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I jumped at the chance to sit down and talk shop, specifically food, with Aimee Schulhauser, CEO and owner of Schoolhaus Culinary Arts, Tangerine and Evolution Catering and Fine Foods. I had only attended one cooking class at her Regina based school, but I left with newfound skills and an eagerness to learn more about the delightfully endearing and lighthearted woman who made me laugh out loud several times in our few short hours together. Before I knew it, we were knee deep in conversation sharing our mutual love for 80s music and Hanabi sushi, and equally, our distaste for raisins and orange zest. As anticipated by the end of the interview, I was completely inspired by Aimee’s journey, most especially by her work ethic; passion and ability to capitalize on opportunity by using her trusty gut feel approach.

cement future steps for her career. “Catering is a nice starting point if you want to start your own food business.” Though she was in a vibrant city with an undeniably growing food scene, it wasn’t where she would settle. One day her husband said, “I don’t want to live here anymore.” Admitting he had the shorter end of the stick as far as work satisfaction went, her partner who was unhappy with his job and tired of commute times, urged Aimee to consider a return to Regina. After four years in Calgary, in 2004, the couple returned home. The move wasn’t without fear however, as Aimee remembers equating home as a place where she lived as a student and on a student budget. She wondered at first how her career as a chef would fare. But ever so quickly, she refused to let fear deter her instead turning her

I just kept collecting magazines and reading cookbooks and trying out new recipes and it soon got to be where that was all I wanted to do. “I love food more than the average person,” Aimee leads in, as we trace back to where it all began. This simple statement leads me to believe that she must have had a lifelong obsession with food, inspired by great cooks along the way, learning from multiple mentors. But none of this is really the case and surprisingly, she didn’t grow up behind the apron. Raised in Cupar, Saskatchewan, Aimee concedes that though she grew up in a household where really good food was being cooked all the time, eating was much more of a utility. It would take a move away from home to Regina, a mere four days after graduation, when Aimee’s real foray into food would begin. “My love for food started in university and I never looked back,” she explains. While finishing her degree in Geology at the University of Regina, another passion began stirring. In her nonchalant humorous fashion, Aimee explains that she jumped into cooking out of necessity. “It [dinner] didn’t just appear on the table when I got home, so I started buying magazines, trying out new recipes.” She was hooked instantly, admitting, “I just kept collecting magazines and reading cookbooks and trying out new recipes and it soon got to be where that was all I wanted to do.” And again, ever joking Aimee shares that Cooking Lite was her favourite magazine, noting that for her “the Freshman 15 was the Freshman 25.” This double-pronged approach where she could cook and feed herself well, enabled Aimee to make healthier choices.

attention toward looking at the move home as an opportunity. “I didn’t know it at the time. Of course though, it’s been the best move,” admits Aimee. It took a while for her to get a game plan together. Starting out small, she catered high-end appetizers out of a church, which rented by the hour, made for a “colossal amount of work.” To supplement her part-time catering income, she worked in a call centre so not to get sick of the food scene. It was the perfect place for her to realize that her future would be self-made. “My office job made me only want to do food more.” It was motivation enough to kick planning into high gear. “I did a ton of research,” she says, noting it was her scientific side coming out. Needing the data to support her next move was crucial. “Anything with such high overhead and high failure rate - its necessary to do your homework, or it’s a given you are going to fail.” Between compiling demographic studies and market research, attending workshops at Women’s Entrepreneurs and joining Regina Women’s Network, she pounded the pavement networking and recipe testing. “That was my favourite part,” she says with a smile. Within one year, she was so busy with catering that she was able to quit her call center job and work as a chef full time.

With a newfound desire to focus on food, she decided to finish her degree and then follow her heart. And at 26, as a mature student, she attended cooking school at SAIT in Calgary.

With an economy that was just starting to pick up, the timing was right for starting up in Regina, even more so than Aimee first recognized. “Starting out here is easier than starting out in a city that is more established,” shares Aimee. “I was able to do more things from my entry level point. Start up costs were reasonable and space was available downtown.”

Leaping into her studies, Aimee knew she was in the right place. “I wanted to cater,” she says, explaining how her first internship post studies at high-end catering company, the Red Tree Kitchen, helped

The pieces started to fall into place for the ambitious caterer with the opening of Evolution Catering in November 2005. From there began an incredible growth trajectory.

FOR SASKATCHEWAN WOMEN | VOL. 4 ISSUE 9, SEPTEMBER 2015 | 9

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Pink Magazine - Vol. 4 September 2015  

PINK Magazine features women who are making a difference in the province through academia, sports, business and charity. With Saskatchewan b...

Pink Magazine - Vol. 4 September 2015  

PINK Magazine features women who are making a difference in the province through academia, sports, business and charity. With Saskatchewan b...

Profile for compass