We had the good fortune of connecting with Maggie Norris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maggie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I love this question because I have never been afraid of taking risks. I make decisions quickly with very little information and go from there. I believe that if you stay in your comfort zone you don’t give yourself the opportunity to see what you are truly capable of. I think fear of failure keeps people from taking risks. The chance of failing has never scared me. This is absolutely not because I think I can’t fail. It is because I am more afraid of the regret of not trying than I am of actually failing. Every step that has gotten me to where I am has been some sort of risk. From enrolling in culinary school within weeks of my first cooking class to leaving a six figure salary to take on Whisked Away full time. If it had not worked out, I could never say I didn’t try.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Whisked Away Cooking School is a home-based cooking school for the hobbyist cook. Or that is what I would have said in March. Since the pandemic, I have learned that Whisked Away is not limited to cooks in Arizona. Zoom has opened up a completely new stream of students all over the world! Regardless of if I am teaching an in-person class or a Zoom class, what sets me apart is that I give my students tips and tricks that will help them make their time in the kitchen more efficient. I try to make cooking relatable to everyone. I think that is why I have so many return students. One of the things I love to hear is when people tell me they have made the recipes they learned in class for their families. It makes me so happy that they left with the confidence to cook at home! I have learned so many lessons over the years not only about running a business, but about myself as well. For those people who like to cook, but can’t fit a class into their schedules I do post recipes and kitchen tips on Instagram every day!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am definitely food-focused so we would be doing a lot of eating (and drinking)! I also like to be outside so we would be doing some hiking and/or running as well.
Day 1 we would start out with an overnight in Sedona. The first day we would do some wine tasting followed by dinner at Elote.
Day 2 would be a morning hike down to Oak Creek with a picnic breakfast. We would head back to Phoenix for a little down time before dinner at F+B.
Day 3 would start out with a hike at the 32nd & Lincoln trailhead followed by breakfast at Chestnut at The Vintage. A little retail therapy would be in order and our first stop would be Frances. Working our way back up Camelback we’d hit Muse and Local Nomad at Uptown Plaza. We’d finish up at UrbAna on Camelback & 44th Street. Dinner would be at Beckett’s Table with a drink at Little Woodies afterwards.
Day 4 would be an early morning drive up to the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. After our hike, we’d hit JJ’s Delicatessen on Pinnacle Peak & Scottsdale Rd. for breakfast or lunch (depending on when we finish our hike). We’d have a lazy afternoon by my pool and then head to Soi 4 for some of the best Thai food in the Valley.
Day 5 we’d walk from my house to the base hills of Camelback Mountain. It’s a beautiful walk with great views of the city! After our walk, Essence Bakery would be in order. The croissants are the best. I think a late lunch at The Farm Kitchen at the Farm at South Mountain would be perfect if the weather was not too hot. I am sure we would walk around and stop by their retail store, Botanica. That evening we’d throw on comfy clothes and head to JT’s Bar and Grill for some beer and wings. They seriously have the best wings.
Day 6 We’d go for a quick run or walk on the canal and then get ready for brunch at The Canal Room at The Scott Resort. We might stay at The Scott for a pool day or head back to my house and hang out at the pool there.
Last but not least, we would head to Postino for an early dinner and a nice bottle of wine.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yikes! There are so many people who played, and still play, an integral role in my success. I would say the group of girls who asked me to do that first class out of my home in 2009 are who I’d like to dedicate this Shoutout to. They still take classes once a month 11 years later and they continue to support me through the ups and downs of owning a business. They are constantly cheering me on, spreading the word to people who don’t know about Whisked Away and giving me new ideas. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know that there would be a Whisked Away Cooking School. The person who got me started on my culinary journey by giving me cooking classes as a gift deserves a huge thank you as well. I don’t think she could have imagined that the gift she gave me 21 years ago would have led to this. Finally, my husband and my daughter play a huge role in my success. They are incredibly supportive and tolerate having hundreds of strangers in our house each year.