Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food service but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Samantha Cruz, Owner of Sage and Cinnamon, located in Binghamton, NY, USA.

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

My business Sage and Cinnamon is a personal chef service. Being a personal chef gives me the flexibility to offer so many different services like meal prep, in-home dining experiences, dinner parties, catering, specialty desserts, and even teaching cooking classes for all ages.

My customers are anyone that is busy and needs help preparing meals or needs meals prepared for their specific type of diet and lifestyle (medical conditions, food allergies, vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free). If you want an intimate and completely personalized experience for date night, birthdays, celebrations, bachelor or bachelorette parties, or friends get together, my services are perfect for you.

If you do have a food allergy or live a vegan or gluten-free lifestyle, finding desserts and baked goods can be really difficult. As a trained health-supportive chef, I am able to make a variety of desserts and baked goods to fit what you are looking for.

Tell us about yourself

Cooking and baking have always been a passion of mine, but it wasn't until COVID hit and understanding how important our health is that I started to consider making a career out of it. I love the science of cooking and the challenge of making delicious vegan or vegetarian food. In 2020 I started the Health Supportive Culinary Arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education at the NYC campus. This program incorporated traditional techniques and cooking and taught me how to make these traditional recipes in a healthier way to appeal to a more diverse culinary experience. Seeing how many more people are trying plant-based diets and how many people suffer from food allergies motivates me to make delicious and nutrient-dense meals that everyone can enjoy.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would say my biggest accomplishment is taking the risk of this journey to be a personal chef and continuing to have my work be something I am passionate about. I worked in retail management for almost a decade, so to make such a big change was terrifying, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to do what I love.

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

In my opinion, one of the hardest challenges is having the self-confidence to take on all the roles of a business. Being comfortable with making all the decisions and knowing what you have to offer is something that is a work in progress.

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

  1. Be patient and kind with yourself. Starting anything new is challenging, and you won't have all the answers right away. It's ok to learn as you go and understand all good things take some time.
  2. Don't limit yourself to what you think you should do. Thinking outside of the box and connecting with people that might not be directly related to your field can still be beneficial to growing your business. Just starting conversations is a great way for people to get to know you and what you offer.
  3. Set realistic expectations for yourself. It is so easy to get caught up in the vision of what you want yourself or your business to be like, but you don't go from an idea to a successful and booming business overnight. Make small goals each day for yourself and allow yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.