Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Julia Shelley, Owner of French Chef at home, located in San Diego, CA, USA.

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

French Chef at home is a Personal chef and Catering company that travels from San Diego to Orange County, LA, and Temecula. My clients are very diverse, from private individuals to large companies, many San Diegan of course, but also people that are visiting, renting Airbnbs to celebrate a special event, gathering, wedding, work parties, birthdays, any type of celebration, any age and from anywhere.

Tell us about yourself

I am from France; I started my business 5 years ago. To be honest, it was not even planned. Personal Chef wasn’t really a big thing back then; it was only a few in San Diego and around. I’ve always worked in the food world since a very young age. My parent owned a restaurant in Lyon, France, so I grew up in the industry. I worked in many French restaurants in France and San Francisco, moved to San Diego, and thought, I am in my 30s; I need to step up and do what I love and stop working for other people. Let’s call it the American Dream!

I went to see an accountant and explained what I wanted to do, created a Yelp page and a Simple website, and started to get bookings right the way. I didn’t expect this to become a full-time job! I thought it was going to be an extra (on the side weekend gigs) type of work, but it actually became bigger than I thought very quick. It is very easy for me to say I do love what I do, to the extreme! I go to work happy; I get to meet so many different people in different kitchens/Venues each time and create different Menus. It’s passionating and never boring. Once I put my feet in the kitchen, I become a different person; this is my thing, the perfect fit for me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Probably staying alive and remaining open after COVID. Many restaurants closed during that time, and many Chefs started to go private, which meant more competition. It was a challenge to stay open and find new ideas so the business could keep living!

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

One of the hardest things you’ll have to face as a business owner is dealing with the unknowns. Every day there will be new challenges and obstacles to deal with. Business is never predictable, no matter how prepared you are. You never really have a schedule as a business owner; you have to be on 24/7, work crazy hours, weekends, and Holidays.

You never know what next month is going to be; you can have very good months and the next one way slower. Being and staying organized when you get off at midnight after dinner and start at 5 am the next day for breakfast. Yet I do love it is always exciting; I love being challenged.

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

Go for it! Don’t listen to anyone! Everything is possible! There will always be obstacles, don’t her discouraged; surround yourself with people with good energy who believe in you. Learn from your mistakes!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I would like to thank all the people that have supported me, encouraged me, believed in me, my family and friends, and all the regular clients all over San Diego that made my dream possible. I am very fortunate to have them all on my side. Thank you!

Where can people find you and your business?


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