Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrea Drew, Founder of Culinary Dietetics, located in Greensboro, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the founder of Culinary Dietetics. I provide educational resources for culinary techniques for weight loss. My business is in the beginning stages right now, but I’m excited to roll out a self-guided course on cooking for weight loss, as well as cookbooks and a few other surprises up my sleeve.
My customers are people who are tired of dieting. Weight loss is not as hard as we think it is; what makes it hard is obtaining knowledge, ability, and, finally, accountability. My goal is for Culinary Dietetics to walk you through each of these steps so that you never have to go on a diet again. You’ll know what a Dietitian knows and be able to cook like a Chef in order to reach your weight loss goals.
I publish educational articles on the physiological processes that certain foods have on our bodies and the best way to prepare these foods for optimal nutrition that will, by default, lead to weight loss. Culinary Dietetics also has an online community on Facebook to receive even more free resources, such as recipes, grocery store tours, trainings, and of course – to help provide accountability for these lifestyle changes.
Tell us about yourself
I went to Culinary School right out of high school because I honestly just loved food and wanted to be the best cook I could be. I had tossed around the idea of going into the medical field but decided to follow my passion for food instead.
While I loved culinary school, I quickly realized that I didn’t want to be a professional Chef. I knew that I wanted to have a family someday, and a Chef works all the hours that the rest of the world doesn’t. Not exactly the best family-life arrangement. I spoke with my Chef advisor, discussing how I originally considered the medical field. That’s when she suggested I become a Dietitian. I would like to say that this was when the epiphany happened; the light bulb went off…but no. My next question to her was, “What the heck is a Dietitian?” Cue revelation. Fast forward a bit, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, quickly followed by a Master of Science in Dietetics, as well as completion of my dietetic internship and exam. Finally, earning me the credentials of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
I went right into the conventional RDN work life and started working in various long-term care facilities. While I loved being a Dietitian, I didn’t feel like I was using my entire skillset or making that much of a difference. So I decided to carve out my own path. I started learning everything I could about entrepreneurialism. I created the brand Culinary Dietetics to combine my two simple loves: cooking food and being a Dietitian. I decided to focus on weight loss as this is a topic that is so convoluted when it’s actually quite straightforward once you understand it. Since then, hearing the testimonials of people that have made lifestyle changes based on my teachings – solidifies my knowledge that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.
However, it’s not easy work. Culinary Dietetics is currently just my side biz; I have a full-time RDN job that gets most of my attention and time. The thing that keeps me going that provides the motivation to stay up late or wake up in the wee hours of the morning is what I had once dreamed of, which is now a reality – my daughter.
I pray every day for her health and happiness. I know that my business will one day help provide a life for her to keep maintaining those two things while allowing me to be more present in her life. Everything I do, I do for my family.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It may sound silly, but my biggest accomplishment thus far as a business– is that I started it! I am quite a perfectionist, so I was trying to learn absolutely everything before taking the plunge, and that’s my biggest regret. That I waited so long to start, it was a scary day, the day that I announced to the world that I had decided to enter entrepreneurship and create a business called Culinary Dietetics. While I have pivoted in my biz a few times, I’m happy with where it is at and projected to keep going!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are many hardships of being a business owner, but I’d say one of the biggest is definitely perseverance. In my current business structure, and like so many other small businesses – you have to put the bulk of the work upfront with little to no payoff, usually for quite some time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. But I remember my dream and tell myself, “it’s not if it happens; it’s when,” and I keep my head down and plow through the work. I know this will all be worth it someday soon.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just start! There is nothing wrong with learning as you go and pivoting in your business as you discover what is working and what’s not. Trust me, I speak from experience. It’s your business; run it the way you want to. The only thing you can do wrong is not to start it in the first place.
- Don’t try to do it all. If you try to do it all, you’ll have a lot of low-quality work that will get you nowhere. Prioritize a list of all the things you want to accomplish within your business and master one at a time. It’s this simple formula that will lead to sustained success.
- Have a strong why. As I said, business is hard. It’s very hard. Without an intense motivating factor, you are likely to let the dream go. Fully understanding the “why you are doing this,” as well as a constant reminder of it, will help make your business a reality.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind. I personally do this by having a good ol’ vision board at my desk at home. It’s in plain sight, where I have pictures of my daughter and business goals written out. I also have a picture of these goals set as my home screen on my cell phone. In this way, I never forget why I am doing the work that I am, and it keeps me excited to keep on going.
Where can people find you and your business?
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