For 34 year old Danielle Regan, life has come with its challenges and mishaps, but always for the benefit of learning from life’s lessons. Hailing all the way from Kansas City, Missouri, this new Philly transplant is learning the ropes of organic cooking and applying it to the lives of those that desperately need her help. After a stint in fashion design in the big apple, Ms. Regan now calls West Philly home and is eager to become a personal chef in home kitchens across the tri-state area. I got a chance to sit-down with this rising star to learn more about her unique approach to cooking up delicious recipes that also happen to be nutritious. Here’s a spoonful of antidotes to help the medicine go down:
Small Biz Philly: What inspired you to start your business?
Regan: I saw a need for people to have guidance in the kitchen as well as their health; there was a wide disconnect for people to eat a certain way and I wanted to create an all-encompassing experience for health and wellness.
Small Biz Philly: What makes you different from the competition?
Regan: In this day and age, it’s challenging to find a private chef that understands people’s health needs. Most private chefs don’t fully understand the health issues that their clients encounter and how to systematically approach these issues. I personally work with clients’ deficits and holistically help them onto a better health path, incorporating my expertise into their meal plan(s).
Also, I am not just some health coach or dietitian. I am very scientific in my formulas I administer in my cooking styles for each individual client, since everyone is different, thus creating the most close to perfect concoction. Both my parents were in the field of science, my father being a scientist and mother being a nurse, so this had a huge impact on my approach to problem-solving growing up.
Small Biz Philly: Who influenced you growing up?
Regan: As just mentioned, both my mother and father had a huge influence on me as a young adolescent. I would witness my mom cooking a delectable variety from scratch on the kitchen counter-top and this inspired me in so many ways. My family pushed me to think outside the box and become creative. Food was a big part of growing up and became a staple of past-times. This was further enhanced in college as I found I had time to start cooking between classes and discovered this passion that was further developing.
Small Biz Philly: Where did you study?
Regan: I went to Kansas State University for Apparel Design and Textiles. Working 90 hour weeks in a stressful job in Manhattan fueled my desire to become an entrepreneur and try something else.
Small Biz Philly: Were you always an entrepreneur?
Regan: Not initially. As previously mentioned, I worked in corporate America as a fashion designer in New York City. It was very stressful and the people were verbally abusive. This company participated in overseas slave labor and I did not want to continue involvement in this industry because of that.
Small Biz Philly: How did you transition from fashion designer to in-home personal chef?
Regan: On the weekends, I found time to create food because my roommate recommended that I start cooking to relieve some of the stress. I came across a website called KitchenSurfing.com and got inspired to the life of being a chef. After finishing a 1-year program with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I officially became a certified holistic health coach. I wanted accreditation and started testing many products. I felt less stressed at home and started a blog after getting laid off to showcase my new expertise. I haven’t worked in an office job in 7 years and have only worked in private homes ever since!
Small Biz Philly: How did you come up with the name, “The Skinny Spoon”?
Regan: Honestly, I originally wanted the name “7 Spoons” but the URL was already taken. After an exhaustive search, I settled on The Skinny Spoon. The name had a nice ring to it and is synonymous with with weight loss and healthy eating. There seems to be an intentional pun.
Small Biz Philly: They say never trust a Skinny Chef.
Regan: Well, you can certainly trust this one! (wink)
Small Biz Philly: What do you like about Philly’s food scene:
Regan: Unlike New York, the culture here feels like people here want you to succeed. People are a lot more friendly and open-minded here, and is not as cut-throat. Philly is very artsy and I love the restaurants that I frequent here.
Small Biz Philly: Future Plans?
Regan: Eventually, I would like to buy a house and continue to establish roots here in Philly. I also am planning on starting a non-profit educating kids about healthy eating and cooking to create a connection with chefs and the elderly. I also want to publish a cook-book, expand my blog and teach cooking at the Enterprise Center.
Small Biz Philly: How can people learn more about the services you offer?
Regan: They can visit my website: www.TheSkinnySpoon.com and follow me on social media: @theskinnyspoon
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