[quote style=”boxed”]In order to do something great, you have to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. It’s the only way.[/quote]
Nick Diakantonis is the founder of Yorganic Chef, a unique delivery service that will offer fresh, organic meals to be delivered to consumers weekly. The company is currently running a campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise capital for a kitchen facility in Los Angeles.
A food industry veteran, Nick boasts over 15 years of experience in family restaurant management, food sales and food production, as well as real estate business development, land acquisition and syndicated land investments. Prior to founding Yorganic Chef, Nick served as the captain hospitality host at Marathon Hotel and Resort in Rodos, Greece. He was the Vice President of business development for JKG Development, where he identified distressed land and negotiated the terms and financing.
Nick also co-owned Piazza Market Restaurant, a boutique Italian restaurant that served specialty wood-fired pizzas and fresh homemade pastas.
What are you working on right now?
I am about to launch my new company Yorganic Chef and we are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. We will deliver fresh, ready-made gourmet meals to your door in our patented, state-of-the-art insulated thermal bags. Our members will choose their meals for the week from an upscale menu that exclusively features local organic meats and produce that is portion-controlled and healthy.
We hope to raise $185,000 in capital to open our first facility in Los Angeles, where a culinary team will prepare and ship meals that are approved by a nutritionist and crafted by our chef. First, the funds will support a lunch menu in Los Angeles, and then Yorganic Chef will grow to include breakfast, dinner, snacks and desserts throughout the United States.
Where did the idea for Yorganic Chef come from?
Yorganic Chef is not just an idea – it’s a lifestyle! I founded Yorganic Chef to take away the stress that many people associate with eating – what will I eat today, is this healthy, how will I learn to cook? – and allow everyone to really enjoy every meal.
How do you make money?
Yorganic Chef is based on a subscription model, and freedom of choice is paramount. Members pay month-to-month and they choose the meals they want, when they want them. 3, 5 and 7-day meal options are available, and members may cancel at anytime.
What does your typical day look like?
I drink my coffee, check my emails, voicemails and consult with a member of the Yorganic Chef team, depending on what I am working on that day (marketing, social media, menu development, etc.) I always squeeze in a workout, whether is going to the gym, taking a hike, run or a long walk. It really clears my head and gives me time to think. Lately, I have been developing recipes, some are simple and other are more complex. I meet with organic food purveyors exploring sources for ingredients for Yorganic Chef. I am a bit of a political junky and I follow several news outlets online.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By both working hard and working smart. I remain dedicated to my vision. As with any idea, passion and follow through are important; money alone cannot be the motivating factor.
I love seeing my ideas come together based on strategy. I have developed a support team that shares and is inspired by the same vision.
Oh…and having lots of patience is important, too!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The people are finally realizing that we need to eat natural, wholesome foods without GMO’s. In my opinion, everything should be organic. This should be a right rather than a privilege, but unfortunately, lack of time, know-how and, in most cases economic conditions, can contribute to bad eating habits. Many people will put the highest quality gasoline in their cars but the lowest quality of food in their bodies, but we are slowly shifting away from that. I am thrilled.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have had a few jobs that I found to be boring and un-challenging. I thrive on being innovative and cutting edge. In order to do something great, you have to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. It’s the only way.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have been a bit less aggressive in past endeavors and put aside a financial safety net that would have been enough to start Yorganic Chef today on my own.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Believe in yourself; believe in what you’re doing, be humble, dedicated and never ever give up. You’re going to run into many hurdles, but you have to rise above them. It comes with the job.
You will also get a lot of criticism – some deserved, some not. Listen to it and take what you can use it to improve and keep marching forward. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I did very well in the food industry, including establishing a pasta company, which I sold. I then pursued commercial real-estate and land acquisitions – until the market began to tumble. In a way, I had to start over. I overcame it by returning to my passion – food – and founding Yorganic Chef.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would take away injustice in education. I would work to find a way for all Americans to have access to safe public schools with effective teachers.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am a very conscientious person. I sometimes see the world from a child’s point of view with hopes that there is more good than evil in our world.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I think Indiegogo is an amazing tool for entrepreneurs to connect with each other. For similar reasons, I am a big fan of Yelp. Restaurateurs can really benefit from reading what people say about other establishments. Everything you want to know about the customer experience is right there! Pinterest is an excellent way of sharing everything from art to recipes to new products. A terrific social media platform.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Down and Out in Paris and London, which is the first full length work by English author George Orwell (1933). The first part is about living on a breadline in Paris and the experience of working in restaurant kitchens. The second part is about adventuring around London as a tramp. I love the book because it talks about food while reminding us that we all have to make a living somehow.
Another book I recently read was Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. It’s a very lighthearted and fun book to read and it gives the reader an inside look at the corporate culture of Zappos a very well run and customers service oriented company…
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@RichBecker, because he is well-read communicator who introduced me to social media; @RichardBranson because he dares to do what other people will never do, and then shares his experiences so they are easier for the next person to try; and @FoodNetwork because they tweet about all things food!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud all the time, mostly at myself! The great thing about laughing that it is therapeutic, no matter what the reason is.
Who is your hero, and why?
My idea of a hero is someone who does great social good because they really want to make a difference and seek no personal gain. My hero is the late Mother Theresa, who devoted her life to helping and changing the world for the better. She worked and lived in the worst places on earth for the greater good of humanity.
I also admire Bill Gates and others like him who have changed the world with their entrepreneurial endeavors and philanthropic work.
Why are you launching Yorganic Chef in Los Angeles?
According to justluxe.com, LA is a trendsetter for food. A recent article on the site said, “No doubt eating out in LA is an event in itself, knowing which A-listers are eating where and where the hottest new chefs are popping up is at the forefront of Tinseltown dining. But for true foodies, knowing which food trends are taking flight is the true reason for spending an evening scouring LA’s menus.” These are the trendsetters we will reach first.
What sparked your interest in organic food?
I have become very interested about where my food comes from and how it was grown. From films like Food Inc. and articles about the danger of GMO’s, I began seeking out more nutrient rich, mouth watering, organic produce and meats that would be healthier. I then started to think about how I could prepare these foods and deliver them directly to people’s home or office.
YorganicChef on Twitter: @YorganicChef
YorganicChef on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yorganic-Chef/172546186180944
YorganicChef on Indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/yorganic-chef