Morgan is currently a senior at Laurel School and a member of the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum. Morgan became a local sensation at age 14 and again at 15 when she appeared on The Food Network’s cooking show, Chopped. She now has her own catering company, creating and preparing personalized dinner and cocktail parties for clients large and small.
What was your inspiration for starting your business, and how did it develop along the way?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve also always loved to cook. I have vivid memories of me as a kid, creating fake businesses – usually a futuristic cupcake shop or something similar. At the age of seven, I started “Morgan’s Mutt Munchies” where I made and sold organic, healthy, and personalized dog treats. I donated all the profits to the Humane Society – almost $1000 over two years! This was really my first introduction into the true power of entrepreneurship. Over the past couple of years, I have combined my passions to form my own catering company, where I work with individual clients to personally cater any event. I’ve also recently taken on a huge extracurricular project: writing and publishing my own cookbook.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
By far the highpoint has been appearing on The Food Network’s Chopped – first in August, 2015 and again in March, 2016. I’ve watched the Food Network from a very young age, and had made it a goal to someday make it on TV. The fact that I was able to do so at such as young age was absolutely incredible! It will always be a standout memory in my life.
What important steps did you take in establishing your business?
Looking back, two steps were absolutely vital. First, getting some real world experience. Second was establishing mentors in the culinary and cookbook-writing industries. I truly don’t think I would be where I am today without their guidance and support.
What has been the most challenging part? The most rewarding?
My time working in some of Cleveland’s best restaurants as a prep and line cook have been both the most challenging and the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. The restaurant industry is far from glamorous, and the work can be excruciatingly hard. Prepping different ingredients or standing over a burner for hours can be extremely meticulous and sometimes downright boring! But seeing my work pay off through the finished dish is extremely rewarding and watching the joy someone gets when enjoying my food makes all the hard work worth it.
Any words of advice for other budding entrepreneurs?
Yes – my main advice is to plan ahead! In my catering company, it is critical to plan and prep products ahead of time. However, good planning vital for every business, and will save you a lot of stress in the long run. If you break down a long task over several days, it is much easier to accomplish on time and maintain the same quality work. Planning is particularly important when balancing school and work, which can be challenging at best. I try to view my business – particularly the cooking and prepping – as a refreshing break and change of pace from my schoolwork.
Who has been the most influential person in your business life so far?
Definitely my mom, thanks to her constant advice and investment in my early company. I would not be as accomplished as I am today without her professional guidance and support.
Do you think people are born entrepreneurs or that entrepreneurship can be learned?
Anyone can be an entrepreneur, all you need is an idea and something you are passionate about!
What would you like to learn next?
I’d like to expand my culinary repertoire, so I can provide my clients with an even broader list of possible dishes.
Who would you most like to meet?
Jacques Pepin, (French Chef and pioneer TV culinary expert), who I admire so much.