Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food service but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Ward, owner of Harvest to Home Personal Chef Services, LLC., located in Longmont, CO, USA.

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

Harvest to Home PCS caters to intimate private dining experiences in your home, elopements, and micro-weddings and events. Most of my clients are either celebrating special events in their own homes or have rented out one of the many amazing rental homes here in the state. They have a love for hearty, stick-to-your-ribs food (I call it Canadian/American Cuisine). We have a focus on local ingredients, as well as high-quality and sustainable products from other regions. You can't get everything in Colorado!

We love to have fun and make your evening entertaining a piece of cake. From the first email/phone call to the last bite, we are with you every step of the way to ensure your evening is perfect and that you can enjoy your invited guests without worrying about all the preparation, cooking, and cleaning that's involved with parties.

I wanted to bring this service to people because I don't remember how often I saw my mom or grandma in the kitchen talking through walls because they were cooking and cleaning and not really enjoying the company we had over. Life is short, and if I can give back precious moments by being the person who takes on that task for you, that means you have more memories to be made, and they don't involve a dirty kitchen.

Tell us about yourself

I've been cooking since a young age but went to culinary school for my degree in 2002. Just over three years ago, I needed to make a change. It was either start my own business and keep doing what I love or find something new to do and start over. I wasn't quite ready to give up just yet, so I did what every person did and started their own business!

It's been a huge blessing, getting to get up every day and create something truly unique for each of my clients, use my creativity to make fun foods for everyone to eat, and allow people to be truly immersed in their party with the people they care about.

With the pandemic and all that happened, I knew more than ever before that this was the road I was supposed to be on at this particular time. Bringing families and friends together under one roof, making new memories or reminiscing over old ones, with amazing food at the center. What's better than that? It's the perfect motivation!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

To date, definitely navigating and surviving the pandemic as a new business. And it's still challenging. Having to learn to pivot to fit needs based on a strict set of rules for everyone's safety and keep the business afloat. Now it's dealing with the ever-rising costs of gas and food prices (even labor costs for staffing events). I know we're not out of this all just yet, but when we are, those left at the end are stronger for it and have a whole new set of skills to apply to other situations that may come along in the future.

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

Well, it's not your typical 9-5, Monday to Friday job. It's more like 24/7, 365 days a year. In the beginning, at least. Being three years in, I finally feel safe enough to set boundaries up that are a hard line. Not working x days, only taking x amount of parties for the whole year, pre-planning vacations (even a couple in peak season). The first couple of years were definitely all about survival and developing a recognizable brand that could stand on its own two feet. That will never stop, but I can now focus on other areas that need to be better established.

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

  1. Personal time is ESSENTIAL. You cannot run a business successfully if you always work out of an empty cup. People can see your physical and work exhaustion if you're not bringing 100% to the table. I learned the hard way, as I am sure so many others have.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Anything to do with a business cannot be done completely alone. You need the support of those around you to grow, whether friends, family, or networking with other business owners. I've learned so much from others around me and wouldn't be here if it weren't for the support group I created around me.
  3. Work with your strengths and find people to help you with your weaknesses. I hired a CPA and Bookkeeper. I've never been happier. I still know what's going on, but it's one thing not on my plate... If social media is not your strong suit, hire someone who understands your brand to help build it further for you. Focus your energy on what you are the best at so it shines its brightest.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

The saying "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life" (Confucius) is very true. Starting and owning your own business is extremely rewarding on multiple levels. I believe everyone should try and own their own business at least once.

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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