Comment from Leona: Antoinette, are you able to take some time off, being one person deep?
Little: Leona, I take more time off during the summer months since from Oct thru June it’s chocolate season. Chocolate is not really a summer food (it melts pretty nonstop.)
Comment from Lisa: Antoinette - how often do offer cooking classes? And what are your typical course subjects?
Little: Lisa, with the exception of December, we hold our one-day classes once a month. The curriculum varies, but all classes will learn the proper method to temper chocolate and truffle making. In addition to this, some classes will learn novelty items (bunnies at Easter; turkeys at Thanksgiving, etc.)
Comment from Elizabeth: Thank you so much Kerry for providing such a large amount of specifically useful information for all those involved in today's live web chat! It is excellent!
Comment from Sabrina: I want to open a cupcake and more shop, but before I do I want to test the waters not sink a lot of money into something that might not work. The health department says you can't have a home catering license. How do you get started?
Pauley: Sabrina, Antoinette is a very upbeat, positive, optimistic, can-do person and says “Don’t listen to the naysayers.” However, in the next breath she said, “Do your homework.” For instance, are there already other cupcake businesses in your area? Are you prepared, as she is, to go several years working long hours with no paycheck in sight yet?
Hannon: Here's a piece I wrote for US News & World Report that I think you may find a help as you get started thinking about ways to start a business and steps to take.
My new book is What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job. I profile people who have made career changes successfully and offer tips and resources to help you do the same. You can find it online at Amazon and bookstores. Go to my web site for more info, http://www.kerryhannon.com.
Comment from Donna: I turned 56 last week...at 50 I earned my B.A. from Mount Holyoke (with honors), went on to earn my advanced culinary degree in 2007, worked as an extern at Blue Hill at Sone Barns, have been working/volunteering at farmer's markets as a chef demonstrator/marketer for grass fed beef. I want to take my passion to the next level, but want to work out of my home kitchen (updated and remodeled it will cost more than 30k) but my town has "rules" that I have to work around. It's difficult to "professionalize" myself with the current restrictions! Times aren't what they used to be -- so many rules and costs associated.
Pauley: Donna, as a journalist who’s covered a lot of food poisoning, salmonella and E. coli stories over the years, people have an expectation that our food sources are safe and reliable. So regulations may be annoying and unrealistic in some cases but very important in others.
Little: Donna: you may wish to consider renting out a commercial space. For instance we rented restaurant space when the restaurant was closed. They had the licensing from the Board of Health, so it was acceptable for me to use it as well.
Comment from Ed: I guess my biggest question is how to decide what else to do. Is there a process, or in your case Antoinette, did you just know? I am looking at freelance photography, because I enjoy it, but can’t decide if that is what I want to do, or if I can make it.
Hannon: Ed, that's a great question. I think a lot of people worry that they can't make it. Chances are it will take some time to get your feet on the ground.
The best advice I can give is to take it in stages. If possible, moonlight and work your photography business on the side while you still have a day job. You can slowly pick up the pace as you see where it leads. For each person, it's a different path and time frame.
Comment from Linda: Antoinette, how did you overcome being one of the oldest people in your classes? You mentioned in the video that that was a shock when you got to school.
Little: Linda, it was funny, but I think I felt the difference more than what the “youngsters” thought. After a while they were actually asking me for advice.
Pauley: Linda, I’m going to jump in here for a minute. Antoinette and I talked about this. Remember how she said there were 10, 20, 30 years difference in age when she enrolled in culinary school? The only person sensitive to that was probably Antoinette, who very quickly recognized her superior experience in so many ways (everybody was learning!).
And she very quickly became sort of a mother hen in the group. So think about the positives you take into that class and don’t be paralyzed by imagined negatives. P.S. take a friend, a daughter or a husband.