We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Curry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The why behind my business is that I spent about half of my childhood with my grandparents, and my grandmother was an *amazing* cook. She loved to feed as many people as possible, and got such joy from other people eating her food. She definitely passed this joy onto me.
After my mentor in culinary school did a seminar on a personal chef service, I was completely in. It’s a way for me to do my own thing, stay out of the restaurant world, and actually make a difference in other people’s lives. My grandmother inspired me to do just that.
We’ve learned so much about the benefits of real food, and the harm that processed and fast food does to us. It’s my belief that almost all of the health problems this country is facing, both mental and physical, could be fixed by changing our diets away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and get back to eating real food cooked from scratch. It’s my mission to set this change in motion.
What should our readers know about your business?
What sets me apart from others is that I had a very unique journey to getting into the career that I was meant to be in. Back on May 31st of 2009, and 31 years of age an aneurysm ruptured in the right frontal lobe of my brain. This was far and away the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
At the time, I was working as a billing administrator for an excellent tech company, who provided great health insurance, and disability insurance to all their employees.. I was living just off of Bowles and Wadsworth, so the ambulance took me to Swedish hospital, a level 1 trauma center, where I had a neurosurgeon working on me withing *45* minutes of the rupture, which is amazing. Between my young age and my fast treatment, my doctor was very aggressive in how he handled me. I was put into a medically induced coma, where I was for about 2-3 weeks. Because of his care, I came out of the aneurysm with very few mental deficiencies.
I have some short-term memory issues, which isn’t too much of a problem anymore. The big one that kept me from driving up until about the fall of 2014 is that I have a left vision field cut, meaning I have no left peripheral vision. Plus I have spatial orientation issues, so I get lost easily. Plus there’s another issue…what it is…oh yeah! I have some short-term memory issues, which really isn’t…(kidding!!! I love doing that joke in person)
I say the aneurysm was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I mean it. Because I had disability insurance, I’ve been getting $2,000/month in disability benefits since the injury. Plus, once I got connected to Social Security Disability I discovered they have a program called Vocational Rehabilitation. Their main focus is in helping people who’ve become disabled get back to work; often by paying for us to go back to culinary school.
At the time, the only culinary schools in the city were the private, for-profit schools, so I want to the Art Institute of Colorado, where my Bachelor’s in Culinary Management cost about $100,000, paid in full. I was very lucky to be able to go there, as I got a *fantastic* education there, including the mentor I mentioned earlier, that guided me to becoming a personal chef.
Finally on the aneurysm, I believe that one of the best things you can possibly do is to *almost* die. 😉 This changes your perspective on so many things, makes you realize what’s really important, and changes your focus on how you should live your life. I look back on the person I was before my aneurysm, and I’m not proud of who I was. It took that experience for me to become the person I was always meant to be, and couldn’t be more grateful that it happened.
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.
First, it’s not exactly *in* the city, but everybody who comes to Denver *must* visit Red Rocks, preferably seeing a show there. There’s nothing in the world like a show at Red Rocks, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every time I’ve been there.
Next, there are so many fantastic restaurants and bars around the city, you have to check them out. I’m a huge fan of the 16th street mall, since there is just such a communal experience there with all the people, walking place to place, getting along surprisingly well. I’ve been all around the country, and haven’t found a place friendlier than Denver, or an outdoor experience like the mall. It can really highlight what makes Denver work.
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?
I’d like to shoutout a nonprofit group here in Denver, Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute(RMMFI). Their business mentorship programs have been fantastic, and have done a great job of helping me both grow my business, and plan for the future.