Ariana Feygin is a chef, a successful philanthropist and a motivational speaker who has spoken in front of 11,000 kids.
She’s only 15 years old.
Feygin, a freshman at Minnetonka High School, runs a company called Feygin Group, which she launched after competing on the youth cooking show “MasterChef Junior.” Feygin hopes to use her experience on the show to inspire others.
She uses her passion for cooking to fuel her passion for giving back.
“I really wanted to do something to leverage my passion for cooking as a platform to help other people,” Feygin said. “I really wanted to use what I had gotten from the show and the exposure that I had to do something really good.”
Through the Feygin Group, she puts on private dinners and gives the proceeds to cancer charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The dinners are successful at raising funds because she’s using skills she learned at restaurants like The French Laundry in Napa Valley.
At home, she uses a cooking style called molecular gastronomy, which is the inclusion of science and experimenting with cooking. It focuses on chemically transforming ingredients into a dish. She also incorporates French cuisine into her cooking, making it an exciting dining experience.
It’s all rooted in family
Where does her love for giving back come from? Why does she do it?
“I think both my parents coming from Eastern Europe and (emigrating) here and building a life for themselves … they taught me a lot about how important it is to give back to the community and help others, and if I have this unique power to help other people and inspire them, how important that is.”
Her parents’ total belief in her has allowed her to pursue another one of her hobbies professionally: public speaking. Feygin’s main goal when she gives speeches is to inspire people to follow their dreams.
At the Hy-Vee Exercising Your Character Event, she spoke to 11,000 fourth- and fifth-graders about not letting age be a barrier to their dreams. She estimates she has probably engaged with 30,000 kids across different forums.
“One of the most fulfilling things for me is to be able to show other young people that age is just a number and it shouldn’t define your abilities in that.”
Some advice she has for others trying to pursue their passions is that though there are many opportunities to give up and accept your failure, you cannot give in.
“I can imagine a whole list of things that I would have never been able to accomplish if I hadn’t persevered and not let those failures take me down,” Feygin said. “Because there definitely were a lot of them.”
Feygin continues to persevere. In November, she launched feygingroup.com, her business website, and she is selling a brand-new apron line.
With so much accomplished at such a young age, it’s easy to forget that like any teenager she’s planning her future. What does she have planned?
“In the future, being kind of like the female version of Gordon Ramsay has always been something that gets really exciting for me,” she said. “But then also, I’m really passionate about helping other people. And I really want to continue doing that.”
She added, “I know that whatever I end up doing in the future, 10 years down the line, 20 years down the line, I’m still going to have philanthropy and helping other people and inspiring others at the core of everything that I do.