Ellen Bennett now owns a multimillion-dollar kitchenware company.
If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at someone who enthusiastically told you to, “Fake it ‘til you make it!” then Ellen Bennett’s story is for you.
Before Bennet became the owner of the multimillion-dollar kitchenware company, Hedley & Bennett, she worked as a line chef at Bäco Mercat, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Los Angeles. She was driven, yes, but she couldn’t have predicted what the future had in store.
One day at work, the head chef mentioned to a then 24-year-old Bennett that he was ordering a new batch of aprons. The thought of working another shift in the “cheap, shitty, scratchy” aprons—more reminiscent of a hospital gown than the uniform of culinary artists—pushed Bennett over the edge. The average person in this situation would’ve given a simple, yes or no. Not Bennett.
“Chef, I have an apron company!” she blurted out. She did not. Though, she knew then and there she could do better. “I just knew that I really hated our aprons!” she says to Glamour.
Bennett’s rise from line cook to powerhouse entrepreneur is a testament to her optimistic, can-do nature. She recently released her first book Dream First, Details Later, which gives a glimpse into how she became an outfitter for some of the world’s greatest chefs and restaurants. As the title suggests, the book is for dreamers, hustlers, and frankly, anyone guilty of overthinking.
Ahead, for our latest How I Eat At Home, Bennett shares the money tip the transformed her life, her savory obsession, and the “zippy” food that she just can’t get enough of.
Glamour: What four staples are always in your pantry/fridge?
Ellen Bennett: Lemons, always. I'm committed to the cause with lemons. Olive oil, always. Butter, always. Flaky salt, always. No matter what ingredients you have, if you have those four, you can make miracles happen. You have the acid and you have a little bit of flavor. You can sauté with it. You can pour it on top and make a dressing. It's such a good base for a lot of stuff.
What music do you listen to while cooking?
I'm really into Angus & Julia Stone right now. I also love Buena Vista social club, if I need some chill music. But if I'm hustling and got to get things done, Arcade Fire, for sure.
Do you sip anything while cooking water, wine...a cocktail?
When I'm cooking I’m like a camel. I love drinking water. I always have an absurdly large jug near me. It’s the size of my head. I also always have a Mason jar full of powders and elixirs. My team is constantly asking, “What are you drinking now?” Because I like to drink my nutrients. I'm a big smoothie lady.
What’s your all-time favorite food?
I love lasagna and I love tacos. I feel like both of them are very much my comfort food. Oh and I'll throw one more in: Shepherd's pie. Oh my God, it’s so good. It reminds me of my Mexican and my English heritage, because in Mexico there's a ground beef dish called picadillo, which is very similar.
What’s an edible impulse-buy you can never resist?
Chips! I love Chica's Corn Chips, they're coated with soy sauce and lime juice. Have’a corn chips; Cape Cod’s Sea Salt & vinegar chips. I just can’t stop.
You have $20 to spend at the farmers’ market. What do you buy?
Depending on the season, I would get peaches, plums, nectarines—some sort of juicy stone fruit. You can convert those into so many different things. I’d get some yummy Tuscan kale, the kind that's gigantic. I’d already have the oil and lemon at home, so I don't need to get those. I’d also get a couple of shallots. Since it’s a farmer’s market, they’ll be fresh out of the ground and a little more zippy in flavor. And then if I still have some money left, I'd get a few Honeycrisp apples.
What’s the number one money tip that made you change how you think about money?
Growing up we had limited resources. My mother had to be very frugal and something she always said was, “We're not going to spend more than we make!” I also have a brilliant uncle who's been in the toy business for a long time and has survived every recession under the sun. He said the same thing to me and that when you do have money reinvest it back into whatever it is that you're doing so that the money can grow, whether it's a business or, [your own betterment].
What dish/food did you cook the most in the pandemic?
I ate my weight in tacos last year.
What your favorite app on your phone?
Crop Swap. It basically tells you about a bunch of farmers all over the place and shares what crops they have. So you can buy or swap from them. The app is very basic, but it connects you with farmers who can use extra help. I love this app!
Marquita K. Harris is the interim culture director for Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @marquita_harris_.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Marquita K. Harris