Normally I don’t talk about politics or religion on my blog, but today is the start of a new regime in the United States. We have a new leader. Congrats to the new president, as I may not respect the new person, I do respect the office and will continue to do so regardless of my preferred outcome. We are a powerful nation and need to stand united as the world watches us change, evolve and grow.
Now…on to my blog.
6 years ago, today…I woke up from my dreary old job and started down a road that has gone from leaves to rocks to blacktop and hopefully soon I can see some cement. I didn’t know then exactly what I was going to do, but I knew what I wasn’t going to do anymore…sit at a desk, in front of a computer, working for someone that I didn’t look up to for a company I didn’t agree with. The only thing I did know was that I loved to cook, loved to eat and loved to entertain. Red Butter was conceived in bar later that night over PBR tall boys and a cocktail napkin. I went through every template Indian food industry term and finally it came down to something more personal, my grandfather’s name. A man I’d never met, and yet I emulated his every essence. An entrepreneur, a cook, a foodie, charitable and exceptionally smart…yep, I’m just like him 🙂 I set out to create food experiences that were passionate and indulgent; as are the words “red” and “butter”. Every piece was in place and I was ready to soar. I remember how hard it was to get ONE gig and when I finally did, it
was a Pilates studio…which is rather foretelling as to my fitness life now…back then, NO WAY. I made chicken skewers and cucumber thing that ended up looking like bloody eyes! I realized that day after the event that I was too raw and handmade, kinda like my first business card.
I spent the next year working on technique, flavors, plating and worked on presentation with clients
and friends. I did popups for free in my house for 8 people to showcase new recipes and my friends loved being guinea pigs. I used my business savvy to create invoices, proposals, spreadsheets for ingredients, prep list templates. I created a business that ran like a perfectly oiled corvette. Baconfest 2012 gave me that final push I needed, the win put me in the press, Travel Channel put me on media…my company and confidence soared. I met my mentor, John, who gave me a kitchen to cook in, a space to host popups in and he always lent an ear or hand when I needed it the most. I think I fired him a few times from his own kitchen! I started to handpick clients as I wasn’t into the private chef thing as much, the popups were fun, kept me busy and made me a lot more money. I wanted my own restaurant. I sold award winning Bacon-Pistachio Brittle for the holidays and contemplated selling it to a larger company to go worldwide. I was counting countless amounts of eggs that had no intention of hatching…little did I know back then what was going to come of it.
I started to make plans for a restaurant that was pre-fixe, cheap and seasonal…a spinoff of one I saw in San Francisco. I learned about wine and beer and started to do dinners with different wineries and breweries. I gained weight through all this and I didn’t care as who would trust a skinny chef??? Right?? John talked me into a different restaurant concept that was casual Indian food, like a roadside cafe in India. I contacted commercial real estate agents, narrowed down my specifics to the square footage of the space I wanted. I had every detail inside picked out from the kitchen set up to the glassware to the doorknobs. I needed money…A LOT more money…I needed investors. I talked to bankers, money managers, my parents and even John…I was on a high that no one could get me down from. Problem is…that high did go away…when I started to look in the mirror and couldn’t justify the chubby cheeks…something had to change.
2014…I incorporated fitness in my food world, but only as balance…nothing more. Jake, my trainer, understood that from day one and was on board. The restaurant plans were still in full force, the beer dinners and collaborations were flooding in and the motherload…Chicago Gourmet…5,000 people, media galore, press madness and massive exposure for Red Butter. What better way to start a crowd-funding campaign??!!! I started to raise money for my dream and then life happens…moments so devastating that it makes us rethink what we are doing, how we are doing it and even why. It made me take a break from the restaurant dream, stop the fundraising and focus more on myself…which then I turned to fitness…FULL ON BEAST MODE.
2015 was rough…Red Butter suffered a great deal…I was trying to promote an idea that I wasn’t practicing. The more I worked out and loved that high, the less passionate I became about being indulgent in food, beer and wine. As a matter of fact, beer was no longer something I indulged in at all. The beer dinners stopped, the wine dinners stopped…my last round of popups to save the restaurant concept was lackluster. I didn’t know how to save my company, my restaurant…I stepped back completely and almost considered shutting it down. I didn’t enjoy what I was cooking…wasn’t learning anything new and kept pushing old ideas on to people that I stopped believing and hoped they still did. Then I learned about the word evolution. It made me think about reinventing Red Butter…but into what? I still loved food…but it didn’t have to be indulgent…I loved fitness…but I didn’t want Red Butter to be a gym…I lived a life that perfectly balanced food and fitness. Red Butter was no longer a description for me…it was my lifestyle. Red Butter was no longer gluttonous, she was fit, healthy and light! She now loved to run, box with Jake, jump on boxes, climb ropes and hang on rings…she ate healthy, drank far less…she inspired others to follow suit and she had fun doing all of it. “It’s An RB Life” came into my life a year ago in November….fitting on the 5th bday of this company. I started this blog November 30th to keep my followers up to date with what was going on as I tried to figure it out myself. I didn’t know if I was going to do videos, write, cook, work out…or all the above! I only knew that now I was definitely preaching something I was piously practicing.
This year, a new year, a new company…a new “lighter” name from Red Butter to RB, a new logo, a new credo about life, food and fitness. New words like meal planning, paleo, vegan, marathon, food prep, blogging, swimming and even triathlon. This transition was natural, easy and exciting. New challenges, new clients, new ways of cooking and food research. Even as I
left Jake, I never left fitness. It was engrained into my life and I started to create my own workouts, my own schedule and even my own exercises! I put together my own training plan for the marathon that proved to be successful. I answer emails every day about meal planning and fitness advice…sounds like a health coach, no? Well, SURPRISE!! My next journey is to get certified as a health coach so I can officially speak to what I already know. I plan on having seminars, meetups with food and fitness, corporate office challenges and who knows what else! I am extremely excited about this new avenue for myself and my company because I truly love what I now do. Monica…the fit chef that has her cake, eats it too…because she can! 😉
Red Butter really isn’t gone, that girl that loves great food and lush wine still exists. She still works with that innate passion at her craft…indulges in running races instead of ribbons of butter…maybe I didn’t need to change the slogan after all 🙂 Even as I sit here writing this blog, the movie, “Julie and Julia” just came on TV…serendipitous…as I learned to cook with Julia Child’s cookbook and it reminds me of how much I love food…the one thing that has never changed. However, you can’t run a company when you don’t live the life you are preaching to others. Like I said last week, change is inevitable…evolution is the big brother of change…protects us from going stale. So, Happy 6th Birthday to my baby, you’re growing up to be more beautiful and stronger that I ever imagined!!!