In 2011, Matthew lost his job as Culinary Director at a prominent private school in Virginia Beach, VA. Ten months later, he was still searching for stable employment. Knowing that it was only a matter of time in which he would need to walk away from his home of nearly ten years, he painfully re-homed his three beautiful dogs, put most of his belongings in storage and moved in with his best friend in Virginia Beach. In 2012, he accepted a position as Culinary Director at an assisted living facility in Virginia Beach. Before the year's end, he signed a lease and moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia Beach Town Center. Two months later, he would lose this job as well. Desperate to find work, Matthew literally spent two months trying to convince a local coffee shop owner to hire him, as Matthew hasn't worked for an 'hourly rate' in several years. Finally, Matthew was hired at this coffee shop, as well as at another nearby restaurant. Eight months later, he found it necessary to give up his car, as he no longer could afford the monthly payments. Matthew knew that he would have to figure out a way to create his own source of income. While at the coffee shop, Matthew met several people who exposed him to social media marketing. Matthew used this new-found power to create his own 'gravity', and draw people toward him. He would use social media to post pictures and descriptions of his fresh baked goods at the coffee shop. People began to respond to his posts and flock to the coffee shop to buy his homemade creations. This was the beginning of "MatthewMay.org". Soon after, Matthew began getting calls to cater local fashion shows, events, and dinner parties. He would rent a car on the weekends when he had a catering event or food shopping to do. He was given permission to host fondue cocktail parties at the coffee shop on Friday nights after it closed. Matthew called these parties "Fundue Fridays"! During these fondue parties, he would give a short cooking demonstration on how to make a cheese fondue. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching cooking classes in his small one-bedroom apartment above the coffee shop. His first class literally had only two people in attendance. Within a years' time, he outgrew his apartment and began teaching his classes in the club house of the building in which he lives.
It wasn't too long after that Matthew found himself without yet another job, as he was let go from the coffee shop as well. He quickly obtained a Food and Beverage Manager position at a nearby hotel. Matthew was learning to focus on the positive, to monitor his thoughts and visualize his future success. This was, and still is his "secret"! He learned not to make plans too far in advance, as he knew all too well that "plans" may not actually happen the way you intend them. He also learned that people and circumstances will rise up against you for no apparent reason, but it is sometimes necessary to go through these hardships to truly be able to understand your potential. It is your reaction to these hardships that creates and molds your future. You must be willing to fight, forgive, work hard, stay focused and follow your passion. In 2013, two of his dogs came back to him and lived their best lives until they passed away in 2018 and 2019. Matthew would adopt another beautiful dog shortly thereafter. In 2015, Matthew began making his own brand of hand crafted sea salt infusions. Today, this salt company is now known as "East Coast Salt Company" and has more than thirty different flavors of sweet, smoked, and savory sea salt blends, sugars and peppers. Currently, he is scheduling his cooking classes six months in advance, has begun to offer private classes for two, private family classes, private bourbon classes, and recently began an internship program where he can continue to teach individuals who have an interest in pursuing a culinary career. Matthew has learned the importance of 'giving back', as he has obligated himself to making yearly donations to several local causes. In 2019, Matthew resigned from his position as General Manager of a corporate dining account inside an investment firm in Norfolk, VA, and he now focuses on his cooking classes and hand crafted salts (www.eastcoastsaltcompany.com). He has come to terms with his losses, and is eternally grateful for having experienced them. For if he had not lost these jobs, his house, some of his belongings, his car, and his dogs; he would not be where he is today. He continues to be thankful, and looks onward, outward and upward! He is excited to see his future unfold, as he thanks God and the universe EVERY DAY.