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10 Questions With Lynette La Mere

As we wrap up Women's History Month, we couldn't let this month pass by without a proper shoutout to Pure Joy Catering's Owner + Founding Executive Chef, Lynette La Mere.

Only 20% of businesses in the USA are owned by women, with less than 7% of restaurants being woman-led. When you support a woman-owned business like Pure Joy, you are investing in women's economic empowerment, gender parity in commerce, vibrant communities, and the overall growth of the economy.

Lynette started Pure Joy a whopping 21 years ago as a single mother with two boys and is now one of the top woman-owned catering businesses in the country (with plenty of awards & accolades to boot)! Keep reading to get an inside peek at the advice she's followed over the years, where she'd take you to dinner & her favorite Pure Joy dish.

What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

Know your worth . Women are notorious for underselling themselves, their products, their businesses.

What is the greatest piece of advice someone has ever given you?

I collect advice; I hoard it. I treasure it. Most importantly, I listen to it, take it in, and - if it feels right for me - I act on it. A great compliment I’ve gotten many times over the years is “everyone asks for advice and very few people actually take it & use it - you do!"

I asked a dear friend & great mentor, Michael Roman, the founder of Catersource, how do I get to the next level? And he said “you have to be willing to be hated”. I think you become successful by being an intelligent, fair person. Do the right thing and lead by example. Being hated, that’s not usually what happens when you’re good, right? Wrong. It’s a tough gig at the top of the heap, that’s why so very few doing it last long. Michael also said once, “yeah, the guy in the front leading the charge is really cool but he’ll be the first one shot down.”

Another one is: have the uncomfortable conversation & walk right into the fear. You can tell how successful someone will be by the number of uncomfortable conversations they have had.

What piece of advice would you give to women in culinary roles?

Don’t try to be creative, just try to be GOOD.

Who inspires you?

I get inspiration from everyone and everywhere - I'm a real sponge! We say our specialty at Pure Joy is listening & I take that to heart every day, really listening to everyone who works for me and our clients. I’m also loving this Coco Channel quote: “I don’t care what you think of me, I don’t think about you at all!"

If we went out for dinner, where would we go and what would you order?

Let's go to Marseille (France) to a little underground cave called Le Cote de Boeuf for a variety of hot dark roasted bone marrows & great bread.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

Right where I am. I am the master of my ship. I’m here at work right now so I can get in my car & drive to my home, or my other home, or the airport when I want to. Responsibility = freedom.

The best trip I’ve ever been on was...

…maybe my next one, or my last one! I’ve never had a bad trip, travel is a great privilege.

Favorite Pure Joy dish is…

Well, I love them all because they are all my recipes lol but I think our parmesan pepper crusted heirloom tomato tart with caramelized onions & goat cheese is pretty great.

My favorite book to gift others is…

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

My perfect day in Santa Barbara would be…

Today! Right now! It's Spring and it's beautiful!


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