Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cookbook Review: Simply Delicious by Candice Kumai

Pretty Delicious was a book I came across because it was a featured new cookbook at Barnes and Noble. The tag line on the cover alluding to it being about healthy eating made me pick it up. As I sat and glanced through the pages I liked Candice's philosophy of eating whole foods, portion control, lots of fruits and veggies, and her focus of always incorporating foods with benefits. Her recipes are fresh, interesting and exciting. I like that the ingredients and techniques are not something that can not be achieved by the average home cook and she breaks healthy eating down to terms anyone can understand. The liberal use of vegetarian and vegan recipes is also a bonus and appeals to even the most dedicated meat eater. The major con of this book is the horrific and liberal use of what I would consider cheerleader lingo. Names like "brekkie" for breakfast and "skinny-wiches" are almost insulting to the reader and I feel play a little too heavily into Candice used to be model and she is pretty. Less of a focus on that aspect and more on her great ideas would help for future books she is bound to write.
Overall worth buying online for a discount but I am happy I did not pay full price at the store.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Registered my domain name today!

The emotional highs and lows of opening a new business are rather interesting. Last week I was consumed with the terror of burgeoning responsibility and debt. This week I have have voraciously been consuming and and all information I can get my hands on, buying book after book about several different aspects of the business, researched menu planning strategies and today I registered my official domain name! This may not be super exciting to some people but to me it is pretty amazing. 
This past several years I held a string of jobs that either were owned by abusive and miserable people or was just plain bored to tears with my every day existence. Yes, I am learning so much about how to run a successful food business but I want the creativity to be mine. I want a place to channel the passion I have for food into something truly special and unique and it is impossible to do that when you are executing some else's dreams. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have had to learn and grow but I yearn for a place bring my own dreams to fruition. 
Today I can proudly say is mine. Just the excitement of creating this new business gets me out of bed in the morning. I am filled with excitement and there are enough hours in the day to spend researching and planning. As I was reading the Boston Business Journal I saw a quote today that made me laugh. She has been running her own specialty pie company for close to ten years and it said "Someone once told me that 90 percent of running a small business is crisis management and the other 10 percent is fantasizing about not running a small business." I am excited to not be at that point just yet. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Last night I met a former work acquaintance for drinks and appetizers after work. For me to ask a girl to "do something" is a big deal for me because in the past I would have been to scared to try and make new friends. Part of changing my life is facing down those ridiculous fears. She was my contact at a vendor we use at my day job and I always really liked her so when she left I was bummed. She is a chef so I wanted to chat with her last night about my business ideas and she what she thought. We had so much fun. Three hours straight of non stop chatting. I barely ate anything and that says a lot :).
The restaurant she picked was this high end place focusing on organic and local foods. They even go so far as to have farm partnerships which is pretty awesome. We decided to sit in the bar who focuses on all kinds of interesting nibbles and flatbread pizzas. I LOVE pizza, especially when you start putting interesting and new combinations on top of it. The problem is rarely am I impressed with pizza. You would think it would be easy to make but it truly is not. The pizza she picked had chorizo and pickles YUMMY. Mine had smoked salmon, sliced red onion, capers and aioli. I despise capers so for them to make me like it with them on is a feat in and of itself. The pork belly charcuterie was also absolutely divine. Fatty and sumptuous goodness. 
I was excited to see a restaurant like this being so popular. It gives me hope that I can open something similar and I will be successful. My mother saw an article in the Boston Globe yesterday about how Boston is really getting into the food truck scene and that they are sponsoring new initiatives to help people get these types of businesses going here. Maybe Boston is finally going to see a food revolution! It is so exciting. So after chatting with my new friend for so long she told me she thinks my ideas are hugely marketable and that there is a need for a place like this in the city. She also volunteered to go with me on some missions to study local places and see what they are selling and how they are doing it. I trust her opinions and I think it will help me with my menu planning and targeting my audience. I am on my way!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The big application came

I had sent in the mini-application a week or so ago to this non-profit that helps culinary businesses get started. As each day passed I started to think that maybe they were never going to answer me so I was surprised when I got an email from them yesterday with the next step in the process. The lengthy application. As I read it over I started to get scared. This is such a huge undertaking and who the heck is going to want to give me money? My divorce had damaged my credit and I had filled myself with horror stories of banks never wanting to lend to anyone with less than perfect credit. Then the self doubt kicks in and I start to think that nobody will want to buy my food or they will roast me on the internet. That I will fail. The fear is close to paralyzing but I am going to force myself through the fear and continue on. Maybe, I will get halfway and realize I am not ready yet but maybe I will find that I do have good ideas and that I will be successful. I am confident in my ability to understand what people want and in what price range. I know that I understand this business better than most. So my challenge to myself this week is to finish the application and send it back and get a good way into my business plan. I will never have the life I want if I live in a place of fear and self doubt.