SDH 201: Creating a Business Doing What You Love with Kendra Peterson
Where does the love for your business stem from? How has it brought joy to the lives of others? How can your services heal people and bring them together?
For Kendra Peterson, food has always been an element of comfort and love in her life, and with her company Drizzle Kitchen, she aims to provide the same for everyone else. Drizzle Kitchen is a boutique, private chef business that provides healthy and clean, customized meals for families who have food allergies, or special dietary needs. Her clients range from busy families, patients out of surgery, or people with life-threatening allergies. Regardless of the need, she brings to the table yummy, nutritious meals that everyone can enjoy together and make memories from!
The inspiration for her business spans all the way to her childhood when she would watch and help her mom cook Julia Child-inspired recipes, and set up full tablescapes for the holidays. When her mom passed away when she was eight years old, she took the reins in the kitchen, and began reviving her mom’s old recipes and drumming up fun recipes of her own for her and her dad. She got more creative with her cooking when she became a vegetarian in her teens. Her dad wanted to make sure she would continue to get all the nutrients she needed with her dietary change, so he took her to the doctor to discuss healthy and fulfilling eating habits, and bought her some vegetarian cookbooks. It was then that her love for cooking became an obsession, and she started making things like tofu cheese and strawberry soup. She also began cooking healthy meals like hand-rolled pasta in fresh Pomodoro sauce for her friends in high school.
She took her excitement for cooking into college and majored in food science and nutrition. When she graduated she began working for Williams-Sonoma, and opened some stores and hosted cooking classes for them. From the cooking classes, she started getting offers to be a private chef, but that wasn’t a road she wanted to go down initially. However, that didn’t stop the requests from coming in. It took a plea from a family friend who was the mother of seven, with a husband who traveled for work constantly, for Kendra to finally explore the profession. The friend needed help with maintaining well-rounded, nutritious meals for her kids, and Kendra found that she really enjoyed acting as a private chef and building her own meals for families.
She started putting the word out about her services and switched to part-time at Williams-Sonoma to attend the Chopping Block, a cooking school in Chicago. She soaked up all the information from Alinea and Charlie Trotter alums, and with her knowledge, she became even more confident and vocal about her new business.
A pivotal moment in her business was when she catered a birthday party for a board member from the Step Up Women’s Organization. She was so impressed with Kendra’s food that she sent her contact information to everyone in her network. Her recommendation skyrocketed her business and her status and helped her obtain a high-level clientele that really put her on the map. Some of that clientele included Cubs players, and their wives and trainers, as well as Jim Karas Personal Training Studio.
A few years later, she started working with a family who had a son with behavioral issues. The parents had tried therapy and dietary changes but did not have any luck themselves. When Kendra arrived she saw there was a deeper problem amongst them, and knew she needed to help the dynamic of the whole family. She started doing cooking classes with the dad to get him more involved with his wife and kid, and she began making meals that the whole family could enjoy. Through her work with them, she saw how she was able to strengthen and ease their family turmoil, and how food could bring people together. From there she knew she wanted to continue to work with families, and how her work could change lives, not just eating habits.
Tune in and learn more about how Kendra started Drizzle Kitchen, and how she continues to improve people’s lives with some good cooking!
In this episode, you will…
- See the multiple ways your services can help your clientele
- Learn to recognize signs leading you down a career path
- Know how to build an educated and passionate team for your business
- Be able to figure out rates for your service and time
- See how to separate your work and personal time
- Figure out how to deal with the taxes and bills that come along with starting a business
“In high school…my friends would come over after school and I’d make hand-rolled pasta in fresh Pomodoro sauce, and it just became this thing that I loved. And it was fun because my friends were happy and fun, and excited about the food, and I was having fun…and it seemed like a very fun way to enjoy meals and enjoy time with your friends.” –Kendra Peterson
“I was connected with a family whose son had behavioral issues…they wanted me to focus on the boy and what his food needs were…after a few months of myself, and plenty of other therapists, I started doing cooking classes with the dad…I started making meals that the whole family could eat together, and very slowly…the parent’s relationship started getting back together. That was really the first client where [I saw] food can literally change your life…food was literally why they weren’t a family anymore and so being able to bring that back in and see how happy and grateful they were…that will never leave me.” –Kendra Peterson
“I didn’t think that anyone knew how to relate to my business…I didn’t understand how different businesses could overlap, and how really, I needed financial advice…getting advice from people outside of my industry has been very beneficial” – Kendra Peterson