We Could Make That is all about the stories of indie food makers who've struck out on a noble cause: to make the world as tasty as humanly possible. In each episode, Andrea Wien digs into their backgrounds, motivations and passions to decode why and how they started their businesses, and the lessons we can each take back to our own kitchens and lives.
Eat Chic Is Reinventing The Nostalgic Peanut Butter Cup (And Crushing It)
“There’s a lot of romanticism in having your own business, and it’s really difficult. My boyfriend would never put himself through what I’ve been putting myself through.” - Lotta Andonian, founder of Eat Chic Chocolates, on entrepreneurship
My guest on the show today is Lotta Andonian, the founder of Eat Chic Chocolates, a company reinventing and perfecting a classic American treat and my favorite candy: the peanut butter cup.
Lotta built up a solid clientele in London that included some wholesale heavyweights, but eventually made the tough decision to re-launch her company stateside. She says it's been more fun to play with flavors in the US where peanut butter cups are second nature as opposed to the UK where she had to beg people to give them a try.
(Sidebar: what is going on Europe?! Peanut butter cups are basically god's gift to humans. Get on board!)
On this show, Lotta and I talk about the decision to move her company across the Atlantic, why pop-ups are a great way to test out a concept and the other differences she spotted in the US/UK markets. She also gives me a crash course on tempering chocolate, some advice for building a social media following fast and the resources that helped her get going.
Lotta is also graciously offering 15% off any Eat Chic order! Head to wecouldmakethat.com/chocolate to peep the show notes and copy the code.
Fawen's Drinkable Soups Are One Of 2017's Biggest Trends
Amanda Bowen and Fabio Fossati are a couple. They do normal coupley things like work out and go on walks together. But a few years back, they took their relationship to the ultimate level. No, not marriage. Entrepreneurship.
On this show, we talk about their drinkable soup company, Fawen, what it's like to go into business with your significant other and how they financed the launch. They also shed some light on the marketing channels that have been most effective for them and how their lives have changed since becoming entrepreneurs.
Full show notes: wecouldmakethat.com/soup
Obviously since you're reading this, you're a smart human who loves food. That's why you should definitely follow on Insta. All the cool kids are doing it: @wecldmakethat
The Most Delicious Gluten-Free Bread Known To Humans
I happen to think that all food businesses are built on love stories - but the story of Sadie Scheffer’s Bread SRSLY takes the cake. Sadie was in grad school on the east coast when her crush moved across the country to SF. Rather than wallow in despair, Sadie dropped out of school and followed him. After a few dates, it became clear that Mr. Right didn’t feel the same and the relationship fizzled out. But Sadie was not deterred. She knew the beau of her dreams was gluten-free, so even though she had no culinary background, she decided to try her hand at wooing him by crafting delicious gluten-free treats.
It worked. The two are now married and Sadie got so good at gluten-free baking that she now owns the GF sourdough company, Bread SRSLY, which happens to make the best damn gluten-free bread I’ve ever had.
Though Sadie says she always knew she’d own her own business, it didn’t come easy to her. In this episode, we talk about why this side hustle took off when some others didn’t, the biggest learning curves she’s come up against since starting the company and how her role has changed six years in.
She also gives me some sourdough starter tips and dishes on what it’s like to have a pet lizard.
Full show notes: wecouldmakethat.com/bread
What The Black Sheep Of Wine Can Teach You About Success
In 2003, at the age of 30, Andre Hueston Mack was the first African American to be named Best Young Sommelier in America. Soon after, he accepted a somm job at The French Laundry before Thomas Keller sent him across the country to open the most anticipated restaurant of the year, Per Se. In 2007 - really just a few years after he jumped into the food and wine world - he left fine dining to launch his own company, Mouton Noir Wines.
Despite his massive success, Andre still calls himself the black sheep of the wine world: "Most people would assume I'm the last person who would know anything about wine. And I like that."
Andre does things differently. He thinks differently, he acts differently. His advice in this episode is some of the best you'll find. His style and approach to work are unique, especially in our age of instant gratification. Even the way he raises his kids (they're homeschooled in NYC) reflects an alternate point of view. Andre's philosophy on life truly reflects someone who's not following the herd, but who is totally crushing it on his own terms.
Full show notes: wecouldmakethat.com/wine
Three Gringos Walk Into A Business...And The Result Is Jalapa Jar
Tommy Byrnes is a Longhorn-turned-Londoner-turned-New Yorker who co-founded a company called Jalapa Jar. Along with his two other co-founders, Steve and Joel, he’s bringing two of my favorite foods - tacos and salsa - to the New York masses.
But Tommy and the crew are doing things a little differently, effectively starting two different businesses at once: a packaged (but fresh) salsa product and a retail storefront that slangs Austin-style breakfast tacos in NYC.
On this show, we talk about how opening a physical location differs from a consumer packaged good, how the team thinks about prioritization and what it’s like to launch a company on the mean streets of New York.
Full show notes and resources from the show available: wecouldmakethat.com/salsa
Follow us on Instagram @wecldmakethat and on Twitter @AndreaRenee
Dave's Gourmet, The Granddaddy of Ultra-Hot Sauce, Continues to Innovate
The Washington Post: "His condiments and sauces are legendary."
The NY Times: "The hottest culinary experience known to man."
The Wall Street Journal: "The legendary grandaddy of ultra-hot sauces."
He is Dave Hirschkop, the founder of Dave’s Gourmet Fiery Foods and Specialty Foods, which make insanely hot hot sauces, creamy hot sauces and family-friendly pasta sauces.
Over 20 years ago, Dave wasn't trying to start a hot sauce company. He was simply on a mission to create the hottest hot sauce on earth because the drunk kids who kept coming to his burrito joint were annoying AF.
He thought it'd be funny to fry their taste buds and revel in their misery. Except they weren't miserable. They loved every second of it, and soon, Dave was bottling his sauce and slanging it way beyond his restaurant.
When people told him the sauce was "insane," he took it to heart, naming it "Insanity Sauce," and crafting a persona that included wearing a strait-jacket to expos. To date, Dave's is still the only sauce that's been disqualified from The National Fiery Food Show for being TOO hot.
On this show, I took full advantage of Dave's 23 years in the business to grill him on what's changed, the mistakes he sees new entrepreneurs making, and his process of creating products, including an R&D project his team has been working on for six years.
Dave also shared some insight into how he chooses new products and categories to launch, how he's stayed motivated year after year, and the true role of a CEO.
As someone who's proven longevity in the food space, this interview is an incredible resource for founders old and new.
Full show notes: wecouldmakethat.com/dave
One of my new favorites!
It is so refreshing to find this podcast with an engaging host and interesting topics! I discovered it while searching for Joy The Baker on iTunes and was guided to the episode where Joy was the guest. Now I'm hooked! Keep up the good work, lady!
Insight into the wild world of food business
An excellent & fun resource for any food entrepreneur grinding their way to the top or anyone interested in creative small business owners and their stories & shared struggles. Keep 'em coming!
Excellent podcast! Not easy to keep folks interested without visuals, but you succeeded!! Great job, interesting, insightful, entertaining.....an all around enjoyable listen!!