Roosevelt also known as Roze Traore is 22 year old model from New York City. Not only is he an amazing model, but an outstanding chef as well. Cleverly combining his two passions, Roze mixes business and pleasure by creating private culinary events for top names in the fashion industry.
Starting his modelling journey in South Africa where he was first signed, Roze then returned back to New York where he furthered his work, and last year decided London was the place to be. Without looking back, he packed up his bags and arrived in England, signed with Elite Models London and hasn’t stopped working since.
As well as his modelling career taking off, his culinary skills are being highly recognised by some biggest names in the industry, Having recently worked at some of the most amazing Hotels in the world including, The Mandarin and The W hotel.
His dream come true would be to model with Naomi Campbell or Grace Jones, as well as obviously cooking them some fancy food! We say dream big Roze, because at the rate you're going, this could just be around the corner.
Instant Analogue by Cecilie Harris with special thanks to Impossible.
Why don’t you start by introducing yourself.
My name is Roze, I’m 22 years old and I’m from New York. I am a personal chef, I do private events for people in the fashion industry, and that’s what I want to continue pursuing.
Where did the name come from? It’s a beautiful name.
It started off from Roosevelt actually, and it was too long of a name for me to always introduce to people so I just cut it down to Roze.
I like it you have my approval.
Thank you. I asked my mum too, she said its alright haha.
So let's talk about your modelling first.
In the beginning, I received feedback from a lot of people saying I should model, but I never took initiative. It took a couple of years after I have graduated, and when I moved to New York I got a feel of what the fashion industry is about.The first agency who signed me was in South Africa, and I was there for 6 months. I got back to New York, got signed with an agency and started doing a little work here and there, and just woke up one day and wanted to come to London and then the next thing I know got signed with Elite and since then, which was about a year ago, work has been great.
What are the things you are most proud so far?
I had a lot of fun doing the the Molton Brown campaign, because that was a Christmas campaign and we just had drinks and laughed, but it was a good cast positive energy. Then got the opportunity to do an editorial for Man About Town and that was a lot of fun.
Where does your passion for cooking come from?
I grew up in a family where cooking has always been a passion, everyone likes to cook. I always have good dinner served, but for me I wanted to go more in depth with it, I was drawn to explore the techniques. I was the first one in my family to actually persue it as a career and I went to study in Le Cordon Bleu and was there for about three years. It’s a culinary school based in Paris, however I went to the one in Portland, Oregon.
What have you been doing with your cooking after?
After graduating I wanted to work with the best chefs in the best restaurants. I searched for top chefs in Washington DC and I ended up being a chef for Eric Ziebold who was the top chef for the Mandarin Hotel. It was one of my best experiences. I then moved to another good chef for about a year or two and then skipped to the W Hotel, and I've just been pushing forward as far as top companies and top chefs because I love that environment and I love connecting with people. I built so much knowledge as far as the culinary industry so I wanted to do my own thing, and that's when I got my thing to do a private event for Mens Health and GQ in South Africa, and it just went up hill from there. I began getting interview from different companies. Next thing I know I did food network, and everything started to escalate. When I felt I was safer on that side, I was like "ok I'm gonna give modelling a try" and that's when I started modelling, which I am focusing on a lot these days.
But you kept doing your cooking?
Yeah I did.
How do you find combining being a private chef with modelling?
Yeah I found out like, who doesn't want to eat! When I would book a job and it's a big company I always like to figure out who I can do a private event with. My favourite would be to get to that point where I'm on a shoot and I'm cooking for everyone. I've found that with modelling it's a waiting game. You can’t rush something. Patience is another thing that I have learned in the past years.
It's good to have passions!
For me it's a privilege to be able to introduce one region to another region or one type or technique to another and just have people try different things.
What is your favourite type of food?
Every time I want to cook it has to be either Asian technique or hispanic. It’s something about their culture, the rich of herbs and spice, aromatics - it’s just something that clicks. Although one of my favourite dishes is sauteed mushrooms, preserved lemons, walnut and seared seabass with chiffonade basil and that's just one of my simple main dishes right there.
Sounds very healthy!
It is… and on the other side there is cream sweetcorn with yuzu juice, and with sauteed lobster tail.
When it comes to personal chef, what sort of audience or events do you do?
I really try to make everything personal with the client. I would make them wonder who made the food, who is that person? It feels good when the client knows that the chef has put work and passion into it. Normally private events would be a party of 10-20 people, but when there is a bigger audience, I’ll do my best to make it work. It's also lovely to do couple events, like a romantic anniversary dinner. It’s so personal and intimate, and you get to contribute to someone’s special moments.
So anyone if you are reading this interview, if you're planning a romantic dinner - this is your guy.
If you wanna gain some points I'll be there! haha
What else can we ask you Roze...
As far as modelling goes at some point during my career I definitely want to work with Naomi campbell or Grace Jones.
Haha! You just want to get that down there don't you.
Yes! And then I'll cook them some food. I really admire what they have put into the industry. I definitely love me some Grace Jones. Haha.
And I'm sure they'd love you cooking for them!
Besides that I want to keep on pushing, and I feel London is the right market for me.
How can people get in touch with you to book you to cook at events?
My email is email@example.com and all my social media is rozewashere. So if you want to see what I do on daily basis as far as my favourite markets I go to, shoots I've done or new dishes I'm creating, instagram is definitely a good place to go.
Thanks! We can't wait for you to come back and cook for us.
Interview by Cecilie Harris.
Words by Clio Cooper.