Owning a Business is a Lifestyle, Not a Job

When deciding whether or not to start her very own catering business in 2008, Elaina Vazquez asked herself a simple question, "Is this really what people want?" The answer was inevitable.

Don’t burn bridges with past employers, those
are the people that will help you the most.
— Elaina Vazquez

Boutique Bites is a creative, custom catering and events company specializing in the mix of stylish food and exceptional presentation. Starting out as a one-woman show, Elaina did it all, from the cooking and baking to the serving and presentation. She started with smaller parties, but as word spread of her phenomenal food and impressive presentation, she knew it was time to expand her business and hire on more help. But, the ambition for Boutique Bites didn't stop there.

In 2015, Vazquez answered her client's wishes of being able to host creative and custom catering events at her very own space. By opening an 8,000 sq ft commercial catering kitchen in the West Loop, Boutique Bites had just brought a fine dining background to the business of catering. It was this collaboration that Elaina identified the catering business was missing.

There was a gap in the market for fine dining catering.
— Elaina Vazquez

When asked what advice she would give to other founders Elaina stated, "Owning your own business is like a lifestyle. Approach it that way. It's not a job." But, she also stresses the importance of her network and the help and support from people in the culinary industry she worked with in the past. "Don't burn bridges with past employers and keep your contacts," she advises, "those are the people that will help you the most."

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