Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gabriel Key, Founder and Owner of Foggy Mountain Pasta, located in Chantilly, VA, USA.

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

Foggy Mountain Pasta creates hand-crafted pasta from locally grown, heirloom grains. We also mill our own flour. Our customer is someone who understands that food that is healthy for you and comes from a local, sustainable source is more delicious because it is good for your body, soul, and community.

Tell us about yourself

I started cooking professionally while in college and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work at Il Cibreo in Florence, Italy. This intense immersion in Tuscan and Italian food, wine, and culture is the foundation for my work to this day. I want to make something better, more sustainable for farmers, healthier for the people we are feeding, and of course, delicious. It is all about the grain.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is definitely having survived the last 7 years. The business was relocated, we have had multiple government shutdowns, and we had to figure out how to work during COVID. There has been recognition from Made in VA, Slow Food DC, and the Good Food Awards, which is great, but continuing to be able to mill flour and create artisanal pasta is the real gift.

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

Boundaries. Knowing where they are, when, and how to follow them.

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

To be a successful business owner, you have to respect your passion - the reason why you are starting your business. You have to spend the time thinking through that 'why.' Of course, you need to understand and track your numbers, but you should not be governed by those numbers but by your purpose and passion.

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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