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Meet a Business: Mise En Place Cooking School

Meet a Business is a series featuring the person behind some of your favorite locally-owned businesses.

Headshot of Christine Wansleban

What is your name?
Christine Wansleben

What's your hometown?
Claremont, NH

What is your business name?
Mise En Place Cooking School

How many years have you owned/managed your business?
16

What did you want to be as a child?
I don't remember "wanting" to be anything in particular, but my friends and I did play a lot of "school" and "secretary."

What is the most popular item you sell?
The cooking classes

What local business can you not live without?
Professionally - Big Spoon Co - My PR/Marketing agency
Personally - River City Wood Fired Pizza ...hands down the BEST pizza in RVA

In what ways has your business changed since COVID-19?
My in person classes are almost non existent and my private events are only on occasion but the most positive change are the opportunities I now have to expand my audience globally.  Since I am using an online platform, I've been able to not only reach people across the US but into Europe as well.  It's great to meet so many people around the world.

What's the first thing you do every morning to set the tone for your day?
I do a few stretches and make myself a good cup of hot coffee.  If I have time it's usually a French press of Blanchards Dark as Dark....if I'm still half asleep it's a K-cup or Tempered Coffee.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
Good coffee and my phone

How did you come up with the name for your business?
Mise en place is a culinary that is used in school, restaurants and throughout the food world.  It's having all of your ingredients ready to prepare that dish. I felt that it would be a fitting name for a place that wants to help you "get your ingredients in place" so that cooking is not stressful, but more enjoyable and less of a chore.

How did you get the idea for your business?
When I worked for A Sharper Palate I would teach classes at The Compleat Gourmet in Carytown. Teaching those classes sparked my passion for teaching.  And I realized there wasn't a freestanding, recreational cooking center in town.

What does the world need more of?
Access to food. There is no reason why one of the wealthiest countries has some of the highest number of people/families who don't have access to healthy food.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation.  I love to travel and to be able to just snap my fingers and be in Germany during the holidays, or Montana when it's snowing, or a beautiful studio apartment in Paris with a glass of wine, some cheese & bread when my kids are being pains in the butt!!

What's your favorite thing to do in Richmond when you're not in your business?
Exploring food, culture, outdoors with my kids

What's your hidden talent?
Drawing/Art I haven't done it in awhile but I have some artwork from HS and college hanging on the walls in my home.  I almost went to college to study art.

What was the first concert you ever attended?
Loverboy/Dokken circa 1984

Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to both of my parents.  We grew up in a very middle class, small town in NH.  Both of my parents worked very hard and instilled a good work ethic in all of their children.  We didn't take lavish vacations but we always looked forward to our excursions to Maine, Northern NH and throughout New England.  We always went on Sunday drives or hikes, which gave us our love of the outdoors. To this day my brother and I continue to work in and explore the outdoors & enjoy its beauty.  I feel grateful that my parents are still here today to give me support, advice and continued confidence in my work and in my life.

What do you love most about Richmond?
What is there NOT to love?? I have to say I love the people.  I've lived here for almost 20 years and I've met some incredible people who inspire me, motivate me to do more and support me both personally and professionally. 

What's the best thing about being a local business owner?
I love that I can set my own schedule and be creative in the classes I offer.  I have the opportunity to invite some of my closest friends and colleagues to work with me.  I am in a neighborhood with other amazing local business owners and we often collaborate on various projects.  It's the local business community here in RVA that is truly special.

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