Years in Tampa Bay
What do you do?
I operate a nonprofit sustainable catering service dedicated to ensuring special events are exquisite while reducing food waste and eliminating hunger.
Why do you do it?
In Tampa Bay alone, over one million pounds of good food goes to waste each day while 1.3 million people struggle to gain access to affordable, nutritious food. Not to mention the immense carbon footprint of all of that waste. Simply put, our food system is broken and needs to change.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
In 2020, my mother Ellen (a professional chef) and I created 360 Eats, a nonprofit with the mission to end food waste and hunger throughout the Tampa Bay community. As a smaller and newer nonprofit, it can be challenging to garner the funding needed to support our day-to-day operations. We started 360 Eats Catering as a way to become self-sufficient and to continue to do good in our community.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
We’re introducing sustainability into catering. 100% of the ingredients we use are sourced via a donation from local food establishments that have excess good food. Instead of those ingredients going to waste, we transform it into lavish meals for all types of events. We also offer clients the opportunity to further reduce food waste and help their neighbors by donating leftover food from their event to 360 Eats, which then serves the food to those in need. Plus, 100% of the service charge is a donation to 360 Eats to support their charitable programs and is tax deductible.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
Because we work with “rescued” ingredients, we can never predict what we’ll have to work with. This adds an element of surprise to our menu and can make it a little difficult at times to produce exactly what the client wants. Luckily, our talented chefs, combined with our multiple sources for a variety of ingredients, allow 360 Eats Catering to get fairly close, if not spot on, to each client’s preference.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
It might be a bit cliche, but don’t wait for an opportunity. Take the leap. I’m certain many of us are sitting on great ideas and haven’t taken action on them possibly because of the fear of failure. Fear, for me, is going my entire life wondering “what if?” Failure is just a part of life and is one of the greatest opportunities for growth. Don’t let it be an obstacle.