NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A local chef who made only $7 in six months has pivoted her businesses for survival. And she didn't without any aid from the government because she didn't think she qualified.
Chef JoAnna Minneci never pictured herself teaching the hands on art of cooking from a screen.
“I cook along with everybody so if they’re like, ‘Is this how brown it’s supposed to be right now?’ I look at my own pan and say, ‘Yeah, that looks about right, we’re good,’” Chef JoAnna laughed.
It’s what she’d had to do to keep her business alive, pivoting from lessons in homes and at businesses, to teaching kids and adults through programs like Outschool online.
“I have my computer and I have my cell phone, so I can have my computer up on the counter, so I can talk to people, and I have my phone on a tripod,” Chef JoAnna said.
She’s come a long way since March when her business came screeching to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As an entrepreneur, it was really difficult because I had to then call clients who had given me deposits and tell them, ‘I don’t think this is safe!’ And so refunding that money really hurt,” Chef JoAnna said.
As a sole proprietor with no overhead costs, she didn’t qualify for PPP and she didn’t think she qualified for unemployment because she didn’t have documented payroll.
“I did everything I possibly could, finding any possibility to teach cooking lessons on the internet, the first four months, dead air, total crickets, I didn’t know what to do,” Chef JoAnna said.
FOX 17 News reached out to the state to see what kind of options people in Chef JoAnna’s position have. The state responded saying although Chef JoAnna is self-employed, she likely could get help from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
It’s something many self-employed people don’t realize is an option with the pandemic.
As for Chef JoAnna, she’s saved her business doing something she loves.
For anyone still interested in applying for pandemic assistance, the deadline is Dec. 26 unless Congress passes a new stimulus bill that extends it.
Also, the online program for kids, “Outschool,”offers free classes to families in need right now.
To learn more about Chef JoAnna or Outschool, CLICK HERE.