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Chef Jeffrey Morneau | New York | Start Investing!!

As a child I always knew I loved to cook. From the hours I spent helping my mom in the kitchen to my overuse of my Easy Bake Oven, I just knew that I was meant to be in the culinary business. I graduated from both the French Culinary Institute and CUNY York College with my Bachelor’s in Business. As a result of challenging myself and constantly striving to be better, opportunities for event design and event coordination presented themselves along the way. I had to learn how to trust the drive and the early feelings I felt for more and for greatness. That has literally been my guide with each new step; from leaving the workforce to now being able to help various brides with their venue designs. I am thankful that I can now look back and see real results of following my passion, even when it hurt.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?

The catalyst to me starting my company was a former supervisor. Although after graduating from the French Culinary Institute I freelanced and did small catering opportunities alone, I was still working for an employer. One day while working, my unhappiness was no longer ok. I felt pushed by purpose to really risk it all and leave. I knew that I was destined for more. So, I dared myself to believe in myself, even if it was by myself. After my first major wedding a few weeks later and a catering contract with a university in NYC area, I knew I was on to something.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

My biggest hurdle was overcoming my overly critical perspective of my journey; I was such a harsh critic of my work. I did not feel like I was strong enough or knowledgeable to handle some of the task I took on. Many of those very tasks and opportunities were the push I needed to get me where I am today.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

I have been very blessed to have a support system that encourages me in this journey. The one thing entrepreneurial life costs is time. The same time that family and friends want and deserve to have. Often because of the nature of my business, when my friends and family are off- I am on. There are times when it was frustrating for them that while they may want to just hang out with me or go to dinner, I have to work. I make sure to schedule time and make our time special as a result. During the summer, I am infamous for hosting random bi-weekly BBQ’s just because or I have friends come over and try new cocktails recipes. It is a balance and one that is sometimes challenging, but possible.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Faith. Whether I felt confident or not, faith in God, myself, and what HE has given me, has kept me going. Just knowing that it has to work out, it will work our, and many times as the CEO and talent, that I HAD to work it out—gave me the grit to see my success through. Remember, It is not a one-time event; it’s a process.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

That people will treat you how you teach them to; starting with your fee/prices. Don’t devalue your product; it’s a form of not believing in your gift.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

The minute you know that you have found your passion, start investing in it seriously. For some, the investment might mean more schooling. For others, the investment might be quitting your full time job. For others, it may mean a vacation so that you can get clarity. Whatever the investment is, pay the cost; your dreams are waiting on you to step into them.


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