Five Years on (pt.1)

A little over Five years ago, I was doing the exact same thing I am doing now.  I was sitting in front of a computer and writing up a business plan for a soup company.  I had left the non-profit world 18 months earlier and after spending a season on a farm in Vermont and then traveling across South America for three months, I was settled in Portland and working as a prep cook in an Italian restaurant. It was my first experience in a kitchen and it was certainly a change from the endless hours I spent crafting campaign plans and funding proposals during my years in the Bay Area sustainable food movement. 

The restaurant industry while sharing a love of exploiting workers with most non-profits is, as you would expect, a different world altogether. There are no check-ins, no weekly facilitated staff meetings, in fact no interactive decision making processes at all. Not once did I see anyone pass a talking stick and I never once heard anyone say "so what I hear you saying is........."  It had been decades since anyone had actually screamed at me, but despite my unlikely surroundings, I managed to learn a lot about food and cooking in a just a few months.

After reading a book about the Soup Peddler, a guy in Austin, Texas who delivered soup by bike, I was inspired to start a similar business in Portland.  I had never run my own business, but I did know that I didn’t want to spend the next ten years working in other people’s kitchens before I set out on my own. 

I had been plotting and planning for several months and it felt as if I could keep putting off actually starting the business indefinitely while I did more research and mulled over my next move.  Further study was needed.  Maybe even a study to determine what other studies could be done. Instead of moving ahead, I could spend endless hours change the colors on my spreadsheet cells. 

My dad (who passed away in august of this year) was visiting me from England and it was he who proved to be the catalyst I so badly needed.  He was on my couch rifling through the Oregonian, when he found a small ad tucked away in the classifieds.

Small space for rent in a commissary in NW Portland

Stay tuned for part two next week