Joey Grassia – Serial Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Shef

Episode 84

Joey Grassia is a serial entrepreneur, and in particular, a serial *food* entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Shef, which is an incredibly innovative community-based food platform that is providing people the opportunity to sell their home cooked meals. However, before Joey co-founded Shef, he had already founded and sold a couple of other food and beverage companies. Joey was the founder and CEO of Steamm bottled expresso, and the founder of the KUTOA health food brand. He sold both of those companies in 2017, but his entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found Shef just a couple years later. Joey has been recognized for his entrepreneurial success as one of Forbes 30 Under 30, and his passion and drive is truly motivating and inspiring. On today's show, Joey talks about his entrepreneurial path and how and why he has sold companies to make room for new innovative ideas, how he and his team at Shef have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of community, and much more.

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Kara Goldin: Hi everybody. It’s Kara Goldin from Unstoppable. And we’re so excited with our next guest here today, Joey Grassia. So excited you’re here. How are you?

Joey Grassia: I’m so good. Thank you so much for having me. I am really excited to be here and really excited to see you again. It’s been so [inaudible 00:00:21].

Kara Goldin: You too. We are old pals, and from way back when. And I’m really, really excited to have him here to talk about his new venture. And so for those of you who do not know Joey, he is the co-founder of Shef. And so check it out. It’s myshelf.com, M-Y-S-H-E-F. And a little about his background, so he’s a former Facebook employee and Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur. Since leaving Facebook, he has successfully built and sold two consumer food companies and has consulted for hundreds of startups. He’s lived in the Bay Area. He’s lived in Austin. He’s lived in New York, and back in the Bay Area now. Very, very excited to have him back here. And VCs and publicly traded companies, he’s worked with as well. And most recently, as I mentioned, founded Shef, also did a company in between in the food space, so we got to know each other a little bit, called KUTOA, which was awesome. And basically, Shef is a marketplace for empowering talented cooks to really make a meaningful income by selling homemade food in their communities, which is such a great idea, especially during this time when we are recording this during COVID, and coming out of COVID, hopefully. Fingers crossed.

But the company recently raised 8.8 million in seed. Not too bad. And their aim is to really help not only chefs, but also immigrants, refugees, and restaurant workers impacted by COVID. And it’s such a great idea, so I’m super excited for you, and super excited for everyone to hear a little bit more about this. So welcome, welcome, welcome. And so first, tell us a little bit about: How did this all come about, Shef?

Joey Grassia: Shef. Well, I feel like I kind of have to start from the beginning. It’s been a long journey, and you’ve known me for most of this journey, so you may know some of this story. But my journey in consumer foods started way back when I was in, when I went off to college. And I grew up in an immigrant household. I was first generation. We had homemade meals every day, which in retrospect, I think I took for granted, which was incredible. And when I went off to college, I realized I had no clue how to cook a homemade meal. And so I started eating packaged food, fast food, and really whatever was most convenient and affordable for me as a college kid.

And I also at the same time got really into working out. I had played sports through high school, but when I went to college, I no longer had sports, so I got really into working out, went to the gym every day, lifting weights. And after about a year, this all caught up to me. I think many food entrepreneurs have the same kind of story, where we are now trying to better the system, and we all had a very traumatic and sometimes scary event impact us. Unfortunately, we were able to turn these scary and sometimes very devastating events into opportunities to better ourselves and to better the system.

And so for me, that came to a head in my sophomore year in college. And for about a six month span, whenever I would go to the gym and my heart rate would go up, I would have these chest pains and pounding migraines, to the point where my vision was blurred. I couldn’t walk, and I would have to lay down at the gym for several hours until I could move again. And I ended up in the hospital about three or four different times. And they did all these different tests. They thought it was internal bleeding for the longest time. They did a spinal tap, which is still one of the most traumatic events when I think back. I hate needles, and a spinal tap is having a giant needle shoved up your back.

Kara Goldin: Yeah. I’ve had one of those. It’s not very fun.

Joey Grassia: Not very fun. Not something you want to do. And after about six months, they could not find the issue. They could not find the problem and why this was happening. And I finally just met with a dietician and a nutritionist, who asked me, “What is your daily routine? What is your diet like?” And I explained how I went to the gym, and I was eating these different foods. And at the time, I was eating a lot of packaged meats. I thought these were really healthy because there was no fat and no carbs, and it was just pure protein. So from what I was hearing, that was healthy for you. Right? It didn’t matter what it was, it was pure protein. And so it ended up that the nitrates and sodium were causing high blood pressure. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when I was 19 years old.

And I was told by the nutritionist, “You need to stop eating packaged food and fast food. You need to have homemade food. You need to cook for yourself.” And being a college student, I had no desire to learn how to cook. And so I started making nutrition bars for myself out of nut butters and dried fruits and seeds and nuts. And I would sell these kind of on the side to my clients. I actually became a personal trainer when I was really into this whole phase in college. And I had the idea of selling these kind of as a business, as a food business, as we eventually got to, and to donate another bar to someone in need for every bar sold, because like me, many people can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods, so it was going to be like a one for one Toms Shoes type concept.

And like many of us, I took a great idea that I was probably scared to start, and I put it on the back burner. And it wasn’t until I went to go work at Facebook after college, I thought that was a thing I should do. I should join a big company, a reputable company, and get my career started. And not long after I started at Facebook, my mom passed away pretty suddenly from a health complication. And for me, that was a big turning point, when I realized our health is something that we take for granted, so many of us, until it’s in danger or too late. And as much as I loved my experience at Facebook, and I met so many incredible people, I really want to dedicate myself to what we called empowering change by spreading health, that was the mission at KUTOA, the first company I started.

And so I started this company. I launched it a year from the passing of my mom, in her memory, in September of 2011. And I didn’t know anything about food. I think the only mentor I had in the food industry was you, Kara, who helped me so much along the way. We got into Whole Foods within three or four months. I had no idea what that meant. We started dealing with distributors and UNFI and [inaudible 00:07:08]. And for about six years, I ran this company. It was a very traditional CPG brand. We were dealing with retailers. And again, most of my days were dealing with brokers and distributors and retail buyers. That’s the business of consumer food and packaged food.

And in 2017, I kind of looked at what I was doing, and I looked at my days, and I realized I wasn’t making the impact that I set out to make. I started this company because I had gotten sick and my mom had gotten sick, and it was due to the lack of access to wholesome, nutritious meals. And I was dealing with retail buyers at Whole Foods and Costco all day, and this was not making the impact I set out to make. And so I really sold that first company, KUTOA and Steamm, those two brands that I sold in 2017, not because it was financially the best thing for myself, but really because I didn’t think I was making the impact that I really thought I was going to make with those companies.

And the idea for Shef came afterwards, and I spent about a year after I sold those companies traveling the world. I figured the best way to think of a new idea is not to sit in my room and look at the wall now that I sold my companies, but to get out there, talk to people, see what the rest of the world is doing. How are their food systems operating? So I went to all the countries in the world that I thought have better food systems than America. I spent a lot of time in Israel because they have a self reliant food system in the middle of a desert, which is actually quite remarkable, Portugal, Japan, South Africa. And I learned a lot about hydroponic farming and robotics in agriculture and all these amazing things happening.

But the biggest thing I saw was that the communities that had a really high bar, and really maintained a really great diet, wholesome food, nutritious food, had less disease than we have here in America. They had a system that they still had a connection with their food, where it was produced, how it was produced. Who made their food? Who cooked their food? And that’s something that unfortunately in America, we’ve lost over the last 100 to 150 years, especially since the industrial revolution and the invention of preservatives and packaged food in the ’50s. And so I thought, “Wouldn’t this be cool if we could have a community based food system where we cook for one another in the United States again?”

And this is not a new concept. People cooked in their communities and for families for thousands of years. It’s a very novel thing that we no longer do that. And I realized very quickly that was illegal in America. You cannot do that. You cannot cook food and serve it to your community. It’s actually illegal. And many companies have tried to do this, but unfortunately, regulators have cracked down on them and shut them down. And so I kind of put that, it was unfortunate, I put it to the side and said, “Okay. Well, too bad. Let me keep thinking.”

And fast forward, when I was in Israel, I had the great fortune of meeting my now co-founder, Alvin. Alvin is a regulatory attorney. He was working in the White House at the time. And a few months later after we met, I went to go visit him in DC. And I went into his apartment to crash on his couch, and on his white board when I walked in, he had this idea for Shef. And I was like, “Alvin, I have thought of this idea. I looked at it. It’s illegal. You should know this. You’re an attorney. You can’t do this.” And he was the first one who told me that this was going to become legal in the state of California, which it did last January. So that was kind of where it all started. We decided that weekend we want to do it together. We actually filmed our video for Y Combinator that weekend. We submitted it. Fate has it that we got into Y Combinator the day after it became legal in California last January, and the rest is kind of history.

Kara Goldin: And so you went, so you took this to Y Combinator. You didn’t go through Y Combinator when you did KUTOA.

Joey Grassia: Yeah, no. And it’s funny because I kind of went from, as you know, I went from Facebook, and I’m from the Bay Area, where I was born in this ecosystem where when things are broken, you fix them. You move fast. You continue to iterate, learn. And then I went into the food system, which you’re very familiar with. And there are just things broken everywhere, the way we distribute food, the way we, the lack of accountability in the transparency. And that’s what frustrated me. Right? And when I left KUTOA and Steamm, and I sold those companies, I really did not want to get back into packaged food, in the packaged food industry, because I saw if there was going to be change, it really had to be disrupted.

And so we really intentionally created a tech company because we figured tech is the most direct and impactful way to make change. And Y Combinator is obviously one of the best ways that you can expedite your learning as an entrepreneur and make great mentors there, the Airbnb folks and a lot of great partners there. So I don’t even think I really knew what Y Combinator was when I started KUTOA. But for Shef, it’s been amazing.

Kara Goldin: There’s a lot of great people that have come out of there. And Geoff Ralston, who is one of the partners there, Geoff was actually my first investor.

Joey Grassia: Oh, really?

Kara Goldin: Yeah. He always says very proudly, he couldn’t understand why we were starting a beverage company. He’s my next door neighbor up in Tahoe. And he slapped down the first $50,000 when he heard that we were starting this company. He’s like, “I have no idea what you’re doing exactly, but I know you’ll figure it out.” And he walked out of the room. And I was like, “You should really understand what we’re doing. You shouldn’t invest unless you really understand it.” And so Geoff still laughs today. He was like, “It’s just wild.” And he’s such a huge believer that there’s the idea, but there’s also the founders. He’s like, “You can just tell, these founders that are really, the ones that make it so simple to understand, but then also have a great idea, but are also good people.”

So he’s somebody that I really first heard articulate that. And I think it’s so true. I think it’s kindness matters, being curious, things that I think he really looks for when he’s looking for companies to kind of back in Y Combinator to grow. I mean, I think that’s another piece of it. So that was great to hear that you were part of that program because I think it’s an awesome thing to be a part of. So you’re leading a company in the midst of a pandemic, not only leading, but you’re growing. And what do you think are kind of the big takeaways? You actually, I saw on social, maybe you were … Were you in New York during the beginning of COVID when all of this went down?

Joey Grassia: Yeah.

Kara Goldin: Yeah. Tell me about it. Was it nutty?

Joey Grassia: Yeah. I mean, COVID is such a, it’s a crazy time, and it’s devastating for so many reasons. Even internally inside the company, we’ve had teammates lose family members. It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly. And so when COVID first started, and no one really knew what to do and what was happening, I think the general advice from advisors and investors was to kind of wait it out, to pull back, to extend runway, reduce burn rate, and just kind of wait this whole time out. And we did that for about seven days, and then we said, “No, this is our applicant.” So to give you some sense, a lot of our early adoption on our platform, we really were focusing on immigrants and refugees, who are incredible cooks. Right? But because they lack tech, either technical skills or language barriers, they really have a difficult time finding a job in the Bay Area, or New York, or these large cities.

And we wanted to provide economic opportunity for them to make a meaningful income while staying at home with their children, which is huge. Right? And it’s a big part of our founding story. Alvin’s family, his parents are refugees from Iran. They struggled to survive when they came here. My dad’s an entrepreneur as well. He was born and raised in Italy and came here. I saw him go through a bankruptcy as I was growing up, and how difficult it was for him to be an entrepreneur. And so we really started the company for people like that. And there’s so many amazing cooks, like our families. Right?

And when COVID hit, our applicants on the supply side, to cook on the platform, went from four per day, to 40 per day, to 80 per day. And I think right now, we get over 100 applicants to cook on our platform every single day. We have a wait list of almost 6000 people to cook in the Bay Area. And so we said, “No, we can’t just lean back and just take it easy. This is a time we need to step up and serve the community. This is a reason we started this company.” Right? And so we actually leaned in, and we raised some additional capital from our inside investors, just got something done so that we could push harder. We hired. We’ve doubled our team during COVID.

And yes, like you said, I actually flew out to New York. I found an Airbnb with two other teammates. And we launched New York, which is a first expansion market ever. We’ve only operated in the Bay Area until now. And when COVID hit, we said, “Where can we make the biggest impact and help the most number of people right now?” And the answer was clearly New York. Right? So it was crazy, but yes, we all got on a plane. We got a three bedroom Airbnb in Brooklyn, and we were able to launch in New York within 15 days. We’ve now been live in New York for about two months. And there’s so many incredible chefs cooking on the platform out in New York. But yeah, it’s been a wild time for us. We’ve grown a lot. And for us, what we’re really focusing on is just helping as many people earn a meaningful income right now. And that’s not just, previously, the people cooking on our platform, 95% of them had never cooked for money. Right? So they had no idea how to create a menu, or how much to charge, and how to buy ingredients.

And so we really created a core competency on coaching them on how to get photographs of their food, and how to create a menu. But now, a lot of people coming on the platform are not just amateur retirees and mothers. They are professional cooks, line cooks, caterers, people who had restaurants, who unfortunately because of COVID can no longer operate, or have lost their job, or have been furloughed. And so our platform has become the sole source of income for a lot of them. Even now, we have a Michelin chef in New York City, who was furloughed from his restaurant. And his sold source of income is cooking pastries on our platform in New York. So this is not just low income people who were on the line. These are just … We have Michelin chefs who are at the top of their game that have now, unfortunately because of COVID, fell on hard times.

Kara Goldin: Well, I feel like even, I talked to a friend of mine who was telling me her husband was at a restaurant in the mission, used to have a four month wait list. And finally, San Francisco opened up outdoor dining. But in the mission, unfortunately, where they’re located, you can’t really dine outdoors. It’s just not conducive for it, so they had to shut down the restaurant. And so nobody’s really hiring. Right? And so I could imagine that you probably would have a lot of incredible chefs at some of these places. And I was out with some friends last night and we were talking about it.

The weather’s finally, the smoke has cleared in the Bay Area a bit. But come this winter, the rainy season, I mean, I wish we’d have more rain. What are these people going to do as we head into winter? And you look at places like New York too, so I think this is an amazing opportunity for income for lots of great people, but also just overall, I think it solves a problem. So it’s an excellent, excellent idea and time. And like you said, it’s not just for people who have never been chefs before. So go back to kind of how. How are you actually picking people to be on this platform? Or how are you getting the talent to come onto the platform?

Joey Grassia: Yeah. It’s funny. We haven’t actually done any outreach just because we have so many inbound chefs that are applying. And it is a pretty rigorous process to get started on the platform because we do need to make sure you’re properly permitted, you have your license. Every county and every state is different, so we help you with that process and make it very simple. You can get on board in around two weeks, but you do have to take your photos, upload your menu, your ingredients, your reheating instructions because all the food is cold and you need reheating instructions. We help you with photography. We help you with storytelling and bio. We do your head shots for you. And so the main constraint that we’re working on right now is not how to find people, but just how to onboard more quickly. That’s the constraint we have as a business, is making sure we can onboard all these people who are applying.

But most people find out about us honestly through word of mouth, or they see ads for the consumers. And they say, “Oh, I can cook.” A lot of our consumers actually become cooks. You see that happening, where they order and they’re like, “Oh.”

Kara Goldin: I could do this.

Joey Grassia: Yeah. I know someone, or my mother knows how to cook well. Let me tell her about it. So you see a lot of that word of mouth happening.

Kara Goldin: I love that. That’s so amazing. So what is the most memorable meal you’ve had on the Shef platform?

Joey Grassia: It’s funny. If you ask this question to anyone on the team, and we actually ask it as an interview question. What is your favorite homemade meal? But if you ask anyone on the team, and I think if you ask any of our users, it’s actually not … The response is not about the food, or the item, or the meal, it’s more about the story behind it. And for me, my response in the interview was always this dish called braciole. And growing up in an Italian family, we always had this dish called braciole for every Christmas, every holiday. And it really is a labor of love to create this dish. It takes all day.

You take a flank steak and you roll it like a giant sushi roll. And you have prosciutto in there and hard boiled eggs and mozzarella and Parmesan, and so it’s like a gian meatball filled with goodness. And as a kid growing up, I would always look forward to Christmas dinner because we’d get this one dish. We only could have it once a year. And it really is a labor of love, and because of that, I’ve never seen it at a restaurant, definitely not in the US. And I’ve never even seen it at a restaurant in Italy because it’s such a specialty dish that’s hard to make. And when we expanded to New York, and we were living in Brooklyn, we onboarded this chef. Her name was Jessica. And she was born in Tuscany. She immigrated to Brooklyn not too long ago, wonderful woman. And during her, you have to submit samples for vetting and taste testing before you’re approved on the platform, and during that process, I found out she made braciole. And I was like, “Oh, my.”

I couldn’t believe it. I called my dad. I told my dad that there was a chef in New York that was going to put braciole onto the platform. And so my dad insisted that he buy dinner for our whole team that was out in the Airbnb. And this was my last meal I had in Brooklyn before I flew back. And we had this big feast. We bought all this food from Jessica and it was delivered. And it was the first time outside of a family made dinner I ever had braciole. And it’s one of the few times in my entrepreneurial career that I had tears in my eyes. And there’s an actual video of this that I’ll never show the public. But I had tears in my eyes because of happiness, just because this was so special.

And I’ve heard this from so many people before I had it. So a lot of our early adoption was all these chefs cooking South Asian food, Indian food, Thai food. And there were actual immigrants and ex pats from those areas, and a lot of people ordering it were immigrants and ex pats from those areas who hadn’t had authentic food from their region of India, like Kurawa or Gujarati food in years. And they would write in saying it brought tears to their eyes. And I never understood that until I had braciole on the platform. And so for me, that was my most memorable food experience definitely on the Shef platform.

Kara Goldin: I love it. Do you know, I’ve now brought their company up a couple of times, do you know My Place?

Joey Grassia: Yeah.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joey Grassia: I listened to the podcast with the founder, yeah.

Kara Goldin: [Sheza 00:24:43] and Amir. And anyway, they’re married. I knew them actually before. I knew them separately, and then I found out that they met each other and they got married. But they’re kind of the same story. I mean, they found that the most interesting dinner parties that they would have, she’s from Pakistan, and Amir’s Persian. And they’d bring in all these cultures, and then people would tell these stories around their grandparents and how they used to make these certain dishes. And then people would bring those in. And oftentimes, they couldn’t do it because of they didn’t have the pans. They didn’t have the right equipment in order to do that. And so anyway, I think that the stories that they’ve been able to resurrect for so many people has also been a great, obviously great product, but also great stories because I think it just makes people smile and remember lots of things that they think about, as you just described, so that’s awesome.

So what do you think is the key difference between this startup and KUTOA, and maybe just overall, like Facebook and some of the other stuff that you’ve done? I mean, what do you think is the key thing that you see?

Joey Grassia: Yeah. I think one that KUTOA and a lot of other businesses, at least that I had tried to do in the past, and I’d worked on, were really about a product. Right? They were really focused on manufacturing or distributing a product. And it was not so much … And I think I learned a lot in doing that. In Shef, we never really talk about product. We talk about community. We talk about people. We talk about the chefs cooking on the platform. And even as you alluded … And that’s one big learning I had in my first venture, where I was a solo founder, I bootstrapped. I didn’t raise any outside capital for five years. I didn’t have a single employee for five years until they were in 3000 stores. Much different journey working by myself. That came to a head finally after about five years. And I ended up living in the storage room of our warehouse for most of 2016. I don’t know if you know that, but I didn’t pay myself for six years.

Joey Grassia: And at some point, I did run out of money. And I think the biggest thing I learned was you need to surround yourself with an amazing team, and that’s one thing we did really well this time, amazing partners, advisors, investors, and an amazing team. The thing I’m most proud of in our entire business is actually our team, I would say.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome.

Joey Grassia: And then two, it’s just the community and really the reason why you’re building it is not about the product, but it’s about the people. And so I think I loved that podcast about My Place so much because that’s exactly what we talk about at Shef so much, which is I think when we first started the company, we talk about the value proposition of the platform. And it was really about two things. For the chefs, we wanted to provide meaningful access to income from home, to make meaningful income from home, and to do that broadly in a democratic way, so everyone can have access to an opportunity.

And then the second side was on the consumer side, I wanted people, like myself going off to college, to have access to high quality, affordable meals. So on our platform, you can find a full meal for under $10, whereas if you’re ordering from Door Dash or Grub Hub, you’re going to pay $15, $25. I think the average you pay for a single meal is above $20 [inaudible 00:28:32].

Kara Goldin: At least. Yeah. 100%.

Joey Grassia: And so it’s very hard to eat healthy when it costs you over $20, and it’s a restaurant quality meal, which we all know a homemade meal is different. And so I think the one surprise that we found, and really the focus of the company now is not just: Can we deliver high quality, affordable meals, and can we provide meaningful income to these chefs on the platform? We know we can do that. But it’s much deeper than that. What we’ve found and what really excites me right now is that food really transcends boundaries. Right? It’s universally understood. I think it’s a common playing field that we can all meet on and start having discussions and conversations. And so some of my favorite meals on the platform when I order from Shareen, for example, that’s amazing because I’ve never had Egyptian food, so that was incredible. I got to explore Egyptian food for the first time. And I love it, so now I order from Shareen every week.

But also, knowing who Shareen is, the fact that Shareen, whenever she cooks for me, she cooks extra and she donates it to a local shelter in the East Bay. All the things, her story, coming from Egypt and why she cooks, and these dips and sauces that she makes from her family, which are now on the platform. I think that these stories, especially right now when a lot of us are so divided in the US, can bring us together and really create a common ground for us all to have a conversation because I think these are oftentimes people cooking for you that you would not normally interact with unless you were to order food from them and learn their story. And so I think we really try to be very intentional about that.

I mean, one example is we joined YC, and YC of course is a tech incubator. And the first question they ask you is, “Where is your tech co-founder?” And they expect that. My co-founder and I are not tech co-founders. We have no technical background. We have no idea how to code. And so they really say, “Your first hire should then be an engineer.” Our first full-time hire was actually a head of storytelling because we cared that much about the stories on our platform. And that’s why if you go to shef.com, every single profile’s going to have their bio, a video, their photos, and why they chose to cook on the platform.

So I think it’s easy to say we’re more affordable, or we provide income for people. But I think the real reason that people are attracted to our platform, the real difference is the stories behind the food and the connection with the food. And that’s really something you can’t replicate. Right?

Kara Goldin: It’s funny, ages ago, I was just thinking about it. So my dad founded a brand inside of a large company called Healthy Choice. And it was inside of Armour Food Company initially, and then Con Agra. And it was funny, I got a phone call a couple years ago from an advertising agency that was working on the product, on sort of it’s still alive today, it’s one of the top products for Con Agra. And they were looking for my dad, who passed away 10 years ago. And I said, “What can I help you with?” And they said, “We heard that your dad was actually the original packaging for Healthy Choice. He told stories of where the product came from. What were the stories?” And of course as a kid, we found it incredibly annoying that he cared and focused so much on this, but people really appreciated it. And eventually, as time went on, they did away with these.

But stories like he would tell us that the shrimp came from Saint Simons Island, that there were off the coast of Georgia, and that these people actually went out at 4:00 in the morning, and so in order for you to actually have this incredible shrimp, that’s what they felt that they needed to do in order to get the best shrimp. And by the way, he has two kids. He tries to have breakfast with them on Saturday and Sunday. But during the week, he’s committed to his role. People, he would tell these stories, and no one was doing this. He was almost one of the original storytellers. So as so many people have said with Hint, not surprised that this is what you do in terms of telling a lot of these stories.

But anyway, I feel like it’s something that it never goes away, and I think even more so now. And people really, I think being an immigrant today is an important part of somebody’s identity too. And I think that a lot of people, even if they grew up their whole life in the US, they had grandparents or parents that brought over just different cultural items that they always wanted to have. So I think this is such a great idea. And like you said, even exploring, having Egyptian food when you’ve just never even had a chance to do that. And you’re just in the Bay Area and New York right now?

Joey Grassia: Yeah. Currently the Bay Area and New York. And we’re testing a few other markets now and hoping to expand more. And I really love that your dad did that. I think that you maybe don’t credit yourself enough, but you’ve done an incredible job about putting yourself and your story behind Hint. Right? And I think that aside from maintaining our identity and the tradition and the cultural values and having this thing that transcends any boundaries between us, I think the incredible part that’s actually more practical, and you probably see this, is that when you tell stories behind the food, it actually creates a lot more accountability, transparency.

Kara Goldin: Totally.

Joey Grassia: You can’t … Who knows these dark cloud kitchens that are changing names every month in some warehouses? This is happening across the Bay. Right? A lot of people consider that our competitor, and that is not how we ever want to be because first of all, that person unfortunately doesn’t feel the same pride in the food that they’re cooking because they have no connection between them, their food, and their consumer. And second of all, you as a consumer have no idea who’s cooking the food, where it’s coming from. Why? Where? And so I think that besides the fact that it makes us feel good, and I think will build community over time, I think there’s a real practical reason to story tell, which is it creates accountability and transparency. And ultimately, I think that leads to better outcomes for the consumer. I think it leads to better diets. And I think it leads to more pride in the work on the supply side as well.

Kara Goldin: Absolutely. I think that’s so key. Are you guys delivering in Marin County, or do I need to have it delivered to my office in San Francisco?

Joey Grassia: That’s funny. People keep asking. We’re coming to Marin. We are in the entire Bay Area, but not quite to the entire North Bay. And you can actually now go to shef.com, which is much easier to remember. So it’s just S-H-E-F.com.

Kara Goldin: Awesome. That’s great. Well, I can have it delivered to my office in San Francisco, and then I’ll get it from there because I know I tried a couple of weeks ago, and Marin wasn’t open yet. I think it said, “Coming soon,” so I was looking, but that’s awesome, really, really great. So Joey, how do people find you, keep up with you guys and what you’re doing? I mean, obviously, shef.com. But Joey Grassia on most platforms. Which platform are you using mostly?

Joey Grassia: Find me anywhere, just my full name, Joey Grassia, Twitter, Instagram, I use a lot, or Facebook.com/Joey.

Kara Goldin: Awesome. Well, this is so great. And you guys, when you’re listening to this and you like it, please give Joey a great review. And definitely subscribe to Unstoppable. And thank you so much, Joey. Really, really excited that you came on.

Joey Grassia: Thank you so much for having me.

Kara Goldin: Thanks. Yeah, awesome.