Today we’d like to introduce you to Maggie Norris.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My love of food started early. I grew up in DC with parents who were foodies before it was a thing. They also happened to be great cooks so I was exposed to lots of great food from a very young age.
It wasn’t until I graduated from college and moved to Phoenix that I really started cooking for myself. I loved it. I was given a gift of cooking classes and, despite having a plan to go to graduate school, I knew in my heart I wanted to teach cooking. My path immediately changed.
Within six months, I was enrolled in culinary school in Scottsdale. I graduated at the top of my class and went on to do an externship at the Food Network in NYC. I returned to Phoenix and began teaching cooking classes. I was also the regional chef for Dacor and I taught in-home private cooking classes. In 2004, I switched gears and went into sales. Although I wasn’t cooking full time, I was still doing cooking classes in people’s homes.
In 2008, we moved into a new neighborhood. Shortly after we moved in, a few of the girls in the neighborhood asked if I would do a cooking class for them out of my home. I agreed and we all had a great time. That was the night Whisked Away was born. I thought other people might want to take classes out of my house so I created a website. People started slowly coming in which was just fine because I had a full-time job plus now I had a six months old daughter. Everything changed in 2010 when Groupon contacted me and asked if I wanted to be featured on their site. I really had no idea what they did, but I said yes. To make a long story short, I sold 1200 Groupons in less than 12 hours. Needless to say, everything changed overnight.
Over the next 13 months, I had two full-time jobs plus a toddler. I was working 16 hour days and I was exhausted. The thing is, I knew I wanted to teach cooking so just I kept going. Eventually, I got busy enough that I had to make a choice. It was easy. I chose Whisked Away (with the full support of my husband). That was December of 2011 and I have been doing it full time ever since.
Has it been a smooth road?
Looking back over the last ten years, I feel like it has been a relatively smooth road. However, it’s a little bit like childbirth: you forget how excruciating labor was because you have a beautiful baby to show for it!
The first biggest challenge was adjusting to my new “income.” I left a lucrative sales job to pursue Whisked Away so we had to make some lifestyle changes for me to be able to do that. It has been worth it from the start, but it was definitely challenging for the first couple of years.
A more recent challenge was the flood we had in our kitchen in 2018. We had to move out of our house for four months which meant no cooking classes. I was petrified that I would lose what I had worked so hard to build. I grossly underestimated my clients. I am actually busier than I have ever been plus I have a brand new kitchen! It was also a great chance for me to rebrand and reset my goals for Whisked Away. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for the business.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Whisked Away – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Whisked Away has evolved over the last ten years but at the core I teach group and private cooking lessons to the hobbyist cook. As a whole, I am most proud of creating a welcoming and cozy space in which anyone can feel comfortable cooking & eating. I love that both novice and well-seasoned cooks can come and learn something new, have fun with their friends and enjoy a great meal together.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I have to be honest. I couldn’t stand Phoenix when I moved here in 1999. I am an East Coast girl and I was in a serious state of culture shock. It took me a few years to warm up to Arizona, but I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I have come to appreciate the desert landscape and love the view of Camelback Mountain I have from my kitchen windows.
Although I don’t get out much since I work most nights, I think our food & beverage scene is pretty phenomenal. There are so many amazing chefs who are killing it and the craft beer/brewery situation is right up there as well.
I also love being able to be outside for most of the year. I am a runner and you can find me on the canals just as often as you will find me at the grocery store. With that said, when the heat starts pounding us in June, I bail until August. I can’t handle the extreme heat.
- Public Group Cooking Classes start at $65/person
- Private Classes start at $360 for 4 people. It is an additional $45/person after that. Classes max out at 8 people.
- Website: www.whiskedaway.net
- Phone: 480-330-6525
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/whiskedawayaz
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/whiskedawayusa
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/whisked-away-phoenix