Dozens of male chefs across Frederick County—the professionals behind the perfectly plated dishes—are fathers working to support their families. Frederick’s Child profiles Brandon Sumblin of Safi Catering and Personal Events to discuss his work and the secret ingredients he brings to fatherhood.
Days before Brandon Sumblin became a dad of two, he noted his favorite part of fatherhood thus far was spending time with his son Liam and seeing his little guy become his own person. The Frederick resident is a huge Marvel and DC Comics super hero fan and his 7-year-old son has also become a devotee.
His son first gravitated to Batman as his favorite crime crusader. Sumblin repainted his son’s bedroom to put together a Batman theme. Liam recently has been focusing on Spider-Man and the two went to watch “No Way Home” in the theater. “To watch him be obsessed with Spider-Man and Batman like I am is really cool,” he says. “You have another little best friend.”
Co-owner of Safi Catering and Personal Events LLC with his wife Tiera, Sumblin also likes to cook with Liam. Biscuits are favorites for the pair to make. Tiera and Liam will also pick berries from a local farm to make fresh jam to go along with the biscuits.
During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the family recorded several Facebook shows called “Cooking with the Sumblins.” “Everybody wanted to see him on the camera more than they wanted to see us because he has a very big personality for 7 years old,” Sumblin says. “You would think that he has been on this earth before. He is so wise to be 7 years old.”
Sumblin has been cooking since he was 6 years old. He was first drawn to the culinary arts by his grandmother, whom he enjoyed watching in the kitchen. “My mom and dad are really good cooks, but I drew more so from my grandmother. I knew I wanted to be a chef ever since I was 8 years old,” he says.
His culinary career has included serving as the executive chef at Serenity Tea Room and Fine Dining for five years and as sous chef at Brewer’s Alley for a year. He founded Safi Catering and Personal Events in 2020 after the pandemic hit the culinary industry hard. The company caters several events such as weddings, but it also offers a pop-up soul dinner on Sundays. Hungry residents can go to their website or Facebook page to place an order and pick up at The Cutting Board in downtown Frederick.
“I really enjoy the people that we meet through our food,” he says. “One thing about my grandmother—she always felt that she may not have a lot of money but she always could feed someone. Getting people’s reaction to the food that my wife and I cook is the best part. Hearing them say, ‘That is the best thing I have ever eaten’ or ‘it takes me back to when my grandmother used to cook’ or their mom used to cook. It is a good feeling for me.” Sumblin has made multiple appearances on The Food Network, including five episodes of “Guy’s Grocery Games” and an episode of “Cooks vs. Cons.”
“I always wanted to have my own cooking show,” he says. “I still want to have my own cooking show possibly one day with my wife.”
The experiences have taught him a lot about his cooking. “I think a lot of people don’t understand with those TV shows (that) the
30 minutes on the clock are very real. To be able to think quickly on your feet, I learned I was really good at being creative.”