Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cristina Carolan, Owner of Chef Veggie, located in Austin, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Chef Veggie is a plant-based personal chef service that provides meals for busy families in Austin, TX. I am also a soon-to-be cookbook author with my new book, Plant-Based Pacific. My customers want to eat healthier and have unique food you won't find in restaurants. I customize menus according to their preferences, and this makes my service very attractive. Eating and enjoying vegetables becomes easier for the whole family.

Tell us about yourself

I've been a vegetarian for almost 25 years. When I first made the commitment to a compassionate way of eating, there were not a lot of places that had good options. I had to learn how to cook in order to eat a wide variety of foods and meet my protein needs. My father-in-law had a personal chef, and I saw how much she enjoyed cooking and having a flexible schedule. So I started researching how to start the business.

I got some coaching from the American Personal and Private Chef Association and started my service in 2007. I was the only vegetarian personal chef I knew and was often teased by other chefs. Little did they know that this way of eating would go mainstream because there are many more people in this field. I stay motivated by learning new techniques, the latest food trends, and seeing the change I make in the lives of my clients.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Helping children and picky adults commit to a plant-based lifestyle.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Sometimes working alone and having all of the responsibility. Social media/marketing is often a bit overwhelming for me.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make an investment in yourself with the education and resources that will help you.
  2. Know your WHY! (It has to be more than just making $ to be sustainable)
  3. Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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