We have been wanting to speak with Pat Mulcahy and Joe Nelson of Mass Cannabis Chefs for some time. Their elaborate nomadic edible smorgasboards are fast becoming legend in these parts, and if you haven’t checked one out yet, it’s recommended that you link up with them soon. Pat and Joe are trendsetters in New England, and will been seen as icons years from now when there’s a cannabis cafe on every other corner. With the tastiest holiday of all upon us, we asked about how they got started.
What inspired you to start your company?
Joe: For me it was a need to find a living I could enjoy in what I knew, and what I knew well was food and cannabis. After Danksgiving this past year it was clear what we needed to do and we haven’t looked back.
Pat: My long time love for the cannabis plant and delicious food. Combining the two into a workable business model that can satisfy people on multiple levels.
What defines success at your company?
Joe: Success is twofold, immediate and long term. Short term is the look on our guests’ faces knowing they enjoyed the meal we prepared and hearing what was great for them. Long-term success will be when we no longer must work other jobs and can focus on cannabis cooking full time.
Pat: Short term, simply customer satisfaction. Seeing happy faces at the end of a dinner screams success to me. Long term, joint ventures with other large names in the cannabiz industry and operating on a multi-state level. I would like to see a nationwide platform with chefs in every state operating as a group holding dank dinners everywhere.
How do you give back to the community?
Joe: We do a monthly seat giveaway and we are planning a no-cost veterans event in the near future.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting the business, and how did you move past it?
Joe: For us in the beginning it was getting people to come out and attend a fine dining dinner when they didn’t know who we were. So I guess the real challenge has been making a name for ourselves, something we are still pushing to do with every meal.
Pat: To fix this we started inviting people from the industry out on us. Even if you’re skeptical you can’t pass on a free meal. Then when that meal blows your mind you can’t help but tell your friends. It also allows our guests to meet people in the industry.
What skill, characteristic, trait do you find most valuable to achieving success?
Pat: Determination. There are others with the same idea we have but we’re determined to do it bigger, better, and more consistently.
What do you find is important in connecting with and inspiring others to follow your lead?
Joe: I find that our passion for what we do shows in the food. People see that and want to be involved.
Pat: Sense of purpose. When you know exactly what and how you want something, it’s easier to convey that to others in a way they can follow.
Given the demands of starting a business, how do you still find work-life balance?
Joe: It’s a constant struggle. Even when I’m in full home mode doing things non-work related, if something pops up concerning dinners, it’s hard to not tend to it immediately. At dinner is my only reprieve, I try not to touch my phone when I am out at a restaurant.
Pat: This has been my hardest struggle personally. I still work a regular kitchen job 60-plus hours a week plus a home life. It’s not always easy, but the end goal for our business is worth it.