Maneet Chauhan, founder and owner of Indie Culinaire might look like grace under fire, and she is.
The savvy businesswoman took Indie Culinaire from a catering service to a one-stop shop for everything from restaurant consulting to publishing books.
We caught up with Chauhan during the whirlwind tour for her new book, Flavors of My World. Read on for her thoughts on mentors, losing her temper, and why she always has a Plan B (and C).
Why did you start your own business?
I love working in the kitchen, but when that's the only thing you're doing, you have a very myopic view. The biggest emergency is, "Oh my God, you ran out of chicken!"
A very important part of life is growth--I need to learn things every day. When I had my daughter two years ago, that was a turning point in my life. I realized I wanted to see what was out in the world, to increase my repertoire, and make it more interesting. That inspired me to say, "You know what, the best way to do that is to be your own boss, to start a business of your own which does not limit your potential to being just a chef or a restaurant owner."
Did you have a mentor?
I have been fortunate to come across a lot of really dynamic people--I've learned a little from everybody. One of the biggest things about being an entrepreneur is discovering your own management style. You can learn from others and try to emulate what they are doing, but at the end of the day your inherent personality, how you deal with events and situations, comes to the forefront.
Describe your management style.
If there is a situation, I try to take a step back, cool down, and solve the problem. Flipping out, freaking out, and being very rude about it is not going to help. Things are going to happen, and when they do I try to take a deep breath, figure out what options B, C, and D are, and start working on them.
What's been your biggest challenge?
As I'm sure a lot of small business owners would say, it's managing your employees and bringing out their best and truest potential. It's up to an entrepreneur to shine a light on their strongest assets.
What are your plans for the future?
I am opening a restaurant in Nashville, and the idea is to open similar places across the country. I'm also in the process of releasing a spice line, and am in talks with a leading chef uniform company to create a line of signature chef jackets.