We had the good fortune of connecting with evan berger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi evan, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My cousin, Erin. She started a food tour on Catalina Island and at the time, my mom was living there and she called me one night and said, you have go to do what your cousin is doing – it is perfect for you…
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I own a walking and food and drink tour in Santa Barbara, CA. It’s called Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours. I have always had a love of food, Santa Barbara and showing people around. Before I started Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours, I was a technical project manager. I loved my jobs, but felt like I wanted to do something else and wanted to start my own business, I just did know what that would be.
My mom was living on Catalina Island for awhile and she calls me one day and says “Evan, your cousin is starting a business and it has something to do with food. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like you are going to love it.” I was like, um ok. Well, turns out it was a walking food and drink tour and I LOVED THE IDEA. I took a tour and my cousin was telling me the entire time that this is perfect for me. I was like, I don’t know. A few months later, it hit me, this is something I NEED to do. So I signed up for a course on how to put a food tour together and went to Chicago and took this 3 day course.
At the time, I was working full time and put together this food tour business together on the side and ran tours when I “worked” from home and on the weekends. I did that for years and then I was pregnant and my husband encouraged me to quit my day job and focus on the tours. I am not sure that focusing on anything is easy to do when you are pregnant, but I did it, I quit my day job and sort of focused on the tour, I had one guide at the time, so she and I both led the tours and I was also able to be a mostly full time mommy. A few weeks after my first daughter was born, my guide went out of town, so I led a tour, and my mom trailed behind with my newborn so I could nurse her when the guests were enjoying food. I would step outside nurse and hand her back to my mom (I had some babysitters that would help me with this too). It was quite an experience, I was so tired, but I am so grateful my husband encouraged me and that I kept it the tour going. The tour has been through a few renditions and getting busier and now the team has grown to have five amazing guides. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been awesome and now, two daughters later, I am finally able to add more tours for guests to choose from and I am super stoked.
It is a privilege to own and operate a business, and to be able to work with so many locals and I am just so thrilled we get to share some of our Santa Barbara with our guests.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I mean, we will obviously have to take a downtown food tour 🙂 And the rest in no particular order and I know I am going to leave out some of my favorite places
Coffee or my favorite chai tea at Lighthouse Coffee
Wine at Grassini and Cebada wineries
Play in the Funk Zone and enjoy more wine and some awesome food at The Lark
Picnic at The Rose Garden
Walks on all of the beaches
Sushi at Arigato and Sakana
Dinner at Arnoldis, The Chase, Loquita, Milk & Honey
We would have to visit Lotus Land, the zoo, drive around from Carpinteria up to Santa Ynez
An afternoon driving around and walking in Montecito
Green Papaya Salad and potstickers and noodles at Empty Bowl
Bao and JapChae at Secret Bao
Tacos at all of the places
Ice Cream at McConnells
Visit all of the awesome breweries
Watch the sunset from the beach
Then my friend would have to come back for longer, because one week is not enough time to eat and do all the things 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?
My cousin Erin! If she hadn’t taken a food tour and then created one on Catalina Island, I don’t know if I would have ever started my own business. And thank you to all my friends and family who have helped support me!
Facebook: Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours
Yelp: Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours
Other: TripAdvisor: Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours