Matthew Stockard: “Perfect the recipe and do a shelf life test”

Perfect the recipe and do a shelf life test. Find out how long the product will last on the shelf. As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Matt Aka Matthew Stockard. Chef Matt’s passion and diverse […]

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Perfect the recipe and do a shelf life test. Find out how long the product will last on the shelf.

As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Matt Aka Matthew Stockard.

Chef Matt’s passion and diverse knowledge as an executive chef led to him overseeing International, multimillion-dollar restaurants for one of the world’s largest luxury hotel chains. Japanese sushi restaurants, Teppanyaki restaurants, Italian, and even Las Vegas-style buffets were all part of his extensive culinary repertoire.

Living in Los Angeles, CA, Chef Matt’s international experience led to cooking for Hollywood celebrities, entertainers, actors, comedians, and top athletes. He’s catered many top-tier cannabis business events in LA and throughout the U.S., including live cooking demos at prominent Expo conferences. He also recently built a television studio for creating a variety of educational cooking content. To give back to the community, he also works with charities in Long Beach, CA, to train youth for cooking and feeding the city’s homeless population.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

Born and raised in Long Beach, California. Wanted to be a Chef for as long as I can remember. Can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing foe a living,

Can you share with us the story of the “ah ha” moment that led to the creation of the food brand you are leading?

I believe it was 1993–1994 when I made a batch of Cannabis infused BBQ Sauce. In 2015 I was talking to a friend that said “Hey remember when you used to make THC BBQ sauce, I think its going to big.” It’s 2020 and its one of my best selling products.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Trying to create too many sku’s, I bottled up every condiment I could think of at one point. The funny part was looking at all the items after I was done and the amount of money I spent. I learned to grow and scale at a pace and not based upon what you want.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a food line? What can be done to avoid those errors?

I’d say originality and packaging. You could have a great product and drop the ball with the labels. I’d say really study the market and look at competitors packaging.

Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to produce. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

Perfect the recipe and do a shelf life test. Find out how long the product will last on the shelf.

Many people have good ideas all the time. But some people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How would you encourage someone to overcome this hurdle?

I’d tell them to just go for it. Nothing comes to a dreamer but a dream. Chase that dream don’t just dream about it.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

I’d suggest doing it yourself unless it’s something that requires a professional. Kind of depends on that what the product is. I think every situation is different.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Again that’s a case by case situation. Some products might require raising capital and some you might be able to bootstrap it. I’m all about bootstrapping in the beginning before going out to raise capital. Prove proof of concept first and it will give you more bargaining chips.

Can you share thoughts from your experience about how to file a patent, how to source good raw ingredients, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer or distributor?

Research research research, and then more research. You can never over prepare for any of those. Look for a mentor or a friend who has expertise in that area you might need.

Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Great product
  2. Great packaging
  3. Great marketing
  4. Great price point
  5. Great customer service

Can you share your ideas about how to create a product that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?

I think it’s about finding a niche market for the product you are trying to create. Coming up with creative ways to market your product too. I created a Habanero Honey and a Cinnamon flavored Honey that flies out the door.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I try to mentor as much as I can. We give back to our community by feeding the homeless and teaching job skills to high school kids. I also try to spread positivity through my cooking videos.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’d say spending time as a family cooking. I believe that cooking as a family is a great time to discuss your day and other great topics. Valuable time that should be taken advantage of.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

No, I just enjoy great conversations and food. Wouldn’t matter to me their background, amount of money, or line of business their in. Status doesn’t always equal a good person or great conversation.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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