We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Tashman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I grew up LOVING butter. I’d spread it on toast, use it to bake a simple cake, and even sometimes would just lick it off the spoon. I used butter as a spread, and never really thought about the power of cooking with butter.
After a series of concussions while playing football in high school and college at the University of Miami forced me to quit my playing career, I decided to become a chef. I had always loved food and cooking, and was looking for a similar kind of team structure and camaraderie that I missed from athletics.
In culinary school and while working in fine dining, I learned all about butter and it’s profound presence in fine cuisine . Chefs use butter to elevate flavor in virtually anything, including proteins, vegetables, and pastas. While it may sound crazy, butter became somewhat of a lifestyle for me – I couldn’t cook without it, and I couldn’t stop thinking of different ideas and flavor combinations. I often wondered why the butters found in supermarkets and grocery stores were so limited in flavor and variety – the butter aisle was in dire need of a transformational brand.
For years, I experimented with recipes and lived with the idea of Churn relentlessly in my head, before I eventually decided that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t pursue the concept seriously. I founded Churn in February of 2020, with the mission of transforming the way people think about butter, and haven’t looked back since!
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?
I learned throughout my life that I perform the best when part of a team. In athletics, as a chef, and now with Churn, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to surround myself with others who balance out my strengths and weaknesses. During our first 2 years, I’ve had to put on just about every hat around the business. But I’ve learned that without great people around you, it’s difficult to sustain any amount of success over time. I know that being part of a great team brings out the best performance in me, and I’m most excited to build that kind of collaborative ethos within Churn.
Other than that, I get excited about seeing the small, incremental stages of growth in building out the brand. It comes in many ways, but the most rewarding is feeling it when interacting directly with customers, which often comes when working a farmer’s market. That’s my opportunity to explain the story, intimately connect with people, and build a small community. Since the Covid restrictions lightened in July, and sampling is now permitted, customers are finally allowed to try our butters at the markets. The positivity we receive, in words (and faces!) when people taste all of the flavors is so empowering. Our mission with Churn from the very beginning was to transform the way people think about butter. When I get to see people’s reactions, hear how much they love cooking with our butters at home, and build relationships upon that, it’s like seeing your dream become a reality in real time.
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.
Los Angeles is so special to me, and not just because I was born and raised here, which makes certain parts of LA feel very nostalgic. The city is so rich with culture, cuisine, and natural elements – I like to think about a hypothetical dream day that is mostly irrational and unrealistic logistically because of traffic and time… but if actually pulled off, would be absolutely legendary.
– Lodge Bread in Culver City for an early coffee + breakfast
– Manhattan Beach for surf + beach chill
– Irori Sushi in Marina Del Rey for lunch
– 18 holes somewhere in the afternoon
– Parks BBQ for an early Korean BBQ feast
– head to a Laker/Dodger game, whichever is in season.
– get al pastor tacos at Leo’s Tacos truck.
– then get ice cream at Salt and Straw, and wrap up the night with a nice glass of red wine in my own backyard.
Assuming there would be more time, here are some honorary mentions that would have to be included in the itinerary…
* Langer’s Deli for a #19
* Paseo Miramar Hike in Malibu
* Surfing in Malibu then getting Burritos at Lily’s in Malibu
* Bike the Ballona Creek Bike path
* dinner at Guelaguetza
* Jitlada for Thai
* Baycities for a Godmother
* grab seafood at Santa Monica Seafood
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve received so much love and support from family and friends over the years, but if I had to shout out one individual person, it’d be my father. He’s always been unconditionally supportive of me throughout my life, and now, as my business partner with Churn, he’s become supportive in a more professional sense. Having his expertise and mentorship by my side, as a business owner for over 4 decades, has been invaluable for the growth of Churn. My father worked with his father for over 20 years, and they had a lot of success together, so I like to think we’ll follow in those footsteps. We have a tremendous amount of mutual respect for one another, and have a good understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. We balance each other out well, and also have a lot of fun together when we’re not working. He’s my best friend, and there’s no one else I’d rather start a business with!