Over the last decade, Jamie Ashworth has brought her cutting-edge cuisine to the Boston-area. Having trained at some of the most respected culinary institutions in the world including the Culinary Institute of America, Jamie has gained the respect of some of the most prominent food critics. Recognized for her outstanding attention to detail and unique flavor palette, she continues to remain one step ahead of the competition. When she is not in the kitchen, Jamie also serves as a food and beverage consultant for several local eateries.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Like many other chefs, I grew up in a family that loved to cook. Being in the kitchen was our way of spending time together and preparing food was often a full day process. Neither of my parents were professional chefs but both of them love to experiment with new flavors. My siblings took interest in food, but I was the only one who really saw it as a full time career. After graduating high school I was accepted into culinary school and everything progressed from there.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Any professional chef will tell you that our days are very long. I am often on my feet for twelve hours or more so I need to use my time efficiently. I currently offer private catering services, so I travel around the Boston-area a lot. My team and I normally spend time the night before prepping the kitchen and doing whatever we can well ahead of time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I work alongside a really talented group of professional chefs. We are constantly making changes to our menu, but I will usually run my ideas by them first. I want to make sure that everyone is comfortable preparing the dishes and they can execute them to the best of their abilities.
What’s one trend that excites you?
At home restaurant experiences. While my future goal is to open up my own restaurant, I love the intimacy that comes with private dining. I enjoy preparing specialized menus for couples or families. I think the pandemic really deterred individuals from indoor dining but it also gave me an opportunity to experiment with new dishes and flavors.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Feedback. While I am a professional and have been in the business for over ten years now, it’s important that I never stop learning. I am big on experimentation but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every dish will be a winner. I take criticism seriously and I strive to be better every day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to not be so afraid to try new things. When I first started cooking I thought that there was a right and wrong way to do everything. In reality, it’s whatever works best for you. Learn the fundamentals, but don’t be scared to think outside the box.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
While virtual cooking classes have most definitely grown in popularity, nothing compares to an in person session. I understand the pandemic really took a toll on things, but I suggest that anyone looking to enhance their skills, try looking for an in-person class. It can be really hard to examine the quality of the dish and really perfect your skills if you aren’t in the same room.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I try to give myself and my team positive reinforcements throughout the day. The restaurant industry is highly competitive and one off day can really mess with your confidence for the rest of the week. Therefore, my team and I really try to lift each other up as best we can.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Currently word of mouth referrals are our number one strategy. We have a lot of regular customers who recommend us to their family and friends. We have also increased our social media presence and provide regular updates of our offerings online.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have experienced a lot of ups and downs throughout my career; however, I always tell myself that the only thing that matters is that you learn from your mistakes.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think an app to help chefs and restaurant owners locate quality ingredients would be really beneficial. Sometimes if you are new to an area it can be hard to know where to get specific items.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought some expensive truffles that I have incorporated into a variety of recipes the past week. There is nothing better than purchasing fresh, quality ingredients.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Given our very busy schedule the software we use the most is Hootsuite. It allows us to manage our social media platforms in one place.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith, it provides great insight into how one can become more resilient on their own.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” – Alan Alda
- Never be afraid to experiment
- Use positive reinforcements
- Keep learning and try new things
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.