We had the good fortune of connecting with Avante Gilstrap and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Avante, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Initially I can’t say there was a thought process behind my business, I just did what I enjoy doing, which is cooking. As a college student at Western Michigan University often times our food options could be very limited. So most weekends I would use my EBT (food stamp card) to fill my fridge with groceries I would cook during the week. I typically invited friends over to cook for them and later post the meals on Snapchat. It wasn’t long before a lot of my friends as well as followers on social media would often tell me to “”create a Youtube” and “sell dinners”. I was skeptical at first, not knowing where and how to start but I was in the business school after all, it shouldn’t be too hard. So as time went on I realized that I truly had a gift, to provide happiness to friends and family though creating meals that were surrounded by lasting memories. I knew that starting a business would take time and effort but could be very lucrative if done correctly. In May of 2019 The Kook Up Catering, LLC was born. I sold individual plates to attract customers and give them a taste of what to expect when ordering catering services. In 2021, we have fed over 1000 people from small gatherings to parties of 100 and more. The goal was and is to provide exceptional service and even better food!.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Kook Up Catering is a premiere catering company that specializes in providing an experience surrounded by great food. We take pride in giving our clients the best food and experience when they book with us. We give our clients the at home love with the upscale taste in all of our dishes. We are excited for the future as we continue to grow our team. It has not been easy to get where we are today business wise. While working full time, being a fulltime grad student, and navigating through a pandemic we are glad to be still in business and serving clients one event at a time. However, as we gravitate to a more normal way of life, we’ve learned that in any business expect the unexpected and that you may need to shift gears to grow. We want the world to remember our name and look out for us in the future!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to everyone that has ever motivated a friend to jump out on a leap of faith and do what they have a passion in. My group of friends, family, and girlfriend have always pushed me to better and encourage me to continue to grow as a business owner and as a person. So Shoutout to everyone that has a great circle of influence that wants to see them succeed just as bad as you do!

Instagram: Thekookup

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/avante-gilstrap/

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