Meet Chloe St-Cyr, Founder of MiumMium
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]S[/dropcap]exism in the food industry is rampant. From servers having to deal with inappropriate comments from customers to chefs who make less money than their coworkers because they’re women, it’s all infuriating, but for so long it’s been accepted as just part and parcel of the industry. Chloe St-Cyr isn’t about to accept it anymore. She’s a professional chef turned entrepreneur who’s using her talent and prominence to advocate for fair treatment of women in the food industry. This week, we chatted with Chloe about her brilliant business and how feminism informs the work she does. [divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]
Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do.
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]M[/dropcap]y name is Chloe St-Cyr and I am a chef and entrepreneur. Late last year I founded MiumMium, the largest online community marketplace of affordable personal chefs. We are often called the “Uber of the culinary world.”
I have years of professional culinary experience, but have loved creating innovative meals my entire life. When I began working in the culinary industry, I noticed that many chefs have a difficult time making a decent living. It got me thinking – why not provide chefs an outlet to share their talent, test out their creativity and make extra money on their days off? This is where MiumMium was born! MiumMium’s goal is to change consumer behavior and get people to consider it a normal activity to have a chef come cook in their home. Who would have thought five years ago that spending the night at strangers’ homes would become as natural as booking a hotel? Airbnb achieved this, and MiumMium will do the same. The ultimate goal is to have people turn our brand into a verb: “It’s my birthday, let’s MiumMium this weekend!”
It’s also important to me that, as a female, I present myself as a representative of all women in the culinary industry. I’d love for my success as a chef, and my new role as an entrepreneur, to pave the way for other female chefs and businesswomen. I know I won’t rest until women are perceived with equal respect in the culinary industry.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
We love that you're taking on the male-dominated food industry from the inside – can you tell us a bit about how feminism plays a part in what you do?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]o me, feminism means equal treatment for all. At MiumMium, that means all genders, races and sexual orientations are treated fairly and equally, and respected as chefs regardless of their appearance or preferences. Pay and prestige are based on experience and talent alone. Additionally, we ensure a lack of discrimination by not asking chefs to disclose their gender when they join our online community. It simply doesn’t matter to us.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
What advice would you have for other women who might be frustrated with their own male-dominated industry?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]M[/dropcap]y advice is simple: Remember that you’re here to do a job, to perfect your skills, to learn and to further yourself as a professional chef. There’s an inherent male preference in the industry, and it’s hard not to notice – especially when it affects your paycheck. However, we are getting closer to fair treatment and I’m excited about it! MiumMium is proof that a female-founded and operated company can thrive in the food industry.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
What's been the best part of running your company so far? The most challenging?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]he best part of starting and running MiumMium is the connection I make with my peers. I’ve been able to have conversations with chefs of many different levels and locations throughout the world. I’ve picked their brains about what they want to see in an online marketplace, and formed relationships that will last a lifetime. I’m also lucky enough to have the freedom to take my company in the direction I want to see it go. As previously mentioned, I want MiumMium to be different, to take a stand on social issues, as well as thrive as a successful business. I’ve been so pleased to receive positive feedback and opportunities such as this interview to help spread the word about gender equality in the workplace, and for that I am so grateful.
When it comes to a startup company, there are many challenges – I won’t deny that! I’ve worked many late nights and early mornings and my mind is constantly occupied with new ideas and my desire to make MiumMium as successful as it can be. I know a lot of the chefs in our “tribe” (that is what we call our group of MiumMium chefs and clients!) rely on MiumMium to provide connections and a supplemental income. I don’t want to let them down.
However, the positives greatly outweigh the challenges, and I am looking forward to seeing MiumMium succeed for years to come.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
Any plugs or upcoming initiatives our readers should know about?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap]’d love for Feminist Wednesday readers to stay in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter! We frequently post new menus, introduce new chefs and announce new cities and countries where MiumMium will be offered. We also have a reality television show in the making, and you have my word that woman will play an important role in the production of the show! At a high level, the show will aim to surprise individuals who have endured hardships with a free weekend in a beautiful rented property with friends and family along with a lavish, gourmet MiumMium dinner for all. We’re still in the early stages of planning, but we’re eager to see this come to fruition.