On that first day at the grill he sold 80 burgers – catch him and the team at one of the summer shows now and he can be cooking up to 800 burgers a day. Guernsey’s appetite for burgers is clearly as big as that initial ambition.
‘I’ve always had a massive love for barbecuing – it’s absolutely my favourite way to cook. I knew if I could get the recipe, the produce and price right people would be keen. Guernsey offers up some amazing food in top-class restaurants but nothing like what I was planning so I just went for it,’ said Stefan.
He didn’t give his brand too much thought; a clever nickname acquired because he spent so much time around the barbecue at social events seemed to stick, and CHEFAN was born.
By the end of his first year trading he swapped a gazebo for a custom self-built trailer. Keen to grow awareness, support local events and ultimately give people as many opportunities as possible to eat a really good burger he trades as much as he can and from anywhere the trailer will fit.
With a loyal base of regular customers the queue, or ‘line up’ as Stefan calls it (a little bit of his Canadian influence creeping in), can often be spotted before the trailer itself and if you don’t see the queue you soon catch the mouth-watering smell.
Full of business ideas, Stefan’s drive to be a successful entrepreneur isn’t new – as a teenager he used to run popular nightclub events which gave him an early taste for profit and he introduced a new energy drink brand to the island, running events and selling merchandise.
With a varied career working locally in gardening and as a tree surgeon, a qualified ski instructor and trainee heli-ski tail guide, with numerous pairs of skis to his name it’s not surprising to learn that his happy place is on the ski slopes. It’s clear that he didn’t set out with an ambition to become a chef.
‘No, I didn’t come out of school and set out to open a burger business, far from it – but I have always had an entrepreneurial drive, I think it runs in our family.’
So how has he formed a successful catering business with no kitchen experience?
You can read the full interview in the December issue of Business Brief
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