CBNationHealthy CEO

IAM075 – Nutritional Chef Creates Healthy Dishes with a Modern Twist

Podcast Interview with Melissa Eboli AKA Chef Via Melissa

Melissa Eboli AKA Chef Via Melissa is a nutritional chef based out of NY. Her services include event catering, dinner parties, cooking classes, and recipe development. When she's not in the kitchen, she can be seen making guest appearances on Dr. Oz, in addition to being published in the likes of Women's Day, Readers Digest and Huffington post to name a few. Her passion as a chef is to create healthy dishes with a modern twist using the cleanest of ingredients.

Melissa has been currently working on a collaborative effort cookbook about eating for mental wellness. Details TBD but expected release is Fall 2018

  • CEO Chat: Thumbtack
  • CEO Nugget: Be persistent & be adaptive / Don't let external influences stop you from following your passion
  • CEO Defined: In charge of my destiny

Website: http://www.viaskitchen.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chef.Via.Melissa/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chef.via.melissa/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FLIXviaMelissa


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Transcription:

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Melissa Eboli of ViaMelissa.com. Melissa, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Melissa Eboli 0:37

Thank you so much for having me here today. I'm super excited to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:41

Awesome. I'm super excited to have you on. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Melissa so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Melissa Eboli AKA Chef Via Melissa is a nutritional chef based out of New York. Her services include event catering, dinner parties, cooking classes, and recipe development.

When she's not in the kitchen, she can be seen making great guest appearances on Dr. Oz, in addition to being published in the likes of Women's Day, Reader's Digest, and Huffington post, to name a few. Her passion as a chef is to create healthy dishes with a modern twist using the cleanest of ingredients. Melissa, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Melissa Eboli 1:19

Definitely, bring it on.

Gresham Harkless 1:21

Alright, let's do it. So the first question I had was if we can kind of drill down a little bit deeper and hear a little bit more about your CEO story, what led you to start your business?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Melissa Eboli 1:29

Totally, so cooking has pretty much was always a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember. And you know, just kind of helping my mom out during the holidays. And I grew up in a big family. So I was basically always around food. And as I got a little bit older in my 20s, I kind of started to go out on my own in the kitchen.

So to say that that's about the time when I started eating healthier rather. And I just kind of started playing around with recipes and putting my own unique twist on them. And then whenever I would have guests over and have dinner parties, a lot of my friends would always rant and rave about my food. And they would just say, oh my god, you should open up a restaurant or do something with this.

And it was always just a hobby of mine. Until as I got a little bit older, I actually started to develop food allergies, specifically gluten, and dairy. And then anytime I went to, you know, a party or a Catered Affair, I always found it a bit frustrating that it was hard to find allergy-friendly foods at these events. Or if there were something that the caterer could accommodate, it never really tasted good.

So I kind of saw a niche and a need in the marketplace. So I basically took my hobby of you to know, cooking, and then just launched a personal chef and catering business where I kind of filled that gap of presenting delicious, nutritious food that's allergy friendly, but also tastes really good.

Gresham Harkless 2:49

I love that. And especially obviously that tastes the really good part. But it's kind of like this concept of the kind of scratching your own itch. As you mentioned you had an issue where you know, you couldn't find when you go into these parties. Exactly food that was, you know, like you said exactly what you would be able to eat and not have to deal with any kind of aftermath from that. And you created that. But then you also found it sounds like there were other people that need it and wanted to do the exact same things. Is that correct?

Melissa Eboli 3:14

Yep, totally. And much to my surprise, just quite a few people out there. I've had such a large success in such a short amount of time and actually write earlier today. It was just kind of tallying up. And under two years, I've actually had 90 client events in under two years. So it's yeah, there's quite a lot of people out there with some allergies and sensitivities.

Gresham Harkless 3:35

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And now I wanted to drill a little bit deeper and hear a little bit more about how you serve kind of like the clients you work with, what kind of things that you do for them.

Melissa Eboli 3:42

Yeah, so there are actually a couple of different aspects in which I go about doing that. So I do cooking classes. And I do that, you know, whether it couples, I get a lot of bachelorette parties or just girls' nights out in general. And then I've also done cooking classes, I have a couple of corporate clients that I work with. And in addition to the cooking classes, I also do personal chef services, more specifically for dinner parties.

So if you have, let's say a bunch of couples that want to get together, or if it's something celebratory, I've done quite a bit of 50 and 60th birthday parties that it's a nicely plated sit-down dinner between 11 and 30 guests typically. And then the third level of my business is that I also do catering and then you know that can be anywhere from cocktail style catering to buffet setup, as well as to plated sit-down meal. And I do have some staff that I work with, thankfully, to help me out with all of that.

Gresham Harkless 4:37

Yeah, absolutely sounds like a lot that you have to juggle. So I'm sure being able to have like a good team and people to kind of help you out with is definitely a good way to kind of ensure that the goal is met, so to speak.

Melissa Eboli 4:46

Definitely.

Gresham Harkless 4:47

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this might be something that I guess maybe pun intended is something that you feel like in your business or your organization kind of makes you and your organization unique.

Melissa Eboli 4:59

Yeah, totally. So obviously being able to serve that niche of you know, doing allergy-friendly catering is part of my secret sauce. But to also add to that notion, especially when it comes to catered affairs, that most catering companies, you either have a team of chefs, or you know, somebody, it just kind of goes out and buys a lot of prepackaged foods.

What differentiates me is that I am the sole chef and I cook single-handedly, almost every ingredient that is served, and most of the time it's made from scratch. So I really put that true emphasis on the food, the flavor, and the customization that not a lot of caterers bring to the table, so to say.

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Gresham Harkless 5:37

Oh, wow, that's huge. And so I'm guessing like a lot of caterers, sometimes when you get things catered for your dinner party, or like you mentioned, and like a part of a bachelorette party or whatever, a lot of the times the food isn't actually prepared from the kind of like beginning to end soup to nuts, so to speak.

Melissa Eboli 5:51

Correct, Yes, that is true.

Gresham Harkless 5:53

Okay, okay. Well, that's obviously a great thing that you're you're providing for the clients that you work with. And what I wanted to do was now switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this could be an app or a book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient as an entrepreneur or business owner.

Melissa Eboli 6:11

So there are definitely quite a few books that I've read out there. But in giving thought to this, I would think the biggest hack that I've had, which I actually found by accident by doing market research emits an app as well as a website called Thumbtack. And specifically for anybody that's a business owner in the service-related industry.

It's not just for chefs, but it's also beneficial if you are a photographer, makeup artist, videographer, or even in construction, or do house cleaning. But Thumbtack has just been huge and instrumental for my business and obtaining a client base and continues to be to this day.

Gresham Harkless 6:48

Yeah, definitely agree that's definitely a great CEO hack. And a lot of times people are looking for certain services. So if I'm correct, they go on the website, and they basically say what they're looking for, and then you're able to kind of respond to that.

Melissa Eboli 6:58

Yeah, so pretty much um, you know, if you were the business owner, you would just sign up your services on the website, and then customers do go to see seek out those services. And then you would just respond and then bid against other people in your space to lance that client.

Gresham Harkless 7:13

Nice, nice, nice. Yeah, that's, that's obviously a phenomenal CEO hack if it helps people to get more business and opportunities to kind of show the services that they provide. So I love that CEO hack. And now I want to ask you, for what I call a CEO nugget in this might be something that you would tell your younger business self or kind of like a piece of advice or word of wisdom, or few that you have that you would tell other entrepreneurs and business owners.

Melissa Eboli 7:33

Definitely, the one thing that I would say is to just be persistent and constantly apply yourself, as well as the adaptive by being persistent. I mean, you know, let's say whether you're service-based or your brick and mortar, just because the shop is open doesn't mean that the clients are going to flood in, you kind of have to be out there, you know, make partnerships and make relationships.

But also be adaptive in the sense that your initial business plan and a business goal might not end up being what you're doing. Be open-minded to try new things and be flexible, with what it is that you're offering, especially if it is service based.

Gresham Harkless 8:10

Yeah. And that makes perfect sense. I love that those CEO nuggets just because a lot of times, you automatically think you're gonna do one thing. And then sometimes when you're building your business, you realize like, like you did, I think in the very beginning that you had you pivoted because you found out there were a lot of people that needed those type of services that you provided. So you started to create a business around that.

Melissa Eboli 8:29

100% Yep, exactly.

Gresham Harkless 8:31

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to ask you, which is my absolute favorite question, which is kind of like the definition of being a CEO. And what we're hoping to do is kind of attract and have different types of, quote-unquote, CEOs on this podcast. So I want to ask you, Melissa, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Melissa Eboli 8:45

To me being a CEO, pretty much means that I'm in charge of my destiny, and I get to pursue a career, at least in my particular shoes that was once a hobby that and you know, it's just a passion project that I was able to turn into a successful growing business model. And although I do put a lot of work and effort into my business, just being I don't, I guess, being a CEO, and just being proud of what you're doing, a lot of times, it doesn't feel like work.

And I'm just truly passionate. And although I do work probably way more than 40 hours as most entrepreneurs and CEOs do. It doesn't always feel like I'm working 60 to 80 hours a week because it just feels like I'm pursuing a hobby and getting paid for that hobby.

Gresham Harkless 9:27

Yeah, and I mean, that's a perfect example is excessive being in having something that you truly love doing and that you're able to kind of convert into a business. So I think that's pretty awesome that you've been able to do what a lot of people hope to do, and that's pretty phenomenal in my eyes.

Melissa Eboli 9:40

Thank you. Totally, I agree.

Gresham Harkless 9:42

Awesome, awesome. And what I wanted to do now was Melissa I truly appreciate you for taking some time I wanted to pass you the mic so to speak to see if there's anything additional you might want to let our readers and our listeners know and also how best people can get a hold of you.

Melissa Eboli 9:53

Definitely, so I would say for any additional tips that I would love to give is you know if you have something that you're passionate about and you're confident about don't let any external influences discard you from doing it. Meaning when I first had my idea for my business a lot of people were like, Oh my God, you're crazy or leaving, you know, a really great position to kind of go out on your own and start your business and I'm so happy I took that chance had I not taken that chance I wouldn't be sitting here on this call with you today. But you know, so definitely just you know, if you if you're confident in a skill, set, or trade that you have, or just have some burning desire, definitely go for it.

Gresham Harkless 10:33

Awesome, awesome. I love it and in people that want to follow up, what's the best way for them to do that?

Melissa Eboli 10:37

So you can definitely go check out my website, it's viamelissa.com. Or if you are on social media, both on Facebook and Instagram, I can be found as Chef Via Melissa.

Gresham Harkless 10:53

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We will have those links in the show notes just in case anybody wants to follow up. But Melissa, I truly appreciate you for all the awesome things that you're doing and how you're helping so many people out I'm super happy that I ate before I had this just to make sure I wasn't too hungry. But again, I appreciate you and you're doing some awesome work have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Melissa Eboli 11:11

Thank you, same too much appreciation.

Outro 11:14

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

See also  IAM035 - Former Athlete Becomes Personal Trainer Helping Clients Meet Health & Fitness Goals

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Melissa Eboli of ViaMelissa.com. Melissa, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Melissa Eboli 0:37

Thank you so much for having me here today. I'm super excited to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:41

Awesome. I'm super excited to have you on. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Melissa so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Melissa Eboli AKA Chef Via Melissa is a nutritional chef based out of New York. Her services include event catering, dinner parties, cooking classes, and recipe development. When she's not in the kitchen, she can be seen making great guest appearances on Dr. Oz, in addition to being published in the likes of Women's Day, Reader's Digest and Huffington post, to name a few. Her passion as a chef is to create healthy dishes with a modern twist using the cleanest of ingredients. Melissa, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Melissa Eboli 1:19

Definitely, bring it on.

Gresham Harkless 1:21

Alright, let's do it. So the first question I had was for if we can kind of drill down a little bit deeper and hear a little bit more about your CEO story, what led you to start your business?

Melissa Eboli 1:29

Totally, so cooking pretty much was always a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember. And you know, just kind of helping my mom out during the holidays. And I grew up in a big family. So I was basically always around food. And as I got a little bit older in my 20s, I kind of started to go out on my own in the kitchen. So to say that that's about the time when I started eating healthier rather. And I just kind of started playing around with recipes and putting my own unique twist with it. And then whenever I would have guests over and have dinner parties, a lot of my friends would always rant and rave about my food. And they would just say, oh my god, you should open up a restaurant or do something with this. And it was always just a hobby of mine. Until as I got a little bit older, I actually started to develop food allergies, specifically gluten and dairy. And then anytime I went to, you know, a party or a Catered Affair, I always found it a bit frustrating that it was hard to find allergy friendly foods at these events. Or if there were something that the caterer could accommodate, it never really tasted good. So I kind of saw a niche and a need in the marketplace. So I basically took my hobby of you know, cooking, and then just launched a personal chef and catering business where I kind of filled that gap of presenting delicious, nutritious food that's allergy friendly, but also tastes really good.

Gresham Harkless 2:49

I love that. And especially obviously that tastes really good part. But it's kind of like this concept of kind of scratching your own itch. Like he like you mentioned you you had an issue where you know, you couldn't find when you go into these parties. Exactly food that was, you know, like you said exactly what you would be able to eat and not have to deal with any kind of aftermath from that. And you created that. But then you also found it sounds like there were other people that need it and wanted to do the exact same things. Is that correct?

Melissa Eboli 3:14

Yep, totally. And much to my surprise, just quite a few people out there. I've had such a large success in such a short amount of time and actually write earlier today. It was just kind of tallying up. And under two years, I've actually had 90 client events under two years. So it's yeah, there's quite a lot of people out there with some allergies and sensitivities.

Gresham Harkless 3:35

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And now I wanted to drill a little bit deeper and hear a little bit more about how you serve kind of like the clients you work with, what kind of things that you do for them.

Melissa Eboli 3:42

Yeah, so there's actually a couple of different aspects in which I go about doing that. So I do cooking classes. And I do that, you know, whether it's couples, I get a lot of bachelorette parties or just girls nights out in general. And then I've also done cooking classes, I have a couple of corporate clients that I work with. And in addition to the cooking classes, I also do personal chef services, more specifically for dinner parties. So if you have you know, let's say a bunch of couples that want to get together, or if it's something celebratory, I've done quite a bit of 50 and 60th birthday parties that it's a nice plated sit down dinner between 11 and 30 guests typically. And then the third level of my business is that I also do catering and then you know that can be anywhere from cocktail style catering to buffet setup, as well as to plated sit down meal. And I do have some staff that I work with, thankfully, that to help me out with all of that.

Gresham Harkless 4:37

Yeah, absolutely sounds like a lot that you have to juggle. So I'm sure being able to have like a good team and people to kind of help you out with is definitely a good way to kind of ensure that the goal is met, so to speak.

Melissa Eboli 4:46

Definitely.

Gresham Harkless 4:47

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this might be something that I guess maybe pun intended is something that you feel like in your business or your organization kind of makes you and your organization unique.

Melissa Eboli 4:59

Yeah, totally. So obviously being able to serve that niche of you know, doing allergy friendly catering is part of my secret sauce. But to also add to that notion, especially when it comes to catered affairs, that most catering companies, you either have a team of chefs, or you know, somebody, it just kind of goes out and buys a lot of prepackaged foods. What differentiates me is that I am the sole chef and I cook single handedly, almost every ingredient that is served, and most of the time it's made from scratch. So I really put that true emphasis on the food, the flavor and the customization that not a lot of caterers bring to the table, so to say.

Gresham Harkless 5:37

Oh, wow, that's huge. And so I'm guessing like a lot of caterers, sometimes when you get things catered for your dinner party, or, like you mentioned and like a part of a bachelorette party or whatever, a lot of the times the food isn't actually prepared from kind of like beginning to end soup to nuts, so to speak.

Melissa Eboli 5:51

See also  IAM642- Founder Opens Up More Conversations Through Sneakers

Correct, Yes, that is true.

Gresham Harkless 5:53

Okay, okay. Well, that's obviously a great thing that you're you're providing for the clients that you work with. And what I wanted to do was now switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this could be an app or a book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient as an entrepreneur or business owner.

Melissa Eboli 6:11

So there's definitely quite a few books that I've read out there. But in giving thought to this, I would think the biggest hack that I've had, which I actually found by accident by through doing market research is emits an app as well as a website called Thumbtack. And specifically for anybody that's a business owner in the service related industry. It's not just for chefs, but it's also beneficial if you are a photographer, makeup artists, videographer or even in construction, or do house cleaning. But Thumbtack has just been huge and instrumental for my business and obtaining a client base and continues to be to this day.

Gresham Harkless 6:48

Yeah, definitely agree that's definitely a great CEO hack. And a lot of times people are looking for certain services. So if I'm correct, they go on the website, and they basically say what they're looking for, and then you're able to kind of respond to that.

Melissa Eboli 6:58

Yeah, so pretty much um, you know, if you were the business owner, you would just sign up your services on the website, and then customers do go to see seek out those services. And then you would just respond and then bid against other people in your space to lance that client.

Gresham Harkless 7:13

Nice, nice, nice. Yeah, that's, that's obviously a phenomenal CEO hack, if it helps people to get more business and opportunities to kind of show the services that they provide. So I love that CEO hack. And now I want to ask you, for what I call a CEO nugget in this might be something that you would tell your younger business self or kind of like a piece of advice or word of wisdom, or few that you have that you would tell other entrepreneurs and business owners.

Melissa Eboli 7:33

Definitely the one thing that I would say is to just be persistent and constantly apply yourself, as well as the adaptive by being persistent. I mean, you know, let's say whether you're service based or your brick and mortar, just because the shop is open doesn't mean that the clients are going to flood in, you kind of have to be out there, you know, make partnerships and make relationships. But also be adaptive in the sense that what your initial business plan, a business goal might not end up being what you're doing. Be open minded to try new things and be flexible, with what it is that you're offering, especially if it is service based.

Gresham Harkless 8:10

Yeah. And that makes perfect sense. I love that those CEO nuggets just because a lot of times, you automatically think you're gonna do one thing. And then sometimes you when you're building your business, you realize like, like you did, I think in the very beginning that you had you pivoted because you found out there were a lot of people that needed those type of services that you provided. So you started to create a business around that.

Melissa Eboli 8:29

100% Yep, exactly.

Gresham Harkless 8:31

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to ask you, which is my absolute favorite question, which is kind of like the definition of being a CEO. And what we're hoping to do is kind of attract and have different types of, quote-unquote, CEOs on this podcast. So I want to ask you, Melissa, what does being a CEO mean to you.

Melissa Eboli 8:45

To me being a CEO, pretty much means that I'm in charge of my destiny, and I get to pursue a career, at least in my particular shoes that it was once a hobby that and you know, it's just a passion project that I was able to turn into a successful growing business model. And although I do put a lot of work and effort into my business, just being I don't, I guess, being a CEO, and just being proud of what you're doing, a lot of times, it doesn't feel like work. And you know, I'm just truly passionate. And although I do work probably way more than 40 hours as most entrepreneurs and CEOs do. It doesn't always feel like I'm working 60 to 80 hours a week because it just feels like I'm pursuing a hobby and getting paid for that hobby.

Gresham Harkless 9:27

Yeah, and I mean, that's a perfect example is excessive being in having something that you truly love doing and that you're able to kind of convert that into a business. So I think that's pretty awesome that you've been able to do what a lot of people hope to do, and that's pretty phenomenal in my eyes.

Melissa Eboli 9:40

Thank you. Totally, I agree.

Gresham Harkless 9:42

Awesome, awesome. And what I wanted to do now was Melissa I truly appreciate you for taking some time I wanted to pass you the mic so to speak to see if there's anything additional you might want to let our readers and our listeners know and also how best people can get a hold of you.

Melissa Eboli 9:53

Definitely, so I would say for any additional tips that I would love to give is you know if you have something that you're passionate about and you're confident about don't let any external influences discard you from doing it. Meaning when I first had my idea for my business a lot of people were like, Oh my God, you're crazy or leaving, you know, a really great position to kind of go out on your own and start your business and I'm so happy I took that chance had I not taken that chance I wouldn't be sitting here on this call with you today. But you know, so definitely just you know, if you if you're confident in a skill, set or trade that you have, or just have some burning desire, definitely go for it.

Gresham Harkless 10:33

Awesome, awesome. I love it and in people that want to follow up, what's the best way for them to do that?

Melissa Eboli 10:37

So you can definitely go check out my website, it's viamelissa.com. Or if you are on social media, both on Facebook and Instagram, I can be found as Chef Via Melissa.

Gresham Harkless 10:53

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We will have those links in the show notes just in case anybody wants to follow up. But Melissa, I truly appreciate you for all the awesome things that you're doing and how you're helping so many people out I'm super happy that I ate before I had this just to make sure I wasn't too too hungry. But again, I appreciate you and you're doing some awesome work and have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Melissa Eboli 11:11

Thank you, same too much appreciation.

Outro 11:14

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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