Today we chat with Barrie Schwartz, founder of My House, an events company in New Orleans, Louisiana. Schwartz has made a name for herself as an industry disruptor by democratizing chefdom, proving that chefs don’t need restaurants, they simply need an audience. These efforts have garnered her accolades including PCMA’s 20 in their Twenties, Connect Corporate’s 40 Under 40 and Gambit’s 30 Under 30. The COVID 19 pandemic has inspired new challenges as she and her team now work to ensure women and chef of color are represented on the front lines of this fight.
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- Started her love of hospitality in college where she and friend ran a sandwich cafe
- What she loved about hospitality
- Making others happy
- Social aspect
- Entrepreneurial skills to run a business
- Time management
- Goal setting
- Community building
- Living and working by the company values
- How My House became an industry disrupter
- Allowing chefs to bring their voice and story to events
- Making food sexy
- Giving chefs an opportunity to add another revenue stream via catering whether they have a restaurant or not
- Getting past major obstacles
- 2013 they owned a food truck business that was forced to close due to politics
- Pivoted to start a food hall
- Learned that being pushed to a wall forced resilience, creativity and innovation
- Working in New Orleans
- Equally creative, entrepreneurial, and cultural
- Equally old school and present roadblocks for entrepreneurs
- Initiatives during Covid
- Providing chefs with other economic opportunities while restaurants are closed via small events
- Pushing female chefs and chefs of color to the forefront of community work
- Diverse mix of chefs feeding keyworkers in the community
- Rethinking the business model
- How can the business model accommodate smaller events?
- Could postponed events maintain their budget but happen on a smaller scale?
- Covid gives us time to pause and reflect
- What aspects of the business do we want to keep doing?
- Continue to bring different chefs together
- Continue to introduce people to food they may not have tried before
- What are the mechanics of keeping these aspects in a post-covid world?
- Allowing the team to rest and pause is also important
- Dealing with fear during the crisis
- Prioritizing self-care
- Somedays more resilient than others
- Not allowing fear to dictate the next moves of the business
- Not wanting to rush into things because of fear
- Gentle, slow approach to rebuilding
- Secrets to success
- Being adaptable to feedback and evolving the business idea over time
- You can’t over-communicate too much
- Communicate the “why”, not just the “how” and “what”
- Understanding your weaknesses and asking for help
- Pitfalls to avoid