Nicole Chaszar founded Splendid Spoon to take the hard work out of eating well. Like many women today, she is driven by living a full life, and she felt exasperated by all the conflicting messages in the wellness industry. Diet programs were confusing, cooking every meal was time consuming and ready-to-eat ‘health’ foods were highly processed. Splendid Spoon creates simple, plant-based plans and mindfulness exercises that are amazingly effective at establishing healthy eating habits. Splendid Spoon is committed to making women’s wellness goals a reality through the science of soup, the power of plants, and the art of mindfulness. Nicole is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, a former media executive at Conde Nast’s WIRED and The New Yorker, and the author of the upcoming Soup Cleanse Cookbook, due August 2016. She lives with her family in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
How did you get started with Splendid Spoon?
When I was pregnant with my first son in 2013, it was kind of a wake up call of like: ‘Oh my gosh! I just finished culinary school and I had been experimenting with starting a business and testing all sorts of recipes. Ironically, the food and the habits around my food were really not so great. It was kind of manic with a lot of really intense restaurant style cooking. Exercising a lot on the weekends and not a lot of balance and I thought that was something needed to be fixed. I created the business and developed a really peaceful program around it to help ease anxiety. It was the genesis of Splendid Spoon.
What does your company embody and what does health mean to you?
Health to me is being really connected to your food choices so that you don’t feel that they are separate from you. I really believe food is joy and we are what we eat. I really think that you should embrace food for nourishing you and that is what Splendid Spoon is about. We started with soup because everyone has really nice memories of people cooking for them and it’s also really unique and helps stay fuller longer. It’s really easy to get more vegetables into a serving of soup because you are cooking them down, so you’re getting a really concentrated hit of pure vegetable ingredients while also having something that slows you down a little bit. That is what also really helps you connect your actions and sitting down and feeding yourself to what’s going on in your mind and reminding yourself that this is something that is taking care of you.
What is your proud moment so far?
Having my two kids while running the business. I try to be focused on just what I’m doing and to know what my boundaries are. I really don’t try to do everything all at once and I really accept that I can’t do everything perfectly. When I’m work, I’m at work and I try to be pretty disciplined about my schedule and then when I’m home, I’m home.
There's simplicity in focusing with Nicole Chaszar from @splendidspoonny #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet
What is your biggest disappointment?
The biggest mistake that I have made in the past was thinking that I needed someone more senior than me, someone more experienced than me to guide me or help me make decisions and that really derailed me for a period of time. It was a really good learning experience because it made me realize that especially in the early stages when you’re a boot strapped company and you’re doing whatever you can to stay afloat its grit, its intuition and years aren’t going to give someone those two qualities.
Tell us that moment when it went from hobby to business.
Right before I launched Splendid Spoon, I was working at Conde Nast and cooking in the early morning hours for a soup company that became Splendid Spoon. It became too much for me to handle; the cooking, the selling on the weekends and I started bringing the soup to co-workers. I had a spreadsheet and I worked off with that on my lunch hour and delivered soup. At a certain point I was starting to burnout doing both. I decided if I’m gonna do this, then I’m want to do it really well and I want to launch it as a real business not as a hobby.
What is your biggest piece of advice to someone who is just starting out?
Whatever you are doing make sure that you are really connected to it personally. If you really are connected to it and you really care and it really comes from something inside of you that needs to be heard or expressed then it’s a really beautiful amazing way to live your life.
Do you have a company or business owner you look up to?
I work with a Buddhist meditation coach and I would say she is definitely the person that I looked up to most and she‘s an entrepreneur. She put herself to school and she is trained in Buddhist meditation, is also a mom and is self employed. She’s someone who is truly connected to what she’s doing and gains a lot of joy from sharing her knowledge with her clients. I really looked up to her in that way.
Where do you see yourself and your company in 5 years?
I really think we are just at the very very edge of what will be a really big movement with connecting the mind and body connection. I think food is a really good medium that makes the connection stronger. I’m really excited to see how not only the rest of the world will start to become aware of this and invite it into their daily rituals and practices with food, but how our product beyond soup will evolve.
What do you do to make your day more successful?
I really try to prioritize myself as much as possible. But the other element that is really, really important is making sure that you dedicate time to your own emotional and physical health.
What is your secret online tool?
The whole team uses Slack which is amazing. You can upload files for review, you can do some longer posts and chat. We use it to edit all of our labels and to give feedback on blog posts.
What is your business book that you recommend?
Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith. I haven’t finished it but he’s an executive coach and he’s worked on a lot of huge corporations. I like it not only for myself as a business person and a leader, but also for an understanding of habits and habit formation. It’s all about how a lot of us want to evolve or change or adopt new behaviors that will get us closer to where we want to go or keep us on the path where we want to be going but it always seems so difficult. It’s also about identifying the different triggers and environmental elements that are going on around you that will either keep you in one place or derail you. It also has really practical advice for recognizing triggers and shifting your personal perception or reaction to them so that you can stay to your path towards your goal.
Share one thing about you that your customers don’t know.
I bet my customers don’t know that I’m not vegan.
Where can we find you?
Monday March 7th is the last day to enter this month’s podcast giveaway! (2 jars of Wild Friends Nut Butter, Variety pack of 7 soups from Splendid Spoon, 1 bag of Blissful Eats granola and Thinner in 30 by Jenna Wolfe) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!
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