The plant-based chef helping busy people re-set and re-energise

The plant-based chef helping busy people re-set and re-energise
Kieu-My PHAM THAI9 Kitchens

Posted: Fri 12th Oct 2018

Enterprise Nation member Kieu-My PHAM THAI left a corporate career to become a plant-based chef to help people live healthier lifestyles with her business, 9 Kitchens. She is also the resident chef for a yoga retreat in Portugal on 3 - 7 November. Here's her story.

Describe your business in one sentence.

A plant-based chef who helps busy people re-store, re-set and re-energise with wholesome cooking for a happier and healthier lifestyle.

How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?

I worked as corporate executive for more than 20 years. I had the chance to travel extensively and meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. But the last 10 years were extremely stressful.

It may sound so common nowdays but I was looking for a sense of purpose in my professional life. Being passionate about healthy food and world cuisine since childhood, I started to explore different business concepts taking into consideration my own constraints like having children, a husband who is busy travelling and a limited source of funding.

I realised that there was a demand for busy people to understand the basics of healthy cooking without spending hours on the internet. I read reference books on plant-based cooking, did a diploma with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and Rouxbe in Canada.

A couple of months ago, I started cooking for families and teaching healthy cooking with flavours to busy parents who have lost touch with natural food. I have also become a plant-based chef for wellness retreats.

What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Understanding the importance of social media: I have taken several online courses.

Understanding the importance of food photography and video: Having an expert in those fields to spend few hours with me.

Creating a brand: I employ a freelancer who did a fantastic job.

Creating a beautiful website: Using a web developer. The work is still in progress.

Being effective with my time: Using tools like Buffer to schedule social media posting and SEO Content to create blog articles...

What has been your biggest achievement with your business so far?

Being a plant-based chef for a beautiful luxurious yoga retreat.

Working for a food start-up in recipe development.

What is your next big business goal?

Creating online videos for plant-based cooking to inspire more people around the world to switch to more natural, environmental friendly and healthier cooking;

What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?

Making beautiful videos and editing them in a short time

Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?

Ben Pugh, founder of Farmdrop.

He is a ex-stockbroker who has changed to a completely different life. He has very successfully created Farmdrop which delivers farm to table wholesome ingredients from local farmers and fishermen.

I admire him because I love the concept, but I also admire him as a person because he did not come from a food background and did not have any knowledge about logistics and the retail market.

People believe in him as he raised £7m in April 2017 and another £10m in June 2018.

What are your three tips for business success based on your experiences so far?

  • Believe in yourself.

  • Learn the basics of a new competency and then only use a freelancer.

  • Speak about what you are doing all the time. Word of mouth is very important.

We're proud to have people like Kieu-My as members of Enterprise Nation. Join Enterprise Nation today and become part of an amazing community of small business owners.

Kieu-My PHAM THAI9 Kitchens
I am Kieu-My, a mother of 2 and ex-corporate executive who turned her passion for flavoursome food into a fulfilling professional life. Initially trained as a Pastry Chef in Paris (Ferrandi Paris) and just graduated from the College of Naturopathic Medicine London as Natural Chef and Rouxbe Canada as Plant-Based Chef, I get my inspiration from my endless curiosity in world cuisines across all continents. Through my extensive international background and travels, I have enjoyed food from all over as long as they are using wholesome ingredients and based on healthy cooking techniques, from levant cuisine to Indian curries, from South East Asia flavours to North Africa tagines. I embrace all influences. I am a pragmatic vegetarian so I am flexible and can eat animal sourced products but I am in constant search for spices, herbs and plant-based ingredients to replace them to suit my clients’ needs. At present, just after completing my internships at very interesting places such as Nopi restaurant (Ottolenghi), I am: 1) Creating vegetarian recipes for different startups 2) Cheffing as plant-based Chef in luxury yoga retreats 3) Teaching families in private classes to gain confidence in their kitchen when transitioning to a healthier and more environmental friendly diet

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