Sunday, October 17

Local chef wins first prize in the YES business contest

Taylor Pogue hopes to grow Buttery Foods, her convenience food delivery business.

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Presenting her meal delivery business plan to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors took five minutes and was stressful for Taylor Pogue, but it paid off for the 26-year-old Beaconsfield native when she was awarded first prize at the inaugural show. ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator led by YES, a non-profit organization that provides resources in English to help Quebecers find employment and start and grow businesses.

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The top prize was a $ 10,000 grant to spend on her two-year startup, Buttery Foods, but more than that, the experience gave Pogue, trained in Cordon Bleu, access to established entrepreneurs who guided her and others. nine competitors during the summer.

“The mentoring I received from these incredibly smart businesswomen was incredible. Each week was a different topic: finance, marketing, sales, prices. We worked all summer to build our field presentation, ”said Pogue.

Cooking was Pogue’s passion as a child, but she put that aside while pursuing a career in sales and event management until she realized she was dissatisfied.

“I’m a type of person who has my heart on my sleeve, I totally agree,” Pogue said. “I just wasn’t passionate about what I was doing, so I thought about what I wanted to do as a kid. I have always liked to cook. When I was six years old, my dad would leave me money on the counter and I would ride my bike to the supermarket with shopping bags on my handlebars. I’m sure my parents had to swallow some of the foods I gave them as a child, ”laughed Pogue.

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In high school, a career test showed that Pogue had the aptitude for being a chef. “And I just laughed,” he said. But years later, Pogue was no longer laughing and quit her job when she was accepted into the prestigious Cordon Bleu London culinary school in 2019.

“The food scene in London is five years, 10 years ahead of anywhere else in terms of trends, techniques and good food,” said Pogue, who incorporates Thai, French and Vietnamese influences into his prepared meals.

Back home, Pogue had a student loan and rent owed. He still hadn’t found a job when he told a neighbor who had just returned from London: “He asked me to cook a meal for his family and his word of mouth took off when he told his friends. I worked in my apartment for a year, ”Pogue said, before renting his first commercial kitchen in Pointe-Claire.

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The name Buttery Foods comes from Pogue’s philosophy that a homemade recipe starts with a little butter. The letters byu in the word butter on the company’s website are in bold to mean “be you, your authentic self,” Pogue said.

Stand out in the growing ready meal delivery market, Buttery foods offers breakfast, dinner and lunch box options for kids and is launching a lower priced senior menu and smaller portions. In his winning presentation, Pogue described the scalability of his business: “I think that could have set me apart, but if I had seen all the competitors, I couldn’t choose, they were all amazing,” Pogue said.

About 100 women entrepreneurs from Quebec applied for the pre-acceleration program, which gave Pogue and the other new entrepreneurs the experience they needed to enter the business acceleration programs available in Quebec. The ELLEvate program aims to increase women’s participation in Quebec’s business ecosystem, where women currently represent only 16 percent of small and medium-sized business owners, according to YES.

The most important thing about Pogue’s experience is not holding back and trying something even if it scares you: “Don’t let yourself be the one to say no.”

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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