We had the good fortune of connecting with Keilen Shigematsu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keilen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always wanted to build a company where food was used on the focal point to bring people together and start conversations. The catering and personal chef services were just the initial starting point of the company.
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?
Table Focus at its core is a company who specializes is gourmet global cuisine. We started with catering and personal chef services. And we have since expanded to include private culinary lessons (in person and virtual), culinary consultations, and, most recently, we launched an online ice cream shop and bakery. Growing our business to what it is today was slow, but calculated. My wife Aimee, who is my business partner, and I both work full-time on top of running this business. So we planned for a slow but exponential growth plan over 10 years. With the start of the pandemic, our large catering events came to a full halt. But this is where we were able to look back at our core principles, and pivot to online services, and small restaurant style in home dining. Two of the biggest lessons being in all aspects of the restaurant and hospitality industry. First, there will always be opportunity. Investing in your relationships with your “community” will be the gateway to growing connections and opportunities. Second, you have to put in meaningful work. I do not believe in the “rise and grind” ideal. Create a plan that is realistic with your lifestyle, build on your skills with mentors, and take breaks when needed. Our brand is all about having food be the driver for connection. Bring people in to explore other cultures, and have a fine dining experience without the white collar pretentiousness.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Breakfast is either coffee and sticky bun from Silver Grill Cafe, almond croissant from La Creperie, or pan dulce from Tortilleria y Panaderia Las 4 Americas. Hike in Lory State Park or shopping in Old Town, or hitting up the farmers markets. Lunch at Cafe Mexicali or Beijing Noodle. Walk around CSU Flower Garden or the Gardens at Spring Creek. Take out at Sally’s Kitchen and have a sunset dinner at Horsetooth Reservoir. Or upscale dining at the Emporium. Ice Cream from Walrus or Old Town Churn. Wrap it up with a nightcap from Social, Ace Gillets or the Sunset Lounge.
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 dad is my inspiration to start this company. He is a retired chef who really took time to cook for friends and family outside of work. Food was always a central theme in our family. We hosted large potlucks, or birthdays, etc. And my dad’s food was always the star. People gathered for his food, and he built community because of the food.