Elihu Muhammad is Creating a New Culinary Path in DetroitBy Yvelette Stines on July 21st, 2015 /
To become an entrepreneur one must have discipline, vision, drive, and an impeccable work ethic. Elihu Muhammad, the Chef and Owner of Cilantro Bistro has all of these characteristics and more. As a young teenager Muhammad would work with his uncle.
“He had a restaurant so I would go with him to cook at festivals,” he reminisces. Muhammad quickly started and moved his way up in the restaurant business. “I started as a busser at 14 years old, then I worked a barback, and banquet waiter.”
“I was working at the Detroit Yacht Club and that day the cooks called off. The chef, at the time, asked me if I wanted to learn how to make a biscuit. I learned and became more interested in what he was doing,” he says.
Muhammad perfected his skills even more in the kitchen and worked at different companies including large corporate kitchens. The training in the kitchen along with his other skills in the restaurant business gave Muhammad a strong foundation to start his own business. He was at a place of personal and professional expansion and wanted to his create and share his culinary skills in a new way.
“I was working for company after company, and I wasn’t involved the way I wanted to be. I wanted to create my lane in the culinary world and in business in general.” he says. “I told myself I am going to take a chance and just try. It was on a prayer and we will see what happens.”
Cilantro opened in March and the success has been overwhelming in the most exciting way. When you walk into the restaurant expect to find “a European bistro feel mixed with warmth, positive energy, and a relaxing atmosphere. It is a place that you don’t want to leave,” explains Muhammad. He is very grateful and humbled by the fact that some of his customers who have visited from Paris, Holland, and New York mention that Cilantro reminds them of home. As the experience will leave you relaxed and happy, your taste buds will have many options from salads, to smoothies, soups, wraps, and Paninis.
As any business owner Muhammad has had a long journey and many lessons to get to this point. He credits his martial arts background for his philosophy of understanding and knowing that nothing is impossible.
“If you look at something and visualize it, that helps you find your center. Take the time to listen, don’t say anything, just listen to that little voice, that inner energy that God gives you and tell yourself I am going to do it,” he advises. He also reminds us all that feeling of fun that you had as a kid, don’t lose it and don’t be scared.
More words of wisdom for entrepreneurs
1. Visualize what you want and write down the things you want to do. Put it somewhere so you see it daily. “I had a magnet of Cilantro on my refrigerator for about five years and forgot it was there.”
2. Do something extra for yourself. You have to grow and expand. You might work at a company but it doesn’t define who you are. You are you. Don’t forget where you want to be. God gave you two hands and two feet and you have to use them.
3. Try to surround yourself with people you aspire to be like or give you some type of knowledge. Find yourself a mentor, friend, or colleague that has drive. The positive reinforcement is important.
isces. Also cooking with his mom, the experience with his uncle was the