Today we’d like to introduce you to Chef Maverick Kelly.
Chef Maverick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My name is Chef Maverick, Los Angeles based caterer, private chef and cannabis chef. I began cooking at the young age of five and my love for food has blossomed ever since. Developing my talents mostly through college by working at various restaurants, I am mostly self-taught. I did not realize that I wanted to pursue culinary arts full time until 2016.
At that point, I began catering private dinners for as well as working for Wolfgang puck catering, where I was able to polish my skill set while working there. Eventually moving on and working with other premier catering companies in LA like Patina Group, Fundamental LA and In Good Taste LA where I was the sous chef.
I began seeing this evolution happening in the cannabis industry and people were starting to do more cannabis-infused foods and edibles and as a cannabis consumer and food lover, I was intrigued. I realize the market was full of edibles products but no one was really doing sauces. Sauces have always been my culinary specialty so that is when I had the idea to come up with a line of cannabis-infused sauces.
In 2016 I was also diagnosed with MS and Crohn’s disease so I was put on a very strict diet by my doctor. My Dr. was very against harmful medications and firmly believed that if I changed my diet most of my symptoms would subside. So at that point gluten, and soy became the enemy. I realized that edibles really helped ease my symptoms however due to this new restriction I had to check every label, and at that point, I realized there were virtually no edibles out at that time that was for people with food sensitivities like I had. That is when I got the idea to put out a line of gourmet infused snacks that were exclusively gluten, soy, and GMO-free along with vegan options.
From there Mav Snacks and Mav Sauce were born. I did not have the capital to pay anyone to help me start this venture so I developed everything for the brand by myself. From the logos, the labels and packaging, the website photos and social media content… everything! Because I have a B.S degree in computer science and a background in inside sales, I was able to take everything I learned in school and life and apply it to starting my own business.
I have begun expanding the brand even further by starting to do more gourmet cannabis-infused dinner parties and events. I am doing my first private pop up brunch event this November and this will transition into a pop-up tour for 2020.
Good luck with the upcoming popup brunch! A pop up tour sounds like a great idea, excited to see how you are taking your brand forward. Overall, would you say things have been smooth for you?
It definitely has not been a smooth road for me. As I stated previously, I started this venture with no capital and without capital in this industry, you are going to have a very difficult time.
Some of my products are currently not licensed due to the recent regulatory changes in California, it has made it virtually impossible for the little guy to get into the legal market since the changes took effect this year. You need a minimum of a million – 1.5 million dollars to even try to get a license in LA right now which I definitely do not have. So I am primarily expanding my CBD business since you dont need licensing while working on pursuing investors as well as partnership agreements to take my brand to the next level and eventually getting my products licensed and into dispensaries.
Buzz has spread about my products 95% by word of mouth. People have absolutely been loving the unique things I have been putting out with my weekly features and specials and everyone has telling their friends who have been telling their friends. I am truly grateful for my “Mav Pack” family, they are the reason I have been able to evolve and continue to pursue this dream through generous donations.
Having a strong community and word of mouth is definitely a blessing. What else should we know about the brand?
Mav Sauce / Mav Snacks is a gourmet cannabis-infused sauce and snack company that specializes in vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free products, all 100% hand made by Chef Maverick.
The things that sets us apart is quality. Everything is guaranteed fresh handmade in small batches weekly by Los Angeles based Cannabis chef and caterer Chef Maverick. Only using premium non-gmo and organic ingredients. Every cookie is baked fresh for every order and everything is made from scratch.
I value every customer because most of my patients are suffering with chronic illnesses, cancers, pain, anxiety, and other diseases so it is important to me to give people quality products with quality ingredients that assist them in healing and getting through life a little easier.
The true difference is I genuinely care about people.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I would definitely say I have been lucky for the most part, with a little bad luck and a few L’s sprinkled in there too.
I was lucky to find an amazing extraction specialist that believed in me and taught me everything I needed to know about infusions in order for me to pursue this venture, I was also fortunate to have found my true love and passion in making gourmet cannabis-infused snacks that really helps people. I have also been lucky that people like the products so much they have been spreading the word and I haven’t had to put much into marketing because the product encourages people to do it for me. I am super grateful for that.
However with the gains come losses…I have definitely taken some L’s and losses but that is business! So far I’m taking every L, learning from it and flipping it to a Win.
Images are done by chef Maverick and Rachelle Burchette