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

Hi Jessica, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking has been and will always be a fundamental piece of my career. I am only 23 years old and without taking risks I likely would not have pursued my passion at such a young age. I started my career post-college in the entertainment industry. Upon graduating from New York University in 2019, I had dreamed of becoming a big, bold Hollywood talent agent. I quickly realized that it was not the glamorous profession I had dreamed of, and, rather, the 8AM-11PM work day 6 days a week caused burn out and depression very quickly. I was able to find out that it was not entertainment that drove me to that profession, but, rather, the ability to gather and chat with incredible people. In the midst of an intense work environment, I found myself daydreaming of the dinner parties I wished I had the time to host with all of the new friends and colleagues I had met.

At the same time, I was lucky enough to be invited to a dinner party cooked by a friend’s private chef. The evening was magical – passing plates, bottles & stories back and forth for hours without any of the stress of cooking on your own or any regard for the time. From then on out, I wanted to create a way for people to have easier access to this intimate experience and get together more often, which is my true passion in life.

I took a risk. I quit my stable job in entertainment after only 2 years in the industry. I left behind the stability of climbing the corporate ladder for a life of entrepreneurship. You spend the majority of your adult life at work – why not do what makes you happy day to day? Is a job making you unhappy? Find out what does make you happy and how you can monetize it. Although taking a big career risk comes with careful planning, sleepless nights and endless hard work, it is far more worth it to me to put my time, energy and soul into a business that fulfills me to my core everyday. I continue to advocate for my business daily through risk taking – pitching to friends and family for funding, cold calling strategic partners to offer my services to their connections and even maxing out my savings. I am motivated by the potential of my business and will risk what is necessary for Host with Grace to flourish into all that it can be. I know that risks are necessary for success and that the worst that can happen from any of my failures is an opportunity to learn.

What should our readers know about your business?

Host with Grace is a platform that connects you to world-class private chefs at the click of a button in the LA, OC & Ventura County area. Hosting can be a stress & we want to take the hard part off of your plate. Our mission is to bring people together over great food and great conversation in the comfort of your home. It is a full sensory experience that will make you filled with joy for life’s greatest pleasures – ingredients from the earth, delicious food & unbothered time with people you love. Book on the form on our website (app coming soon!). Your chef will come bearing groceries to cook, plate & clean your custom made meal your home.

Our goal is to make this experience more common & accessible to foodies, party goers & lovers alike. You can think of us as your new go to. Highest quality ingredients from local farms and guaranteed spectacular service all while accommodating to your budget and allowing you to book with ease. People are often intimidated to book since hiring a private chef is traditionally uncommon and highly expensive. This is exactly what we are working against. Our customers will be surprised by how affordable and accessible this experience truly can be.

Our chefs are highly-skilled, food lovers who share our love for sharing good food with the world. our talented chefs come from cooking schools, restaurants & personal referrals. Each chef is personally vetted, background-checked, trained & tested by members of our team before ever entering your kitchen. Our chefs are passionate about the food they put on your table & you will be too. their cooking philosophy is united by highlighting quality ingredients but distinguished by the unique ways they play with flavor and the experiences they bring to the table. Our chefs & professional grocers are highly trained to be picky when grocery shopping to ensure that we provide you with quality foods that are not only good for the soul, but the community around us. We are dedicated to purchasing local from farmers markets and local specialty stores to reduce our own carbon footprint.

For every meal, we donate 5% to a charity of your choice. We firmly believe that change in our world starts at the dinner table. You can chose a cause you care about from our charity list when booking and turn your good deed into a meaningful conversation starter. Gather with friends & give back – dedicate your dinner to a cause you care about.

We care about our chef community. Average chef salary is $28k a year for a full-time job. This is barely enough to cover food and rent in most US cities. On top of this, thousands of chefs have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 with no backup way to make money and the industry is known for constant turnover. We want to empower chefs to make more money & have the financial stability to achieve their dreams. Having an alternate way to make money on the side will allow chefs to save to buy a house, travel or even start their own business.

I started this out of a love for the simple things in life – long nights at the dinner table making memories over food with the people I love. It was inspired by my Cuban-Mexican-American upbringing where I was lucky enough to experience endless nights around the dinner table surrounded by incredible homemade food prepared by my abuelas. When I started to host more on my own, I realized I didn’t have the zest or time for hosting and cooking for groups like my abuelas did. After experiencing a magical dinner party prepared by my friend’s personal chef, the experience gave me the same sense of being present for life and all it has to offer that I had been so lucky to experience when my grandma’s hosted dinner for us. From then on out, I wanted the private chef experience for every event I hosted from there on out and began to think – Why isn’t the practice of hiring a private chef more common & accessible and how can I pave the way for this to become an easy hospitality option for modern-day hosts? I set out to create a way for people to have easier access to this intimate experience and get together more often.

We are a brand new startup and with exciting growth ahead of us. I hope that you will give Host with Grace a try for yourself one of these days or at the very least this inspires you to get together with your people more often – slow down, crack a bottle of wine and eat something delicious.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
LA is bursting with exciting places to show friends and I pretty much beg any friend from out of the area to come down and let me play tour guide for a week. Some must-do’s might include a beach day, scenic hike, a quintessential CA day trip (Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Santa Ynez Valley, etc). I’d like to plan some restaurant & cocktail bar visits around the different parts of town we could visit – Gjelina (Venice), Hatchet Hall (Culver City), Broad Street Oyster (Malibu), Night + Market Weho (West Hollywood), Tilda Wines (Silverlake), Sol y Luna (Encino), Kismet (Silverlake), Scopa Italian Roots (Venice)… the list goes on. On the final night, I’d have to finish the week with a special Host with Grace dinner hosted at my home in Marina del Rey where the chef can cook either farm-to-table California cuisine or the chef’s specialty (my personal favorite!) while we savor our precious time together.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My company is a direct product of my love for the people that surround me. The story of Host with Grace was born from Cuban-Mexican-American roots and truly begins with my abuelas. At least once a week, my abuela’s invited everyone over – cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, anyone was invited – to spend time together at the table enjoying their homemade food. My childhood was spent with a constant flow of people and, of course, enjoying beautifully prepared food. Lucky me, I know! They were the glue that kept our huge family together and they instilled in us their passion for human connection over the dinner table. I have them to thank for the mission behind my company. Our mission is to bring people together over great food and great conversation in the comfort of your home. I also would not have had the courage to start this without the endless support from my boyfriend, family and friends. It is the long nights I have spent gathering with them around the dinner table that are ingrained into the why behind the brand.

Website: hostwithgrace.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hostwithgrace/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hostwithgrace

Image Credits
1. Maly Mann @mother.supper on IG (for photo 1) 2. Jessica Bazan (for photos 2-6) 3. Hannah Ann @hannahann on Instagram (for photos 7 & 8)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.