How Barrie Schwartz changed the face of the New Orleans food scene

By September 13, 2017For Companies, For Talent

When you think of New Orleans, you think history, music and of course…food.

Lousiana is known for its amazing Creole and Cajun cuisines but there’s a lot more to this city than gumbo and muffuletta.

One entrepreneur is bringing chefs, food trucks and restaurants together to cater for events as small as a back yard wedding or as big as a national convention.

We caught up with Barrie Schwartz, Creator Awards winner to find out more about her company, My House Social.

 

How would you describe My House Social in a nutshell?

I would say that we offer local culinary experiences for high volume events. We’re a service for event planners, venues, destination companies, conferences and conventions.  We don’t just do events in New Orleans anymore, we’re all over. We can help anyone who wants to create a multi-faceted foodie experience at their event.

How did My House Social come about?

I am originally from outside Detroit, Michigan and I moved to New Orleans right after I graduated college.  I started organising food truck festivals all across the city with different non-profits and community partners. I also started organising pop-up events with chefs and that was how I started working with the food community and local culinary entrepreneurs. 

In 2012, Microsoft reached out to us to do an event and that was sort of the light bulb moment. I realised that there are a lot of really cool culinary entrepreneurs and there are also a lot of event planners and venue managers but there are not many people connecting the two worlds.

Where did the name come from?

Originally we were showcasing all these different food vendors at my house so that’s where the name started but now I think that we want people to create their own event and we want everyone to feel like it’s their style. Everything we do is very customised. So I think that’s why the name works.

Has food always been a passion of yours?

I’ve always worked in restaurants on the side. I studied English literature at college but I’ve always been passionate about utilising food as a way to bring people together and create a sense of community.

What does your team look like?

I am the founder and CEO and I have a partner who does our operations and finances. We have a brand manager and we also have a Louisianna manager who helps to manage our current events and do some new sales at venues and stuff like that. We also have a social media person. It’s been great we have had a lot of growth recently.

From left COO Danielle Lee, Louisianna manager Katherine Bowler and founder Barrie Schwartz.

What is the best part of your job?

I would say the chefs that we work with and their amazing stories.  It’s great to feel like we’re making a difference in their business. There are so many brilliant chefs but what they are good at is food. It’s very clear that we provide a service for a lot of them because they don’t want to go out and find those high paid private event business and that’s something that they rely on us for.  I think that’s definitely my favourite part. Getting to hear all of their really different and diverse stories.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Every day is different. It’s definitely hard when people are planning a convention for five to twenty thousand people. They want to work with people that they trust so getting a foot in the door can be hard. Definitely, convincing people who have been working with the same caterer for a really long time to try something new is a big sell but one that is super worthwhile.

 

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your business?

I guess I wish people knew everything that is involved in coordinating and making sure that things are flawless on the day of the event and how much work there is on the back end to make things look seamless.

What do you attribute your success to?

Hard work. I would definitely say hard work. Having a vision, being persistent and being intuitive is important too. Find a gap and a service that is needed and make sure no one else is really doing it.


Read more about social entrepreneurship.


All photos courtesy of Ollie Alexander.

Author Alice Murray

Alice Murray is a Content Creator at Jobbio with a passion for Employer Branding and Graduate Culture. She's a keen traveller and a self-proclaimed lazy runner.

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