Helping Build Businesses: Joanne Weir

Joanne Weir, Chef & Entrepreneur
July 18, 2014

Joanne Weir is a Chef and Entrepreneur who has built her business around teaching her cooking skills to others all over the world. Jack of all trades, she is a wine producer, television personality, author and host of culinary journeys all over the world. Joanne’s Foreign Exchange account with First Republic has simplified her life immensely, making her international business much more manageable.

What does cooking mean to you?

For me, cooking is very much a part of my life. My mother always said you have to make three meals a day; you should make them mean something and taste delicious. It’s also important for me to teach people about cooking and how easy it is to make a wonderful meal for your friends and family – so that’s what I like to spend my life doing.

How did you come to start your own business?

In a way, my business evolved and then snowballed. I had a degree in Fine Arts and then I decided I wanted to go to cooking school.  I then worked at Chez Panisse – and it doesn’t get much better than that in terms of a restaurant! After my time there I wrote my first book, and then I went on to do a television show. I then started hosting culinary journeys all over the world, and most recently opened up a restaurant called Copita. So it evolved organically – and I hope it continues to.

You hold culinary journeys all over the world – can you explain what one of these journeys might entail? 

I’ve been hosting culinary journeys for 14 years, where I take people from all over the world to study with me at a villa in Italy or a hacienda in Spain or a beautiful place in Marrakesh, Morocco. We spend a whole week together and you’re immersed into a culture with people who love food, just like you. We look at the history and the geography, and we’ll go and see a cheese maker, visit an olive oil producer, or go to one of my friend’s villas and make a meal in his kitchen and taste the wine that he’s produced. These are very special, personal trips; they aren’t the types of things that you find in guide books.

As a business owner, what challenges have you faced?

The Culinary Journeys are definitely one of my favorite things to do, but of course they are also one of the most time-consuming. As a business owner, one of the things that’s really challenging is juggling my time, and with these journeys there’s just so much to organize, from paying the bus driver, or paying for the villa where we all stay. For years, I would just take out my charge card because there was nothing else and I couldn’t have an account in Europe, but then I learned First Republic had a Foreign Exchange account, which was perfect for someone like me. Now all I have to do is transfer money from my Foreign Exchange account into their account, and it’s so simple. It has made things so easy for me.

Why do you bank with First Republic?

Someone told me about First Republic Bank through a friend; she said she thought it was a really good fit for me because they have personal bankers. I thought to myself, this is great! I have an editor, I have a director, I have a producer. Now I could have my own banker, too! It was a great fit for me.

The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.

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