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Community Highlights: Meet Nakia Laubscher of chefate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nakia Laubscher. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
As a kid, I remember loving to spend time in the kitchen with my family. Whether it was making pies with my grandma, pizza with my dad, cookies with my mom, or anything and everything with my grandpa – I found the process of cooking fascinating and a ton of fun! As the years went on, my parents allowed me to experiment in the kitchen and I made dozens of not-so-great dishes but learned so much in each of these ‘failures’. This sparked my interest in food science and trying to figure out where things had gone wrong. 

I moved to Denver to study at Johnson and Wales University where my passion for food science grew. This led me to a career in Research and Development upon graduation. My position as Research Chef allowed me to combine the foundation of food science with the creativity of pastry arts. 

During the spring of 2020, I was working with our Retail team and I was hearing a lot of frustrations from people about their grocery delivery experiences – the produce was of poor quality, illogical substitutions were made when stores were out of stock of specific ingredients, and items were damaged from careless handling. I knew there had to be a better way to provide groceries, one of the most important and personal goods in our lives. Because of my chef background in the food industry and my passion for recipe development, I realized that I could offer a unique service that blended chef expertise and personalization into a joyful grocery delivery experience. 

In August of 2020, I launched chefate. It is a chef-guided grocery delivery service. Our mission is to connect busy people with joyful food. We provide culinary advice for at-home cooks so they can build confidence in their cooking skills. This confidence breeds creativity and more joy in the kitchen. We strive to give our clients back their time so they can enjoy food and pursue their hearts’ passions. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Well, as a small business owner, you wear many, many hats. My food service and R&D background have prepared me well for recipe development and helping clients through their cooking concerns. However, there’s a lot more that goes into running chefate. 

In starting this business, I needed to take time to learn and build my skills in marketing, sales (and how to navigate sales as an introvert), finance and accounting basics, and web development. I love learning new things, so I was excited to learn more in each of these areas. It can feel intimidating to be a beginner at something, but I believe that learning a new skill can also be empowering. 

Stepping out of our comfort zones is exhilarating, makes life more fun, and exposes us to amazing opportunities we could’ve never imagined. With practice, education, and determination, great things can happen and we can accomplish incredible goals! 

As you know, we’re big fans of chefate. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
chefate is chef-guided grocery delivery. Our clients can choose chef-developed recipes from our cookbook to create their shopping lists and add on any other grocery staples desired. The grocery shopping is done by a chef and all groceries are delivered in reusable produce bags and shopping bags. The client does all of the food prep and cooking but if she has any questions along the way, we offer ‘phone a chefpro’ to get direct access to a chef. We also encourage donations with each shop which we drop off at local food pantries. 

Our mission is to connect busy people with joyful food. Our definition of ‘joyful food’ incorporates positivity from three sources – individual, community, and environmental impact. 

Individual food positivity incorporates the principles of Intuitive Eating in banishing any restriction or guilt around food and embracing deep nourishment and satisfaction as we eat. Individual food positivity also includes creating happier experiences in the kitchen by offering guidance from chefs to encourage more confidence and creativity in our clients’ culinary adventures. 

Food positivity in the community is centered around our efforts to combat food insecurity. Everybody should have access to safe, nutritious food and by donating to local food pantries we are doing our small part to help those who are food insecure. Community food positivity is also about celebrating and connecting through our cultural foods. Each of us grows up with recipes unique to our family and when we share those foods, we share a piece of ourselves and our family’s history. Connecting through food creates delicious opportunities to understand how we all experience life uniquely. 

To us, environmental food positivity means respecting our food and protecting where it comes from. By only using reusable produce bags and grocery bags, we aim to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and prevent deforestation by paper bags. Additionally, each of chefate’s recipes link to other recipes for ideas to utilize your leftover ingredients. By minimizing our food waste, we lessen our impact on the environment and show respect and gratitude for our food. 

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Give! When you are preparing to go to a networking meeting, take a few minutes to think of your favorite existing business connections. Do you know a great copywriter? Did you just work with a contractor who did a great job on your home renovation? Do you know someone passionate about photography or event planning? Networking meetings aren’t just about getting your own business out there, but connecting and referring people you believe in. 

My second piece of advice would be to see others as potential collaborators, not competitors. If you work in similar industries, they may offer some services you don’t and vice versa so you could become great referral partners for each other. Even if the two of you have the same offers, you may be able to host an event or promotion together and reach a larger audience. I think that looking at these situations as opportunities to support each other is much more beneficial than attempting to compete and chase a ‘win’. 

Pricing:

  • chefate grocery delivery is the cost of your groceries + 30% chefate fee
  • chefate’s table (online access to chefate recipes, personalized shopping lists, and chef advice) for $20 per month

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Sarah Rodemaker

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