Fri, Dec 14, 2012
Paul Hine of Uttapam & Co. has always had the do-it-yourself gene, but when he switched tracks after a decade from software developer to a food purveyor, he had a bit of learning to do.
When Hine, a long time vegetarian, was working with Barry Schwartz in the production of Barry’s Tempeh—a meat replacer—he learned a lot about the food market. He had wanted to make Indian food for a long time, so he learned, created and shared.
An uttapam is an open-faced, wheat-free, crispy rice crepe toped with seasonal ingredients. Hine believes in transparency for his products, including the ingredient list.
Once his business partner, Jake Reeder, signed on to the project, the duo wrapped up the entrepreneurial process and began selling in December 2011. By late spring, they were accepted as a booth at Smorgasborg.
Hine had the advantage of understanding some details about starting a business from his experience with tech-startups and he was able to parlay some of that knowledge into Uttapam. Having insight to some of the costs that he said tend to trip up new food entrepreneurs helped him plan accordingly. Costs like renting kitchen space to cook, business insurance, kitchen inspection by the state, sales taxes, and incorporation add up.
“The whole process has a big learning curve and Fare Trade is starting programs that will help me,” Hine said. “I’ve always understood, accepted and embraced the fact that I can do something more if I’m a part of something bigger than myself.”