We had the good fortune of connecting with E.J Hurley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi E.J, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I believe that as a entrepreneur- we have the power to influence and empower beyond our products and services. Growing up in the metro area of Atlanta, you will see areas that are progressing and you also see places that need assistance, resurgence and better influence as a community. Growing up as a black kid in the city of Atlanta, you are usually only influenced by the stereotypical notions of being an athlete, music artist, or even apart of the street culture. I wanted to my brand to represent a different outlet for those that may not want to take the typical route. I always wanted to show the youth that it’s cool to be different and do something that’s creative. Our goal as a brand is to put restaurants in the areas that lack a food location to take pride in. I feel urban and low income areas deserve more revived businesses that actually influence the community with great service and opportunities.
What should our readers know about your business?
Throughout my life I have always accepted adversity as a challenge. I knew that starting out in the culinary industry you needed two things- Certifications and Talent. I was always pretty confident in my talent regarding my culinary skills however I knew that there would be some burden if I didn’t have any credentials. I ended up getting my culinary diploma at Atlanta Art Institute in the spring of 2020. Following my diploma completion; I remember sitting in my room, broke, confused about the future and what exactly I could do with what I knew and I recalled all the times that I would pass ‘Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks’ and ‘Slutty Vegan’ and how inspired I would be to see those long lines and smiling faces. The energy that those successful black owned gave to the community was unmatched-and then I knew how I would make my impact. I decided to start CLICHE CUISINE. A food brand that encompasses all of your typical food culture and puts creative spin on it-hence the irony of the name ‘Cliche Cuisine’.
Not only did I want to make a impact with food, but I also wanted to offer a platform for aspiring chefs to branch out and make their own names/brands a success. This is when I realized that starting a team early could be beneficial mutually. I recruited all of the most talented chefs/individuals I knew at the time and informed them of my ideas. I was lucky enough to have the same people I work with to this day commit to what I wanted Cliche Cuisine to be. A brand with unforgettable food and energy, and also a platform for up and coming Chefs to learn the industry and be supplied with all the tools and information needed to succeed. I realized early on that to be successful in the food industry that many of the most notable restaurant owners and culinary figures never really had many credentials regarding culinary school- they all relied on talent, hard work, and having an actual plan for their business. This is when I learned he art of networking and being fearless in the sense of bringing my talents to every opportunity possible. The summer of 2020 was the birth of it all for Cliche Cuisine. We began social media platforms, food preorder specials all over the city, and private chef services. I utilized all the modern tools we had to learn more and more about the industry and even began trying to network with the very people I looked up to in the industry; Derrick Hayes (Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks), Pinky Cole (Slutty Vegan). From those efforts I learned that its always best to find what you are good at and become the very best at it. Our team then began to function off of our community favorites such as the ‘signature wing trio’ and more creative patent dishes such as ‘Lemon Pepper Alfredo’. These dishes were what sparked interest from notable clients such as actors Frank Grillo and Tyrese Gibson, rapper 2 chainz, professional athletes and more. This is when we realized we had something special as a brand.
Looking back now, I saw that the hardest part of it all was realizing that in order to truly succeed, you have to be very hard on yourself in every facet of your craft. Long nights, early mornings, constantly being a student in the business and culinary world and wanting more for your team and yourself. I always knew that anytime you take a chance on something you believe in, there will always be doubters. The key to getting to a point of success in your passion is being your own biggest critic and fan. Keeping the noise out and digging deep when things are tough will almost always point you in the right direction.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When it comes to having fun and a good meal- ATL is completely unmatched. During the day if you want to grab some breakfast/lunch and hear some of the best music, you have to go to Escobar Restaurant and Tapas (Owned my rapper 2 chainz), Spice House Midtown features some of the best culinary names Atlanta has to offer. Slutty Vegan and Big Dave’s Cheesesteak are true staples here in Atlanta as well. For nightlife I would recommend the holy grail of all clubs in Atlanta; MAGIC CITY. Their kitchen has been around for decades and has never missed a beat. If you’re looking for something more romantic; I would go to STK or The Oceanaire for a premium culinary expeirence.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to give thanks to the entire CLICHE CUISINE team- Myles Flowers (C.O.O/Chef), Tonio Brown (Quality Control/Chef), Nile Johnson (Premium Chef), Eric Swinney (HR Director/Grillmaster), Jessica Maynard (Marketing Executive/Secretary). I have learned that without a solid team your brand is worthless. Everyone within Cliche Cuisine believes in our growth, we all have multiple roles and treat each other like family. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for the brand by simply seeing my vision to influence our community through culinary.
Also, a big shoutout to my mentor, consultant and business advisor; Bobby Goodman. He is the owner and CEO of Mulework Business consulting and management. Mr. Goodman guided me and Chef Myles Flowers to our start and gave us true understanding of how to climb the ladder with our idea when we first got started, He also served as our representative when we first registered for our business license.
Instagram: @hegotgoods @clichecuisine
Facebook: Cliche Cuisine
Other: For Private Chef Services Contact us at 413-424-0507 or Clichecuisine@gmail.com