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Spotlight: Food Entrepreneur Sally Sampson of ChopChop

ChopChop founder Sally Sampson at the James Beard Awards 2013
ChopChop founder Sally Sampson at the James Beard Awards 2013
Beard Foundation

Local food entrepreneur Sally Sampson’s cooking magazine for kids is the most joyful, fun and vibrant periodical this Examiner has ever laid eyes on. ChopChop is a sheer pleasure and a “magazine on a mission” and today, Sally’s colorful and captivating work reaches more than 2 million families a year…

This interview is part of the Spotlight: Food Entrepreneur series for Examiner.

  1. What was the seed for what is now ChopChop?

I was a cookbook writer for twenty years and have a daughter who was diagnosed with a chronic illness when she was one, which led me to getting very involved in healthcare. The intersection of these elements inspired ChopChop.

  1. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?

Raising the money.

  1. How do you define success?

By how many families we are reaching. If we’re reaching more and more families, then I feel like ChopChop is successful. Also by how much we are part of the conversations about obesity and hunger.

  1. How do you manage failure?

What failure? Laughs. I feel really, really bad for a short time, and then I move on.

  1. How do you cope with pressure? (Any secret recipes for taking care of yourself?)

In all honesty, I don’t experience a lot of what I would call pressure. Sure, I’m juggling a lot of things right now, but I don’t view that as pressure… I guess how I deal with it is to get really organized.

  1. What are you going to do next?

We are working on school curriculum so that teachers can integrate ChopChop into the classroom.

  1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in the past year?

Take Fridays off.

  1. Give us your advice for aspiring food entrepreneurs… in 6 words or less.

Do what you love.

  1. You win the Oscar equivalent for your industry. Oh wait, you already did: The James Beard Publication of the Year Award 2013. When you took the stage, who did you thank and for what?

That’s so funny… Wow, let me think about what I said… I thanked my 87-year-old father Saul and my 18-year-old son Ben, who were both in the room that night. And then I said that what molded me was growing up eating dinner every night with my parents and then later, with my children, who grew up as recipe testers. I believe that getting kids to cook is essential in every way. It bonds kids with their adults, encourages responsibility, increases understanding of other cultures, and fosters reading, math and science.

  1. What about ChopChop most feeds your soul?

Getting kids excited about cooking, and just engaging them.

This summer, Sally and ChopChop are teaming up with former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses to lead healthy cooking classes at Boys & Girls Clubs in Worcester and Boston. You can find ChopChop on their website and on Facebook.