Chef Ashley is a private chef and caterer, her specialty consists of comfort food with an elegant twist. Ashley Christmas is a Baltimorean and a graduate of the University of MD Eastern Shore (UMES) with a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management and a minor in Culinary Arts. She honed her culinary skills through her classes and was able to perfect her craft. She has worked at restaurants and senior living facilities while catering during her spare time. Chef Ashley now owns her own catering company and prepares meals for small groups and intimate settings. Read our interview with the lovely Ashley below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I have always loved cooking, so when a former catering venture was on hiatus it was only natural for me to go out on my own.
Tell us about your business.
My business is essentially a private chef and small catering service I provide. It’s for intimate private parties, dinners, and small corporate events.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I am currently running a promotion for a private dinner for 4 for $350.00.
- I have been awarded Thumbtack Pro 2016 and 2017
- I have been featured on a local news station for food demonstrations
- I won The Black Box Challenge at Taste Baltimore 2 in 2016
Where is your business based?
My business is based in Baltimore, but I will travel up to 30 miles.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first step I took was examining the market for the service I wanted to provide and seeing what the competition had. I did this to ensure that I would be delivering a superior service/product. After that, I created a website and social media pages. Lastly, I hosted a 5 course dinner showcase and my business took off from there.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The most effective way of raising awareness about my business and getting new customers was social media and thumbtack. I would cook something and post pictures of it and people loved it. I used thumbtack by outbidding my competitors for different catering/private chef jobs.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge has been financial backing by far. I am currently “self-financed”.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I am working on these challenges constantly.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I think about the bigger picture and just continue to move forward.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I focus on new ways to use fresh ingredients, I cater to all diets, and my information is very easily accessed.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I have received lately was “don’t go spend 8 hours building someone else’s company and don’t do the same for your own company.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Advice I would give to other entrepreneurs is to stick to their dreams and don’t let anyone or anything deter them from it!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
My favorite business tool or resource is Thumbtack and Vistaprint.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
A good article I read recently was “Top 10 Things We Loved at This Year’s Emporium” – Baltimore Magazine.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I currently am learning about restaurant ownership.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal for the next few months is to expand my business through other restaurants while building to have my own by this time next year.
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