We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalia Acevedo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalia, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
Ever since I was young – or, “younger” – I wanted to pursue a career related to the Culinary Arts, but because of several circumstances I ended up studying English Literature. Add to that several moves to 6 different countries plus a family with three young children, let’s just say that all odds were against me to pursue such a passion. However, all the places where we lived were adding more flavor to my life and shaping this dream of becoming a chef. Every culture I had the pleasure of learning from gradually showed up in my family’s dinners. It was when we lived in London that I decided to take the plunge, and eventually graduated as a chef. It was a very difficult decision as I had to attend classes from 8am till 4 pm every day, which meant I had to leave my children on their own when they came back from school. If it hadn’t been for that initial leap, I would never be where I am today.
Please tell us more about your business. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Starting my own catering company has not been an easy road. Whenever and wherever I kicked off, we had to move, and I had to go back to square one. “Duck in the water again,” I would tell myself! Usually, I’ve started cooking for close friends first, then friends of friends, and then let the magic of word-of-mouth take over. Word of mouth is far more valuable than any Superbowl ad, no matter how funny. When I moved to Katy, the story was not different. I started again! Little by little I started to cook for friends I had met in London and Dubai, and so the ball started to roll. I built my company; I designed a web page (with the help of my son and his friend) and secured a helper in the kitchen. What most customers like about our caterings is the quality of our dishes, and the attention we pay to every detail – everything, from the stock bases to the doughs, is, and will always be cooked from scratch in our kitchen. I have learned many lessons, the first is to keep yourself humble by not forgetting your roots and moral values (that would be my wonderful family in Argentina). Second, it is very difficult to please everybody’s taste, so one has to be patient until you find your niche or the niche finds you. Last but not least, it is never too late to find a passion outside your family – it may sound oversimplified, but when you are in the curve of your life, investing your time in what you like to do is what fuels your soul. No matter what the future holds, I feel empowered with all my knowledge, my experience, the loyalty of my customers, and above all, my love for cooking.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend was coming to visit around, we would go shopping and eat out, easy. I love True Food Kitchen for a healthy and light breakfast/lunch. The Heights is one of my favorite spots with many good options. Underbelly in Montrose has amazing cured meats and Asian dishes at affordable prices. Le table is an excellent French option, Kiran for an Indian experience and of course we would go to a local place in Old Katy. No Label Brewery offers fantastic beers, it is surrounded by old silos, and the atmosphere is very relaxed and convenient for social distancing. The cherry on top would be the afternoon drive back home – I think most Texans can agree that the sunsets here are one of a kind and make everyday life feel a tad bit more inspiring!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband and my three children deserve recognition. Without their love and support, I wouldn’t have embarked on this journey. Also, being an expat for 25 years has given me the opportunity of meeting wonderful people around the world, and I’m proud to say I’ve forged many long-lasting friendships. It was these friends, through numerous positive messages, phone calls and group chats, who have encouraged me then and now, and reassure me that I am on the right path with my catering business.