This is probably going to be the most honest food blog you will ever read! My intention isn’t just to share recipes, but it’s to share with you the process of starting and running Little City Kitchen Co. I have never owned my own business. I have not been classically trained as a chef. I have never done half of the things that I want to accomplish with this company. There will be things that work, many that don’t, and I plan on sharing all of it with you.
Welcome to the first installment of the Little City Kitchen Co. blog. I thought I’d first tell you a little bit about me and how I came to this point…
Definition of a “Foodie”
I have been a “foodie” all my life. What is a foodie, you ask? While the dictionaries have many differing opinions, my mom and I saw a T-shirt that most aptly defined a foodie as “some one who plans dinner when they are still eating lunch”. Yup, that’s me!
My sister says I’m obsessed…and I think she’s probably right. I’m not just interested in tasting new foods – I’m interested in every possible aspect…where it comes from, how it’s grown, how to make it look beautiful, how to make it taste great. In a nutshell, I want to know EVERYTHING about food.
Jill cooking, age 10
I don’t really know if there was a pivotal “moment” in my childhood where I decided to take an interest in food, I just remember that I always loved it. The first meal that I cooked for my family was meatloaf and rice, probably around the age of 10. I mean really, all the other 10 year olds were doing everything they could to stay OUT of the kitchen, yet there I was, flipping through my mom’s Joy of Cooking.
The College Years
And let’s fast forward to college, the lovely University of North Carolina in Wilmington. I was the one cooking elaborate meals out of a dorm room kitchen when everyone else was ordering take-out. My friends had meals consisting of Ramen noodles, Doritos, and pizza in a can (yeah, you guys know what I’m talking about, the kind that comes in a tube like those crescent rolls you bake!).
And yet somehow I had fresh bell peppers, mushrooms, onions crammed into my little fridge – in case I wanted to make an impromptu chicken stir-fry. When you think of smells that commonly float through dorms, trust me, it’s not usually sautéed garlic!
I moved up to Boston, MA and lived in a small apartment in the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. It was just like being in Europe…you visit the butcher for your meat, the farm stand for your produce, the cheese shop for your fresh ricotta, the bakery for your bread (and okay, let’s be honest, I bought a few cannolis too), and the pasta shop for sheets of fresh lasagna noodles. Absolute. Heaven.
My grandmother came to visit me in San Francisco a few years ago and gave me a very specific order to pick the best restaurant in San Francisco for dinner. We went to a place called Jardinière where I ordered their 8-course tasting menu. I can still probably recall 6 of the 8 courses (which I won’t bore you with), but let’s just say that I drooled over and relished every single bite.
The bill came…quite expensive. I offered to contribute but my grandmother said “Jill, I would pay double just to see you eat that meal again. I’ve never seen ANYONE enjoy food so much!”
I could go on and on with more food stories, but I think you get the point. Becoming a foodie was really never a choice for me…it just sort of happened.
Little City Kitchen Company is Born
So we fast-forward to present day. I’ve had this pipedream of starting a cooking company for five years, probably even longer. It’s taken me a while to get here. I had to go through what I imagine is a “normal” process for any new entrepreneur…thoughts, ideas, doubts, research, more doubts, the always-looming question “can I really make a living doing this”???
What made the decision and process so difficult? Well, the short answer is fear. I have had a very successful 10-year career in the hotel industry. I have received many accolades, have built a good reputation within my field, and have been able to lead a more-than-comfortable lifestyle as a result. The logical part of my brain was saying “stay there, it’s safe, you’ve got such a great job, you make good money, how could you think about walking away from all of this?”
It was (is!) super-scary to walk away from that safety in pursuit of something completely unknown, yet potentially fantastic. Not so long ago, I came to a crossroads in my life and decided that I either needed to give this thing a try, or I needed to let it go entirely.
And the Little City Kitchen Co. was born!
So far, I have a general idea of how I want the company to look and grow over the next several years. It’s going to be a busy next two months for me. In the short term, I plan to get much clearer on that vision, finalize my business plan, and accomplish about 30 other tasks that I’ve identified.
Thanks to all my friends and family that have supported me throughout this process. I’m so excited for what the next year will bring, and I hope that you’ll follow me along as I figure all this stuff out!