Today we’d like to introduce you to Casey Easton.
Casey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was a personal chef, so that was my culinary background. I always thought Boulder lacked a middle ground between chefs in kitchens and food consumers, and that if the general public wanted to learn anything about food, there was really no place to go. So, I developed the idea, visited schools across the country to gather what I thought would be good ideas for my area, wrote a business plan (everyone should!), and worked out the kinks for a few years before finally signing a lease and opening on Pearl street in 2015. Since then, we have bee non-stop growth, it’s been exciting and difficult and a rollercoaster to say the least, but a so far, a successful one. Our kid’s program is large, we do, many team building events weekly and our public classes are popular for a different date night.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh no. Struggles getting open involved the city not grasping the concept, which leads me to 13 months of paying rent without being open. It was not a pleasant time. On a personal side, my then husband and I split up the first month I was open. The first year is a blur of trying to do every part of the business (and we were busy), teaching classes, booking events, cleaning the place, doing all of the laundries, trying to time find to grow the business and work on it rather than in. All while moving and going through a divorce and being present for my kids. I’d say a little bit of hell, and I didn’t have much time to enjoy what I worked so hard to create, and wondered if I had done the right thing! After that, things smoothed out and the biggest struggle these days is trying to see what’s next, keeping on trend and keeping Food Lab up to standards and expectations of the community.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We host recreational cooking classes for the community and beyond. We do a ton of team building events, which is so great since the cooking is typically an even playing field for people. We have an event called the Flatiron Chef where the teams all get a secret basket and must cook against each other. I love this one because the groups are so nervous at first and collaboratively wind up putting out beautiful food. We have a large kids program, which I love, cooking is a life skill that has all but disappeared or become glorified in the past couple of decades, Not much in between! All kids should know how to cook, it makes them eat better as well. Our public classes are for anyone to join, jump in solo and meet people, come for a date night, etc. They are fun and a different sort of night out.
I think what I am most proud of is how the group of people that work for me has come together. I have such an amazing team and I could not do any of this without them. It makes me proud to watch them fall in love with the company and learn and thrive and pass that along to our guests.
I think the concept alone sets us apart from others, but that being said, we have to make sure people understand what we do in here, so I always tell the staff it’s up to them to create the experience for our guests. They are the pilots. Also, being an experiential event sets us aside from others.
What were you like growing up?
Ha. Outgoing, Motivated. I remember when I was about 12, I had a bake sale and organized the whole thing and had my two friends work for me, but I “paid” them and took the bulk of the profit. Always hustling! I grew up in suburban Phoenix, not much to do there but play in the dirt and be hot. I danced and did some acting. And left the moment I could.
- classes average $79- $85 pp
- Address: 1825 Pearl Street Boulder, CO 80302 Unit A
- Website: www.foodlabboulder.com
- Phone: 3039538364
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: foodlabboulder
- Facebook: foodlabboulder
Mike Thurk, Timmy D’Antonio