Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sheridan McLaren, owner of Chef Sheridan, located in Sherwood Park, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I operate as a private chef in the greater Edmonton area for those wishing to experience fine dining in the comfort of their own home. I often cook for groups celebrating milestone occasions or are just interested in quality food and service. Guests often say they enjoy the freedom to engage with their guests rather than worrying about the finer details of preparing a meal. We offer 4 & 7 course menus with golden philosophy of hand-picking ingredients, cooking recipes from scratch, and plating with finesse.
Tell us about yourself
I was emersed in the food industry from an early age. My grandmother owned a restaurant in a small rural town in Alberta while living on a large acreage with massive gardens. I was raised around food and recognized its power to bring people together. I was a red seal chef graduate at 19 years old and continued my search for the culinary niche I live in today. I am motivated by the infinite outcomes of cooking and the variety of tasks I encounter as a chef. Keeps things fresh!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My largest accomplishment as a business owner has been creating a sustainable business that continues to grow and evolve. Being a chef/entrepreneur is a lifestyle that I feel I was uniquely designed for.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Finding a healthy balance between creativity and efficiency. Each has its own direct importance towards how any chef/food business operates. However, they often don't mix well. An oxymoron.
You can be the most creative chef, but if you don't operate efficiently and manage your time and resources well, you will fail. Also, if you run your business like a swiss clock and lack creativity and expression in your food, your clients might find your food boring...and you will fail. This balance on a daily basis over the whole broad scheme of your business can be challenging.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Learn a skill and master it, and be a valuable part of the operation you wish to build.
- Be patient and lack entitlement.
- Plan and stay organized. Make lists, and set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Stay positive.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Starting a small business should be an extension of yourself. It may seem like an overwhelming task once you have established what you need to do to get started; however, a massive task can also seem like a lot of little baby steps. Start with small steps forward to gain momentum. Always wrestle with taking on responsibility in your business but not spreading yourself too thin.
Good luck, it's not a race!
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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