Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on The Board Chef, a local artisan charcuterie business. It is owned and operated by Annmarie McArthur. Do you have a business you think we should feature? Leave a comment below!
1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
I used to own a large corporate catering company in Austin, Texas, and I loved not only being an entrepreneur, but also the ability to be creative with food: Putting flavors, colors and textures together using exceptional product. When COVID hit and my then-current position in the food industry was looking bleak because of rampant closures, I dug deep into my favorite things about owning my previous company: Food, food preparation, presentation and product. My excitement over preparing charcuterie in an artistic manner kept repeating in my thoughts and notes. Something I love to do and something no one else on the Emerald Coast was doing with product that I knew I could source. The Board Chef dream was created!
2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?
Started business in the Fall of 2020. Spent October in the test kitchen phase, got brave and officially opened on November 1st. One location for now and no employees yet.
3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?
The Board Chef sells “boards” of artisan charcuterie using small-batch, imported and domestic dry-cured meats and cheeses; dried fruits; housemade jams and chutneys; local honeycomb; and, nuts, all presented on 100% natural, fallen palm leaf boards. I currently offer four board sizes (Buoy, Boat, Beach and Bay), several housemade baked goods (the Brownie Hunk!) and a new Kool Kids Board. The bestseller is the Boat board, enough for four, plus grazers.
4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?
Several things make The Board Chef unique. All products sourced are exceptional and some are not even found in the local area. Each board is truly fresh — made to order and one-of-a-kind. The boards themselves are biodegradable and disposable — very lightweight and easily thrown in the trash without guilt!
5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer
The Board Chef is making your gift-giving, entertaining and party planning easy and fun by offering made-to-order exceptional products. Artisan charcuterie is welcome everywhere: In the office, at home, social distancing in the driveway, on the boat … enough for a few or a counter or tabletop graze for a larger group. Add a bottle of wine and you’ve gone above and beyond!
6. What do you love most about your line of work?
My work enables me to be creative every day. Nothing prepared and delivered is the same as any other day. Each board is a different work of art combining different ingredients, all displayed uniquely. It’s like putting together a new, beautiful and fun puzzle every day. Being able to deliver delicious “wow” products is so much fun!
7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?
During COVID, the food supply chain has changed dramatically. Knowing where and how to source has almost become an art form. Large banquet dining has become a thing of the past; customers are looking for unique ways to dine, gift and entertain that don’t include buffets, large parties or even going out in public. Our industry is moving to a smaller and more intimate experience with an approach that isn’t just meat and potatoes.
8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.
Having been in the food industry for as long as I have, with manufacturer and vendor relationships built over many years, I’ve been able to source yummy and wonderful product that no one else in the area is providing. This product along with artistic presentation sets The Board Chef apart from any competition.
9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. This sky’s the limit!
This is nuts, but I am totally inspired by “Shark Tank!” Watching entrepreneurs put everything on the line to such a wide and not necessarily friendly audience inspires me to push through any exhaustion or issue. It inspires me to know my customers, know my numbers, and forces me to set myself and my business not only apart but above and beyond.
10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?
Everyone on the Emerald Coast area has been so kind and generous! The people I have met personally and professionally have been both fun and welcoming. It has been a joy to get to know new people, new businesses and to explore a new and stunningly beautiful area.
11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?
My business isn’t yet involved proactively in the community. Being brand new, the right opportunities for involvement haven’t yet presented themselves. However, I am looking and would like to find the perfect fit that will include feeding people. I’ve been involved with feeding the homeless via Front Steps in Austin in the past and found this work so rewarding.
12. What does a typical day in your business look like? (Pretend it’s Monday (or Friday!) and take me through the highlights of your day.)
Confirming orders and taking orders via multiple mediums. Making sure product inventory variety is exceptional. Baking bites of sweet, like the Brownie Hunks. Making boards for delivery that day — the creative fun part! Working on social media- the “I’m slow and learning part.” Product sourcing. Loving on customers as best I can. Writing thank-you notes!
13. What’s your best “insider tip?” (This could be a community tip for vacationers or homeowners or even a tip for customers related to your business.)
Do something new and unexpected for your guests, friends, employees, neighbors or clients. Deliver something above and beyond that has a wow factor. Set yourself and your business above and apart from anyone else. In the end, it is all about how you made them feel!
14. How do you recharge or relax when the day is done?
At the end of a long day, when I can, I’ll take the time to sit quietly, breathe and enjoy the diamonds shimmering on our amazing Emerald Coast water.
15. Just the deets, please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)
16. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?
I would like everyone to know that I am ready to make your life easy with exceptional yummy product that will put your gift-giving, entertaining and party planning above and beyond what you’ve seen up until now.