Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food service but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Luke Peters, Owner of Chef Outta the Weeds, located in Huntington Beach, CA, USA.

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

I create in-home culinary events for the southern California market. I work with private homeowners to create individual culinary experiences. And we also do several different types of events. We typically have coursed dinners for around ten people. I come to the residence, prepare all the food onsite, and serve and explain the food. Education is also a passion of mine so getting to talk to the guests about food is part of the fun and appeal.

I also do culinary educational cooking classes. The great shuffle of jobs across America has provided my currently most popular service, Team-Building classes. We get the team of 8-12 together at a manager's home and all work to get them to prepare a meal together. I also have another side to the business with consulting chefs and restaurant owners, and operators. I optimize systems and operations to maximize profitability. I work directly for the business side and also personally with the chefs. I am an industry-specific coach and mentor to chefs virtually around the world, and in-person, as needed in the southern California area.

Tell us about yourself

I've been a chef for 30 years and always loved education, so the opportunity to work and cook directly with the public has always appealed to me. I'm married with three daughters, and we moved our family to the southern California area almost eight years ago for more opportunities as a chef. I've been a private chef for Hollywood executive producers and billionaire investors in Calabassas and Pasadena. I've worked for large operations like Pelican Hill and even took on a role as one of the directing chefs for Knotts Berry Farms for a few years.

I tried to achieve as much experience so I could shift into my own business that does the food that I want to do for a more captive audience. I also work to help professionals in my industry grow and excel themselves because I want to help my industry that's suffering from labor shortages and higher costs of goods. I've done private in-home dinners for a decade, and I have now transitioned to doing them full-time, along with consulting and coaching chefs.

I just believe in loving what you do, and I'm really trying to help all I can in my industry. I also wanted to help chefs personally, as suicide is a common occurrence among chefs with high stress and substance abuse. I offer free counseling to chefs with seemingly no way out. I'm not a trained counselor, but I've been in the industry for 30 years, so I'm doing what I can to help.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is the fact that I am able to balance my work and personal life better now to give a better version of myself to my customers. I only take on those mentoring clients that are going to do the work of getting better, so I'm more fulfilled and happy choosing my customers. I am able to create fun flavors for cuisine at my discretion instead of memos from any sort of corporate body. One of the reasons why I created my business is so that I have a free range of creativity and passion for cooking and teaching.

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

The concept that sometimes I can't take every client that wants to utilize my coaching services. I only have so much time throughout the week, and if I take too many clients, I can't give them my best self. That, with booking private in-home events, my schedule fills up rather quickly. Like right now, I'm booked out for two months with weekend events, so I have to either turn guests away or recommend someone else to do some type of catering for them. I just want to offer my brand of elegant service. I have to balance that against how much I can personally do while still being an involved parent and husband.

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

  1. Make sure you know your market and what you are trying to sell. If you have a great product and aren't getting it in front of the right people, it's impossible to succeed.
  2. Always be 100% sure of your profit margin and cost of goods before you even sell your first product or service. It's great to want to be affordable and appeal to everyone, but if you truly have something that's great, then you should charge appropriately.
  3. Make sure you have a hobby you do at least weekly. If you're always working, you'll regret it regardless of how much money you make. No amount of money can get your family and loved ones back if you neglect to spend time with them.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I just wanted to say that at the base of my business, I really am attempting to help make my industry better. I want to help those who don't have the time or capability to be properly trained and actually succeed. It shouldn't have to be hard to live a happy life and have a job you love.

Where can people find you and your business?


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