Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Feher.
Heather, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey has been an exhilarating zigzag of trial and error, of successes and failures, and of breaking free of my own limiting beliefs to get to the point I’m at today. I discovered cooking at my lowest point, and for a long time it was the only thing that gave me purpose – it was the only thing that made me feel alive. I immersed myself in my career to drown out the rest of my life, making it a point to work for many of the chefs who inspired me the most – Grant Achatz, Alex Atala, Geoffrey Zakarian, Gaston Acurio, and Jean Georges, among others.
As I started to heal, I began to see possibility everywhere. Every job was a stepping stone and a learning experience. I absorbed the good and the bad until I felt confident that I knew enough to take a risk and make the jump from full time to freelance. I worked mainly weddings and galas, taught classes at a few adults and corporate education centers, and occasionally spent months at a time on tour with various bands and musicians as their personal chef.
I stayed here for a few years until I learned the seasonal patterns of the food industry, and then in 2014 I took the plunge and registered Black Cat Culinary as an LLC, focusing on creative catering, private parties, and popups. I was sick of cooking for others – I wanted to experiment and make cooking fun and exciting for myself again. The journey took a lot of surprising turns – from cooking for celebrities and politicians to cooking for black metal bands in Norway to street food festivals in Halifax.
I moved from Boston to Los Angeles in 2016 and continued to find opportunity in unexpected places. In 2017, a good friend’s rideshare conversation turned into an R&D job with a local cannabis company. Several other opportunities followed, and in 2019 I decided to fully rebrand as a full-time consultant/R&D specialist.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My main struggle along the way has been my own mind. For the majority of my career, I was plagued by depression, anxiety, and c-PTSD. I was unaware of this for years, and the road to today has been paved with a lot of self-doubts, imposter syndrome, and self-inflicted misery.
I spent a lot of my early career feeling guilty for my own successes and downplaying my experience and achievements. Breaking free of that has opened up so many doors in my life and has truly allowed my path to illuminate itself.
It is a neverending series of challenges – you have to truly love the thrill of problem-solving to make it as an entrepreneur.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Black Cat Culinary – what should we know?
As a food and restaurant consultant, my main objective is to help clients solve a problem – whether it’s revamping an outdated menu, conceptualizing something completely new, helping to build a team, testing the efficiency and usability of an appliance or product, or helping to get the word out about a new special or event night.
I am known for conceptually creative, thematic menus and food that’s dramatic, fun, and immersive. Innovation and learning drive me, and I am most excited when the challenge is something I’m not extremely familiar with. I am most proud of the fact that throughout everything, I’ve managed to stay true to my original vision – there have been a few stumbles along the way, and it took a while to get the wording just right, but my ultimate goal has remained clear over time.
What sets Black Cat Culinary apart is the radical desire to push boundaries with food – to play with color, texture, flavor, and sensory elements in a way that’s not often what a diner expects. It’s a refusal to accept mediocrity for the sake of financial gain.
I am also a fierce advocate for spreading awareness about the prevalence of addiction and mental health issues in the restaurant industry on my youtube channel with the intention of understanding WHY it’s so common in the industry and moving to destigmatize these issues and create a calmer, healthier, saner environment for cooks everywhere,
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I honestly could not imagine being where I am today without my sister Krystle and every single one of my friends and coworkers. I have been incredibly fortunate to work with some absolutely amazing people who continually believed in me and lifted me up while I went through frequent bouts of not believing in myself.
I have a phenomenally connected network of creatives that have offered advice, insights, and tips along the way. My friends have shared my info and supported my popups and have given me some of the most amazing referrals. I have a social network that truly looks out for each other and wants to see everyone succeed, and that’s so rare and special.
- Website: www.blackcatculinary.com
- Phone: 3238187724
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/blackcatculinary
- Facebook: facebook.com/blackcatculinary
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM30hlwjsLcIveMwBV277nQ