We had the good fortune of connecting with Juli y Juan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juli y Juan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The idea of Juli y Juan’s Kitchen has been an evolutionary process for the past ten years. Since we started dating we decided to combine our passions for food, health and Philosophy. We used to sit and drink a beer or two and talk about the idea of re-incorporating love into food. We believed that our society has become so practical that the old ways of mastering something was disappearing. The old ways of cooking were a thing of our ancestors. So our adventure to bring the spirit of cuisine started. We quickly realize that love into food was not the only ingredient missing, that this road was going to be a long-steady and evolutionary process for us. Our combined culinary adventure started in the country of Colombia creating workshops in a little countryside home in the hills outside the city of Medellin. During this workshops we started to learn about the creative process of food and its impact on people. Flavors, enthusiasm, laughter… It was wonderful, but we did not know how to manage a business, and our little endeavor lasted as much as our savings were able to hold. The second process of our adventure started. Learning the managing side of a culinary art business. We moved from Colombia and a few years later, we ended by the grace of life in Fort Collins Colorado, where we have reside for the past five and a half years. We decided to start a catering company while we figured things out and what started with one small event a month, has turned into a eighty to over one hundred events a year, from catering weddings, to corporate events, private parties, open fire cooking, private chefs and now our latest efforts are going into opening our own kitchen where we will be able to have our own space to share our food with the wonderful community of Northern Colorado, specially with Fort Collins. As I was mentioning, when we left Colombia we did not knew anything about having a business. Living in USA has forced us to understand about financials, bookkeeping, marketing, advertising, and all the importance of being part of a community. Which have been wonderful to the evolutionary steps of Juli y Juan’s Kitchen. We have come to realize the great importance of a business in a community. So we have set our sail into that direction. Now we take our business as a community business by providing not only great quality food, but also supporting anything local that we can get our hands into, so we can all grow stronger together. We have realize also that we are a beacon for students who need flexible weekend jobs. This has been one of the greatest gifts, as when you learn to cook and perform in an event, you also learn patience, equanimity, compassion, steadiness, love, joy, hard work, perseverance and many other great ethical qualities. We’ve been given the great gift of teaching. It has been amazing to teach one to one, with the idea of making us all better to confront for any situation in life not only just on a culinary one. Our thought process for our business is in this paragraph we wrote: “Our promise to you is the same as the promise to ourselves: to do everything we do with love and passion, to always prioritize the quality of our art, to operate professionally and with an open mind, to constantly search for new ways to learn and improve, and finally- to be ourselves.”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We believe we are old souls. Mostly because we have an admiration for ancestral ways of life. We strongly believe that the way we used to learn and pass knowledge had a much more fulfillment sentiment into the craft and to our apprentices. So this is what we believe set us apart and what we are most proud of what we do. That while we continue to enjoy life lessons, we get to share them as well. Professionally we got to where we are by growing slowly and focusing our attention into delivering quality into our food experiences. We both are big nerds who love knowledge since we were kids and we have kept that passionate innocence for learning. It has not been easy at all, but it is in those difficult moments that we get to test everything we have learned, so we are grateful to have challenges in our path. We believe we have overcome those challenges with patience, humbleness, love, dedication, and perseverance amongst some ways. Some of the most important lessons in our adventure together have been to accept the flow of life, to learn from the flow and to adapt and be ready for the next lesson. We have learned that happiness is a choice that we can all make every day, and that life is a constant ebb and flow and although we have no say in it, we can decide how we react to it. Our philosophy of life has impacted our culinary growth in a very positive way, as we are always humble to learn new ways of cooking, new recipes, new ingredients, and we are always open to share our knowledge. We would love the world to know that our brand is about sharing great quality and tasty food and about expanding our experiences by incorporating the different culinary arts and philosophies from all around the world. We are a teaching company, we hope that the kids that we work with and the ones that one day will be working with, be in for a treat of culinary arts and philosophy of life next to us; just the same way our ancestors used to teach us.
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.
We would definitely take them to one of the latest places in Fort Collins that we love called The Regional. Their food and drinks are fantastic, it’s local and with tons of love, passion and kindness. They also love to experiment and try new foods, and for us that is such a relief. That would take care of Friday Night. Saturday we would make some delicious sandwiches and head for a hike into the mountains of Horsetooth reservoir. The view from the top is spectacular!!! Later at night we would go to Social. Which is an underground bar that has such fantastic drinks and great appetizers to go along with it. Then we would just walk downtown Fort Collins and listen to musicians play live and maybe get one more beer in one of the patio places. There are many great to choose from. On Sunday, we would hit a liquor and sprouts super market store and buy some Prosecco, OJ and head home to make some delicious chilaquiles and mimosas. And to end the weekend perhaps that night we would go and see a movie at Holiday Twin Drive In Theatre. Eat a hot dog, get some popcorn and some twizzlers. We would then head home and be grateful for such a great weekend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our story would not be where it is without the help of so many mentors, friends, family and clients. I think the best place to start is Sereno, which was a wonderful place that allowed Juli and I to work together for the first time. We had amazing mentors that taught to us the arts managing clients for about 8 years. Here in Northern Colorado definitely Kim & Alan Strope who were responsible for our stay and for the introduction to our great community as well as the ones to give us the confidence to launch our business. To John Robson our favorite photographer, which has been able to capture our essence throughout his lenses. Also to John Hunt, who has been with us since the very beginning and was the best mentor behind video cameras, and has always find amazing ways to tell our story through videography. To Francis Mallmann our favorite chef, for teaching us how to master and follow our heart regardless of what people think of our direction. But mostly to our parents, because nothing happens in life without their love and support. To Penelope our four legged companion, which her heart has been essential to our endurance in every adventure, good or bad. There are so many people we are thankful and although we cannot name them all we are very grateful for their love and for always believing and supporting us.
John Robson www.johnrobson.photography