Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food service but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacoby Ponder, Owner of Chef J Ponder LLC., located in Atlanta, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I provide Private and Personal Chef Services. I also off cooking classes and do private Dinners.

Tell us about yourself

A native of Monroe, Georgia, I gained my cooking abilities from a laid back food-loving city life in the South, but the bulk of my culinary skills and aspiration came during my 10-year tenure as a CS (Culinary Specialist) serving proudly in the United States Navy out of Norfolk, Virginia. Being hand selected on a regular basis to prepare meals for high-profile military officers, prestigious military command, and official political functions was enough to confirm the pursuit of a career as a professional chef once my naval commitment came to an end.

After transitioning back into civilian life, I took the initiative to continue my education in culinary arts through the Culinary Institute of Virginia (ECPI University) and have now established my own culinary company, Chef Ponder & Co. - a talented team of choice chefs from the Hampton Roads Virginia and Atlanta areas.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of my biggest accomplishments thus far was successfully launching my cooking class sessions, along with my new cookbook.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things as a business owner was maintaining a sense of consistent motivation to continue to preserve even when things were not so busy.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Write down your ideas on paper, and be sure to develop a plan from that idea.
  2. Ask for help or research things you do not understand or know about, and always well equip yourself with knowledge.
  3. Stay consistent.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am most passionate about teaching while cooking and use my platform to educate others about the health benefits and also harms of some foods. As a teacher at heart, I look for ways to develop others, share my experiences, and bridge gaps in nutritional understanding.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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