I haven’t really talked much about My Healthy Chef on the blog and I’m sure some of you probably think it’s a weird name for a blog so I’d like to take the time to give a little background information on My Healthy Chef.
2011 was kind of a rocky year for me. I was working at a large law firm and going to school to be a paralegal but I had zero passion for any of it. I knew that I loved cooking and eating as well as nutrition and working out and wished that I could do something along those line as a career. But what? I toyed with the idea of opening my own restaurant but that didn’t really appeal to me.
Two weeks after I made the switch to a vegan diet I attended the annual Vegetarian Chili Cook-off that takes place in Austin every year. Several of the chili competitors were promoting some kind of business and one woman had business cards on her table. I picked one up and read, “The Passionate Vegan Personal Chef Service.” I had no idea what a personal chef was but I was interested in anything that had to do with being vegan, so I stuck the card in my purse and made a note to check out her website when I got home.
As soon as I visited her site and learned about her business I knew that’s what I wanted to do! A personal chef is someone who prepares meals for people (families, couples, individuals), usually on a weekly basis. They cook the food in their client’s home, package and label it, and leave heating instructions for each dish so the client has a weeks worth of food to heat up and eat at their leisure. They don’t have to plan, shop, cook, or clean – just heat and eat!
Even though I was immediately in love with the idea I didn’t tell anyone about it for a while. I wanted time to site and think about it on my own and kind of give myself time to change my mind if I wanted. I visited lots of other personal chef websites in the mean time to become more familiar with it.
Finally in January 2012 I started telling people that’s what I wanted to do. I researched it a bit more and found out that there is a personal chef training program that I could participate it. With the support of my family, Ross, and my best friend, I took the plunge and registered the name My Healthy Chef as a personal chef business in Austin, bought the domain name, purchased the training materials, and enlisted the services of a friend to design a logo, website, and business cards.
I had dreams of building up a big enough client base by the end of the summer that I could quit my job at the law firm and begin cooking for people full time! I started going to all kinds of networking events and vegan events around town to try and promote my business. My hope was to be able to cook for clients on the weekends and occasionally use some vacation time until I got to the point where I had enough clients to really support me and was able to make it my full time gig.
I did well for a few months, cooking for clients here and there, and then I got nervous and honestly a little lazy. I knew that if I wanted this business to succeed I was going to have to really give it my all. Was I ready to do that? To really get my name out there and promote my business would take a lot of work, and I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to put in all that extra work since I didn’t know that it would work out in the end. What if I didn’t make enough money? Did I really want to have to find my own healthy insurance? What if I did well for a while but then business started to drop off — what then??
I have an absurd amount of debt from student loans ($76,000 from just my bachelor’s degree) so was I really ready to take the leap and quit my full-time job with benefits to follow my dream?
Sadly, the answer is no. I did quit the paralegal program though and I also found another job that got me out of the law firm, but now I’m finding it even harder to follow my dream. Taking time off from my new job isn’t as easy as it was at the law firm, so ever cooking for clients during the week is out of the question. The pay is also significantly better with my new job and the benefits are incredible. This company contributes 10% to my 401K and Ross and all of our future children can be added to my health insurance for free! Right now I just don’t feel like I can walk away from that to start my own business, which honestly makes me sad every time I think about it.
Now that I’m making more money (and throwing most of it at my debt) and have these great benefits, the adult in me feels like I should wait to pursue my dream until the debt is paid off (hopefully just 4-6 years from now). That’s part of the reason that I started this blog. I want a way to be influencing people with regard to healthy food and fitness but still be working my normal day job.
My dream in life is still to be working with food all day long and I think I would really love being a personal chef. I’m not going to ignore that dream and anytime I have the chance to cook for clients on the weekend I will always take it! For now, though, I am going to wait on trying to make it my full time job. It makes me sad to say that but I feel like that’s what’s best for Ross and I as a family.
If you want to learn more about My Healthy Chef personal chef services, check out my website (designed by Jordan Horstman). Click on the picture below and it should take you right to the website. : )
Right now the Sample Menu Choices link takes you to my recipe page here on the blog, but I’m going to have him fix that so it will take you to my RECIpage instead, which you can find here: