Executive Chef Christian Sweeney creates high quality menus that are a fusion of Jamaica’s flavourful traditions with new world gastronomy.
Fuzion Foodservice started in 2011 but Christian’s passion for food started at the age of 7 when he started cooking in secret so as to not be punished by his parents for using the oven. Having earned his degree in culinary management from the Arts Institute of Fort Lauderdale, after 18 months and many lessons learned, he decided it was time to launch his company and ultimately, his dream of entrepreneurship.
Fuzion has since grown exponentially and does consultation, food styling, catering, concessions, and corporate foodservice marketing solutions. Christian hopes to grow even more and reach an international market with the support and training provided by #BransonCentre’s accelerator programme.
How did you hear about the Branson Centre and why did you decide to join the accelerator programme?
I heard of the programme a couple years ago from one of the graduates, a fellow foodservice entrepreneur, who gushed of the many benefits provided supporting the growth of his business. Based on my understanding of the knowledge and resources that will be unleashed to the cohort group within the next 6 months, it really is a no brainer for any entrepreneur.
What do you hope to achieve at the end of the programme?
Firstly, I believe entering this programme will give me unique insights (which I rarely get), through constructive criticism from a business perspective from individuals who have vast knowledge and experience in entrepreneurship and growing a successful business. I hope to gain greater efficiency and better understanding of business operations as a whole.
Secondly, I hope that I am able to strengthen my brand, branching out into creating, marketing and selling unique products, associated with my main business of catering. I hope to create additional revenue streams. I want to be easily and quickly differentiated in the market.
Finally, I hope that I will be more confident approaching individuals or institutions for investment in any of the innovative business ideas created.
Tell us a little about your background and where your passion for business began?
As I grew up I remember one thing being repeatedly drilled into my head, “Do you want to grow up and have to work for people?” This puzzled me as I thought my father and mother had good jobs and were content. It was only when I got my first job, I fully understood what my father meant – I experienced the limitation of the human and monetary potential. Since then, I have always been looking to establish multiple streams of income, some have failed and some have succeeded, but all have taught me valuable lessons.
How does your business benefit the wider community and the environment?
I make an attempt through direct intervention to hire people in nearby communities and help to build their skills, which will stay with them for life. These skills will also help in the creation of their own businesses. I do encourage entrepreneurship among my employees, and coach them on various aspects of running a small business based on my own experience.
By-products that are of no use to the company are given to members of the community. Community members oftentimes have use for them – for example, pig farmers need meat trimmings and our spent fryer oil is used as bio-diesel.
Furthermore, we are supportive of the plastic ban and limiting unnecessary use of plastics. We try to be environmentally conscious in all decisions and the day to day running of operations.
What does the future hold for your business?
I have a massive vision for the next few years! I hope to expand on the food based marketing side of the company, as I see great potential for food specific marketing, a line of cookbooks, various branded merchandise, expansion of the food tour, online content creation and a brand Jamaica food based podcast. I want to create a strong, recognizable, and innovative brand.