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Meet Sue Coraggio Snape of Leaf and Loaf

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sue Coraggio Snape.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My career as a Chef started when I was 40 years old. I was no longer happy in my first career (of 16 years), so I quit my job and went to Culinary School. When I graduated, I was asked by a local female entrepreneur to help her open and run a new restaurant in Buckhead, and so I took that opportunity. I was the chef and kitchen manager at Cafe Jonah for five fantastic years. When our lease was up for renewal, a builder bought the house we were in, and so our lease was no longer renewable. It was time for me to start my own business. It was time for me to be my own boss. IT. WAS. TIME.

Let me back up a little bit. A few months before the restaurant closed, I volunteered a day at my daughter’s elementary school and taught 250 kids, six classes, back to back, on how to make vegetable soup as a community. Every child brought in one vegetable, we cut them up and made Vegetable Soup. Watching their eyes light up and their interests peak in what we were doing made me realize that not only did being in that school feed me that day, but it brought a new type of education to the school that did not exist at the time. So I started a Children’s Enrichment Program called Fun with Food. It started out as an after-school program in one school and gradually expanded into three schools, classes at a local children’s educational farm, homeschool classes and organizations, birthday parties and other events. The program continues to grow and is well-received by everyone! Teachers, parents, farmers, students… everyone loves it!

The class is not a “cooking” class, but more of a food exploration class. Each student makes a cookbook and they receive a recipe/handout each class to put in their cookbook. At the end of a session, they have a collection of everything they did in that class. We have made vegetarian sushi, tomato sauce, cinnamon apples, experienced new tastes with various types of tasting challenges, we learn about how food grows, where food comes from, how our choices in food can give us good energy or not-so-good energy, how to measure with play-doh, how food makes us feel and how we can waste less and feed more people with the food we have been given.

Leaf and Loaf is the name of my business and it encompasses my children’s program, Fun with Food, as well as catering, consulting and adult classes. I am currently expanding my knowledge base by earning a Certification in Food, Nutrition and Health.

Has it been a smooth road?
I am a “glass half full” kind of girl, so I’d say it has been a pretty smooth road. I changed my original business plan and ran numbers many times before deciding how to approach my business, so it was a fairly low financial risk as I started out. I didn’t borrow any money and literally started from zero.

As a family, we have made some financial sacrifices to start up a business from ground zero dollars, but the happiness and flexibility that has come along with being my own boss has been amazing. Life will never be totally stress-free, but it is amazing how infrequently I feel bugged or stressed. My health is better, I’m more available for my kids and husband and it has allowed me to take better care of myself as well.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business, Leaf and Loaf, is comprised of two parts, one is catering to private events and the other part is Children’s Education.

I am known for fun and healthy food, creating beautiful and nutritious dishes from the most humble and natural ingredients. My bandanas have become the trademark of my uniform, and so every child in my class earns a bandana on the day they are my sous chef.

What sets me apart from other companies is the manner in which I work with my clients and students. I started in the food industry when I was 16 years old. In my creative desk job, I was very involved in Customer Service and building relationships. I think this is why my Business has done so well, and it has grown organically through word of mouth marketing. The best kind!

As a business person, I never borrowed money to start my business and so I have never had a debt or loan to run my business. I have paid myself every week since I started Leaf and Loaf and continue to do so without owing anyone anything.

I create custom menus for every catering client. I take into consideration all dietary restrictions and allergies, food preferences, styles and the environment in which the event is being created. As far as my Children’s Classes go, I never speak down to the kids.

I think people tend to underestimate the abilities of children, and so I raise that bar quite high for them.

They learn the same concepts and skills that I would teach a class of adults, and they are always praised and complimented for tasting a new food, creating something out of the ordinary, or helping a fellow student. Humor is a big part of my being and that seems to work well in a class of eight-year-olds.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Atlanta has been a great place for growing my business, but I have lived here for over 20 years. I have built relationships and have received a lot of encouragement and support from people in the area, both personally and professionally.

Because my business is unlike any others, I don’t think someone could just pick up and move to this area and automatically become successful. Every situation would be different than mine.

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Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Derek

    July 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Great job Sue. You have always been my culinary question go to over the years. So proud of you and your continuing success

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