ICYMI: The Secret Ingredient Recap
On Tuesday evening, we had a very candid and informative discussion with some of the most impressive women making their marks on the NYC food scene.
Ally Love, CEO and founder of Love Squad, spoke with Deepti Sharma, founder of FoodtoEat; Manal Kahi, founder of Eat Offbeat; and Laura O'Neill, co-founder of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Selamat Pagi. This amazing panel discussed everything from starting from scratch to building a team. Here are some of the highlights of the night:
1. Deepti on starting a business as a woman with no formal experience: “I think for women, at least in my experience, we forget that we can just ask for help and it's OK.’”
After telling a story about how she was hesitant about approaching someone she'd been wanting to meet, Deepti stressed the importance of having the confidence to just ask the questions you need answered. If you don't know how to do something, ask someone who knows! There's no shame in taking the shot. You'd be surprised at how much people are willing to help.
2. Laura on owning an ice cream company while not having a culinary background: “You can identify something that needs to be spun on its head and become an expert in that.”
Laura, along with her two Van Leeuwen co-founders, has no culinary training. She is also very proud that she is a successful businesswoman with no college degree. She went on to say, "There's a lot of stigma around what you should be in order to do what you want to do and it's bullsh*t." Her advice was to go for it and not let the formalities of education or experience get in the way.
3. Manal on hiring and her company's philosophy when vetting refugee chefs: “As long as you're passionate about food, there's a place for you in our kitchen.”
Manal's company teamed up with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) which connects them with people who have resettled in the New York City area and have a passion for the food industry. Manal and her team don't care about formal training or past experience; they care about how hard someone is willing to work and the enthusiasm they bring to the kitchen. She believes skills can come to anyone if they're zealous and love food.
Thank you to our bosses for being so insightful and inspiring. Thank you to WeWork for giving us such a nice space to hold this event. And finally, thank you to everyone who attended the event - your questions and energy made the conversation what it was. If you couldn't make it to this one, we hope to see you at the next one!