Meet Michelle, founder of Nana Joes Granola
Tell us a little about you!
I have spent my life in the food/service industry since I was 15 years old. From waiting tables to graduating from the Culinary institute of America. I have worked as a pastry chef at the Fairmont hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, Nopalito and so many others before launching Nana Joes Granola. As a person with Celiac disease I always bring both flavor sophistication and ingredient purity to my work. There are no shortcuts when it comes to ingredient integrity.
What do you do for work? Tell us about your professional journey?
I started as a Barista back in 1987 at the age of 15 in a mall in Dallas, Texas. I quickly realized I loved the fast paced lifestyle of waiting tables and slinging coffee. I loved the hum and buzz of people chatting, tickets machines and the kitchen. After several years managing and working at cafes I found myself behind a bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I attended UNM and I loved every moment but fell into the lifestyle of partying and staying out all night. You could say for several years, I lost myself to it. Flash forward to my thirties and I was still waiting trapped in the lifestyle but found my way out through the swinging kitchen doors. I went from the front of the house to the back of the house and decided to start taking culinary classes which led me to The Culinary Institute of America where I received my Baking and Pastry Certificate in St Helena. From there I moved to San Francisco after a few other place and decided on a whim and a prayer most likely to get my life together and on 4/20/2007 I made a vow to myself that if I was ever going to become anything in my life I had to quit drinking and doing doing drugs. It was one of the hardest but most fruitful decisions of my life. I found myself, my voice and my passion for baking that led me down this path where eventually a bowl of granola changed the course of my life.
How do you stay motivated?
I take care of myself every single morning. I carve out an hour and half by getting up between 5-6am. I workout, I drink coffee, I journal and I meditate. When I start feeling the pull of fatigue or the "why did it start this business" I call up other founders to talk through everything . I rely so much on my peers and seeing what they're doing keeps the fire burning for me.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in starting a business?
Know the time commitment, know your path and your end goal and get advice about costing out services and products. Also, PAY YOURSELF what you are worth from the start.
What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?
I am a fierce networker and meeting new people and making Chef's Blend collaborations with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club helps me keep spreading the good through the community. I also do some outreach in the AA/sober community giving people a story of another option for their lives. Our stories hold so much power not just for us but for the inspiration it provides others.
Who is one person who inspires you and why?
Miyoko from Miyoko's Creamery. She is a strong force and knows what she wants with her business and in her life. She has a clear vision and rarely veers off course when things don't go as planned. She has one of the most inspiring stories and has wisdom beyond her years.
How do you work to stay centered and practice self-care in your busy day-to-day reality?
I work with a taskbar on my email and in Asana for business only adding 3-4 tasks daily and only what will move the needle. No more octopus arms for me trying to grab at every opportunity not allowing me to shine and give my best. I touched on self care but it is so important to keep your body moving even when you don't want to. I have a scheduled walk with a friend weekly and on the weekend everyday I have it is always a long run. hike with friends, durgfing. Anything outdoors and it is mostly impromptu so there isn't this immense pressure to plan everything. I have to do that in my work life so it is nice to have that break.
What do you like to do for fun, when you aren't working?
Surf, beach walks, hike, dance, go to farmers markets and always hang with friends.
What are some of your favorite recipes with Ground Up?
Stuffed dates, brownies, by the spoonful with chocolate chips on it, mixed into ice cream and almond butter paleo muffins with the cinnamon snickerdoodle.