shy away.
"You can do it. Do not be afraid. It's best you try, and don't sit back and say it's a male field. It's great after you get into it," she advised.