105 - Taking Her Profession to a Whole New Level with Chef Deb Cantrell


Chef Deb Cantrell is so much more than just a chef.  She specializes in healing through health, but also teaches other chefs how to be successful in their businesses.

Chef Deb started in physical therapy, and after 13 years she found she was tired of people complaining but not doing anything about it.  She discovered that a lot of disease and problems in health in today's world were caused by diet.

When she was trying to figure out what she could do that would provide her a little more flexibility with her family, she read about personal chefs.  After deciding to take a chance, she worked physical therapy, part-time, and went to culinary school.

She started out while her daughter went into homes with her.  As more and more people with dietary needs found her, she found her business blowing up.  She kept moving in the direction of dietary needs and healing through food.

About two years ago, she decided she wanted to figure out how she was going to blow this business out of the water.  After becoming a single mom, she really wanted to find a way to do this well.  She found a business coach, who helped her triple her business within about six months.

Then she realized there was no one in her industry to provide culinary guidance when it came to business.  She decided to add that piece to her business too.  That turned into a huge part of her business as it was able to help her reach more people by teaching the chefs the importance of diet and how food can heal.

She also has a few more projects in the works.

What was the thing that the business coach helped you with making such a difference?  Deb first feels everyone needs to know their why.  Her why started with her son when he was diagnosed with a form of high functioning autism at age 4.  Deb decided to change his diet, and discovered she could change him through food.

She decided to take that concept in helping others with the same possible issue.

The first thing she did was get out of her own way and change her entire mindset. Being in business is about 90% mindset and 10% skill.

[ctt tweet="Being in business is about 90% mindset and 10% skill. #podcast @thestartersclub http://ctt.ec/hfn0Q+" coverup="hfn0Q"]

Until you change your mindset around the way it's supposed to be, you'll never be successful.  She had to realize, not only what she deserved, but that it wasn't about selling.  She has a passion, and she has gifts, and it's about sharing it with the world, and not feeling guilty that she has to charge what she's worth.

She also realized that at some point you have to be really uncomfortable with uncomfortable.

[ctt tweet="I also discovered that at some point, you have to be really uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. http://ctt.ec/k1YU0+ #podcast " coverup="k1YU0"]

You're not going to grow until you take these huge decisions.  That also goes along with investing into your business.  Until you're ready to invest money that you don't have, that you're going to have to find, is when you really discover what you're really made of.

What are some growing pains you discovered as your business exploded?  Deb wishes she would have hired people sooner, even when she didn't have the money.  Money is energy. Deb uses the example where if you charge $100 an hour, but are doing $10 an hour jobs, you're losing $90 an hour.  It might be hard at first, but a great employee will pay for themselves within about 30 to 60 days.

Deb also wishes she would have opened up a lot more to get the help that she needed.  She wishes she would have gone to her group of friends or family, just to listen to their ideas.  She gathered three other business owners, all outside of the culinary field, and they meet every other week on the phone.  They also meet once a quarter for three days.  They hold each other accountable and hammer out problems and ideas.  She wishes she would have done it a lot sooner.

Instead of using the world failure, Deb uses 'pivot'.  It's all about changing direction when something isn't working out.  She no longer has a concept of failure, when everyone is absolutely afraid of it.

What's your philosophy around hiring?  Deb usually tries to hire slowly, but sometimes she just doesn't have that time.  Sometimes she just has to go with a gut feeling.  Nothing has worked better than just sitting down and getting a gut feeling from them.  She's also tried every form in hiring them.  She has discovered that simply by putting something on Facebook and being specific about what she needs, she's found some of her best employees that way.

She also is about firing quickly.  A bad employee will cost you three times their annual salary.  Now as soon as she feels like someone needs to go, she starts the documentation process.  When she feels she has enough to let them go, she fires them immediately.

How do handle the juggle of it all?  Deb made a decision a long time ago that she would bring her daughter to school every day and pick her up every day.  Deb learned the word no, and learned boundaries from the very start.  She also had to become very clear about what she was saying 'yes' to.  Before she agrees to anything, she asks herself three questions:

  1. How much time is this going to take me?
  2. How much money is this going to make me?
  3. How much time this will take me from my family?

She is also about automating her business, and is constantly looking at ways to automate her business.  She also puts a process around everything, so that it's repeatable if she's not there.

You can find Chef Deb by calling at 1-888-340-5791 or you can also find her website at www.thesavorchef.com.

More About Chef Deb:  Chef Deb Cantrell is an Executive Chef, Senior Certified Personal Chef, Dietary Consultant, author, sought after public speaker, and mentor to culinary professionals who has worked with celebrities such as Glenn Beck, Vernon Wells, and Geeta Sidhu-Robb. Specializing in helping those facing food allergies, food sensitivities and/or specific dietary requirements due to disease or other medical diagnosis, she created a customized meal delivery business and facilitates food sensitivity testing through global online education as part of her Culinary Medicine offerings. Trained at the Culinary Business Academy and Fort Worth Culinary Institute where she sits on the advisory board. Deb is a senior certified personal chef (CPC) and boutique caterer. Chef Deb is also the proprietor of her mentoring and coaching program designed specifically for chefs focused on business growth.

A dynamic and informative presenter, appearing on CBS, and various other shows, Chef Deb’s speaking engagements include these topics: “Your Bottom Line - How Your Food Choices Affect Your “Assets”, “How to Make Money in Your Sleep as a Chef” and “Culinary Success Blueprint: 10 Proven Strategies for a 7 Figure Culinary Business.”

Her articles on specialized diet topics have been featured in several publications, including Indulge Magazine, Applaud for Women Magazine, Metro Woman, and the Fort Worth Business Press. Her articles about culinary business growth are often featured in Personal Chef Magazine. She is the co-author of a book called “Behind her Brand” and authored her own book “You’re a Chef. Now What” and she is actively involved in various charity events.

Chef Deb takes ‘Food with Purpose’ to a whole new level.


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