Shontelle Pinch: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Shontelle Pinch, mastermind behind Toronto’s hugely popular Gourmet Bitches food truck. What was the inspiration behind her career route? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Where shall I begin? I’m a cook – I won’t say chef as I don’t have culinary training. I do my own marketing/social media with the assistance and collaboration of my talented and closest friends. I’m also a truck driver; yes, I said truck driver! My day-to-day activities consist of preparing and cooking great gourmet food with healthy options for Toronto’s wonderful citizens. We park our truck in varying locations around the city to service the general public, including private property and street-side locations. We have also serviced corporate lunches, weddings and birthday parties around the city.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I knew food was my calling. The passion and sheer love I possess for feeding friends and loved ones is undeniable, so starting my own food company was easy. I have a beautiful daughter that inspires and motivates me daily.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my day is experimenting and creating unique and exciting dishes, which is why my customers love Gourmet Bitches oh so much! The most challenging part is not having the ability to legally park/roam the city streets and sell our offerings to Torontonians, who are increasingly demanding more choice in the street food options currently offered.


What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Why my work/life balance is off? It’s easy… I’m a tad bit of a perfectionist and more often than not I try to do everything myself! Although, I’m still in the infancy stage of my business, which requires my personal attention to detail in order to ensure the quality of my brand/food is excellent, consistent and representative of who I am. Once I’m confident that every recipe and business process is perfect and uniform, I think I will be able to delegate more to my staff so I can focus on my personal life and growing the business. However, I still love to cook, so its part for the course.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself continuously working to grow the Gourmet Bitches Food Company. I also see myself in speciality food and beverage distribution. I’ve recently completed my first gourmet hot sauce, which I believe is in a league of it’s own. I see myself developing and producing specialty food and beverage items that I plan to make available through gourmet grocers and boutiques.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
One major challenge I’ve had to overcome was being thrown into a “man’s world.” I over came it by learning every nook and cranny of the food truck business. For example, understanding my truck is a restaurant on wheels and all the mechanical problems that come with that. I feel like an auto mechanic, constantly checking the battery, oil, propane and gas lines. You name it, and I’ve had to learn and understand the mechanics of it to the best of my ability. Also, not having anyone to answer to can have its pluses and minuses. There is only you to blame when things go wrong. We’ve all had moments where we said, “I’d like to not be the boss right now, let me get a 9 to 5 job and not have all the responsibility on your shoulders”…but then you shake it off and say, “Was I Nuts!? This is too rewarding and exhilarating to do anything else.”   

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
I feel like I’m already successful. I’m doing what I love which = happiness. I believe money comes naturally when you do what you’re passionate about.  


What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The most memorable milestone to date is sharing what I love to do with a beautiful little girl named Kaiden who has been diagnosed with cancer. Kaiden loves cooking and dreamed of working in and owning a food truck, which prompted her teacher to write me an email in hopes that I would visit Kaiden so we could cook together at her home. I suggested that if her health was up to par she join us for a lunch service at The Sony Centre of Performing Arts. She was in total disbelief and utter shock! Kaiden worked the whole shift from 11am to 3pm with the biggest smile on her face. It was my best moment yet!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Find what you love and make sure you give it 150%. Remember: nothing comes easy, hard work and perseverance are keys to success. Don’t let anyone tell you NO. Surround yourself with like-minded and positive people. Leverage your existing social and business relationships and always try to grow and maintain a strong personal and professional network that consists of mutual respect and selflessness. Always try to help those in your business, because you never know when you may need theirs.

Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
My favourite place to wine and dine would be Foxley because I believe they were the first to turn Ossington into what it is today, and because his selection of menu items is right on point for what I tend to love in food and beverage.


When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Anyone that knows me would say at hot baths and in Korean spas. Just last week I drove to my favourite Korean spa and it was out of service, so I looked over to my girlfriend and said “Scandinave?” Without letting her respond I merged onto the 400 North and drove to Collingwood. I believe in a balanced life. You have to make time for your mind, body and soul.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
To date, Bali, Indonesia. It met all my requirements for my one-month getaway. Weather, landscape, locals, adventure, cuisine and, last but not least, SPA TREATMENTS. 

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
It would have to be Midnight City by M83. It was released around the same time I launched Gourmet Bitches. Almost each and every time I got behind the wheel of that big black truck it was my go-to tune. I exude happiness when I hear it.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t doing Gourmet Bitches, I’d be in the health and spa industry. My favourite in Canada is Balnea in Montreal. It’s what I believe we’re lacking here in Toronto. You can guarantee I’ll visit Balnea at least twice while travelling in Montreal. Like I mentioned above, balance is extremely important and it goes hand in hand with the food and health industry.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’ve worked with several different organizations and charities in support of the Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Royal Ontario Musueam, and Geneva Centre for Autism. There’s not one organization more important than the other. I try to participate and give back to the best of my ability.

What to you is notable?
Notable to me is creating my own destiny. I believe life is a little bit of luck and mostly hard work. I’ve been living by a quote I came across recently: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Samuel Goldwyn. 

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone… I will admit, I feel guilty not supporting Canada (BlackBerry).

Top photo by Tony Cicero Photography
Hair/makeup by Ritual Hair Skin Beauty

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