We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis Armijo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was very fortunate that I grew up with a father who was a business owner my whole life. I saw how he was more fulfilled and prouder of what he did compared to many people who worked a 9-5. He was always able to be there for my brothers and I because he was his own boss. I always knew I didn’t want to work for anybody and wanted to create something unique and fun. I had worked in sales for many years and got burnt out, even though I was self-employed and created my own hours I knew as a business owner I would be able to work with a team. My greatest joy has been collaborating with many different people in the culinary industry. I have learned so much from others and have felt very accepted in the food industry. I think with business my approach is people over profit. My business on paper is providing cooking classes and food tours, but if you dig deep my business is relationships and building connections. I will never lose sight of that.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Phoenix Palate started as a fun cooking club called” Wannabe Chefs’. Myself (Alexis) had just moved to Arizona from Texas and wanted to meet people in a fun way. Growing up Mexican, food was always something that brought people together, so I thought I will start a cooking club! I promoted it on the “Meetup’ app and it quickly grew. Along the way I met my Co-founder Amanda and we started teaching classes here and there for fun. The members started demanding more classes more frequently and that’s when we realized we should make this a business. We started with just us instructing all of the classes, which was challenging because I am not culinary trained and I was running out of dishes to teach. Amanda is a culinary trained pastry chef so she preferred to teach baking classes, so we decided we needed to contract out other chefs so we could broaden the classes we are able to offer. We found that having a very diverse group of chefs is what has set us apart. We have classes that you could never find anywhere else like Caribbean, Afghani, and Vietnamese to name a few. I have always been huge into traveling and enjoy going to markets and trying different things everywhere I go. So, in addition to our cooking classes, I added food tours to our list of experiences. With the tours locals and tourists could try some of the best food The Valley has to offer and the tour is being led by chefs which makes us the only chef led food tour in town. We are still very new and have a lot of growing to do, but I feel confident that we will put all of our hearts into this company and we will grow exponentially. Some lessons we have learned along the way is that we can’t please everybody however we will never compromise our quality of work, we could easily nickel and dime things but we are trying our best to make sure our classes are affordable but still have high quality ingredients, equipment, and top-notch customer service. I believe what sets us apart is we aren’t just providing culinary experiences but helping people learn history, culture, and finding a way to make connections regardless of beliefs, age, or any other differences. Food is truly a universal language to bring people together.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would say that Downtown Phoenix, Tempe, and Arcadia have some of the best food in town. As far as fun places to see I think Arizona has such a beautiful desert landscape. I would have people check out Camelback mountain, Desert Botanical Gardens, and if they have time drive up north to Sedona to see the gorgeous red rock mountains. As far as an itinerary goes, I would improvise, a lot of it depends on the time of the year and weather also. During the springtime or fall time it’s great to just be outside. Rooftop bars, farmers markets, even just casually walking around Downtown Phoenix checking out all the local art is such a fun time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to give a shout out to the whole Phoenix Palate team especially co-founder Amanda Rubio. Our team is made up of a dozen chefs who saw the vision of building a unique business and jumped in! Also, to all the local restaurant owners, and venues who have collaborated with us.
Linkedin: Alexis Armijo
Facebook: The Phoenix Palate
Yelp: The Phoenix Palate
Youtube: The Phoenix Palate