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5 minutes with chef and life coach Shaun Adams

Shaun Adams is a chef and life coach for the ACT-SO program in Columbia.
Shaun Adams is a chef and life coach for the ACT-SO program in Columbia. Submitted

As Black History Month continues, we highlight some amazing African-American contributors in Columbia. Shaun Adams has been a fixture in the community through spearheading the ACT-SO program along with the local chapter of the NAACP. The program focuses on stimulating academic and cultural achievements among African-American high school students.

Adams also found time to have a new take on a food service called Shaun’s Table where he’ll come to your home and cook a meal. Go to www.atshaunstable.com to learn more. From personal experience: The salmon is awesome.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

A. I’m an internationally certified Life Coach who spends much of my time helping students and adults to stop being stuck — in their lives, their schools, their desires, their businesses, their relationships — and start living their very best lives in each moment.

Q. Tell us about your work with ACT-SO and why it’s important to you.

A. ACT-SO (an acronym which stands for Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) is a program for students that is sponsored by the NAACP.

Students can compete in up to three categories, including STEM, entrepreneurship, visual arts, performing arts, and written arts. My job is to identify the most gifted high school students in Columbia and prepare them to compete in the National ACT-SO Olympics, being held this summer in Detroit. At these Olympics, the students will compete nationally for prizes and scholarships up to $5,000.

ACT-SO is important to me because I participated in ACT-SO when I was in high school. Since then, I have worked with ACT-SO in every capacity. Like many of my students, I didn’t know what direction I was going and the program provided a space for me to create, meet people who had similar interests, perfect my craft (which at the time was piano), and — most of all — be myself.

After participating in the program as a high school student, I promised myself that I would return as an adult and create similar experiences for other students. This is now my 10th year running the ACT-SO program, and my third in Columbia. Before moving to South Carolina, I was in charge of ACT-SO New Jersey. Together, my team and I have mentored more than 1,000 students within that 10 year period.

Q. How did you start Shaun’s Kitchen?

A. For me and my family, eating together has always been healing. Almost every night we gather around the dinner table (no phones, no TV), listen to great music, and share in good conversation. Every meal is plated and presented as if they were in a five-star restaurant. One night, my wife said to me, “I wonder what it would be like for other families to experience this in their homes.” That's when we created Shaun's Table. We have a very unique service called Soul Food where we offer a life coaching session before the meal. It’s all done in your own home or environment.

Q. If you could cook for one person, who would it be?

A. One person I'd like to cook for is Oprah Winfrey. She is someone that has brought healing to people all over the world. But just as important as Oprah Winfrey, I want to cook for you, the reader!