Today we have an interview with a very talented chef, Isis. Her home cooking is delicious, and the good news is that you don’t have to wait until Jiashan market is back to give it a try! Check out her website for more information on where to find her culinary creations.
How did Isis Home Cooking get started?
The idea was born some 4 years ago but I did not start the business until last November. I was afraid it would be too much of a challenge. But, at some point, I just wanted to work for myself and do what I love most: cooking! I’ve always been cooking for friends and many of them told me that I should try to sell my products (the foie gras mostly) so I asked myself, ‘Why not try to give it a shot?’
I began by creating a website (www.isis-homecooking.com) and letting my products and services known at the markets (Jiashan market, FYESTA market, ROOMS, etc.)
The main concept is that I go to your place and cook a menu for you. I also teach cooking classes and sell some French traditional delicatessen, all home made.
What is your favorite dish?
I have a lot of favorite dishes (as I love to eat) but here is my top 3: boeuf bourguinion (beef stew in a red wine sauce), duck confit with fries, and grilled sole fish.
What has been your favorite thing about running your own business?
The most enjoyable thing is not working for anyone but yourself, and the fact that my business is also my passion: cooking!
Also, it’s so satisfying when people like your food and the word gets around. I also teach cooking classes, and the teaching part is one of my favorite things, to share the passion of food making.
Have there been any challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?
There are always a lot of challenges when you start a business, even more when you are alone. The very first was to take the decision to ‘jump in’ and do it after more than 3 years of thinking. After that, the biggest challenge is to motivate yourself to do everything (website, advertising, cooking, packaging and so on). To overcome all that, I always have the “man man lai” 慢慢来 Chinese expression in mind. Let’s do all that one at a time. Also, I have an amazing supportive companion who helped me a lot, and gave me advice. I want to thank my friends as well who supported me along the way.
It’s just still the beginning, so the whole thing is still a big challenge, but it’s also very enjoyable.
What is your favorite thing about the Saturday markets?
The community spirit, definitely! It reminds me of small markets in countryside France except it’s with people from all around the world. It’s so exciting to discover new traditions, people, and food. It’s also really interesting to share different working experiences and learn new ways of improvements.
Do you have any special events you would like people to know about?
I teach cooking classes at customers’ places, but I also created a Meetup group to do public cooking classes in a workshop in town. Check the Meetup website for further details and the next meetup (http://www.meetup.com/Shanghai-French-Cuisine-cooking-class-Meetup/).
What is your favorite place or thing to do in Shanghai?
One of my favorite things to do in Shanghai is ride my scooter at night during the hottest hours of summer time. The air is cooler and there are so many lights, it’s kind of magical.