A look inside the life of Food Lab’s Casey Easton
When asked how she has changed since Food Lab Boulder first opened its doors in 2015, Founder and Chef Casey Easton can’t help but laugh.
“I am a different person than I was when I signed that lease five years ago.”
Just ten days after her new business got its start, she and her (now ex) husband separated. Simultaneously, as she poured her heart into building what would become a 2,000 square foot haven for socialization, relaxation, and culinary technique, her new normal meant navigating being a single mother, too.
“There was no pause, there was no break…I went beyond what I thought was possible because I had to,” she says.
Fast-forward five years: Easton and Food Lab are both thriving, the latter offering a wide range of popular cooking classes catering to novices and experts alike, enhancing the level of culinary skills, food and wine knowledge in the Boulder community.
In Food Lab, Easton has built an incredible opportunity for people to “gather at the table” in a comfortable environment – a relaxed, personal feel that sets Food Lab apart from the typical, run-of-the-mill cooking class.
“I think you have a whole different feel when you walk into Food Lab…it’s important for an experience like this to hit all of your senses. The decor is beautiful and simple. The staff is welcoming and knowledgeable. We have music curated for each class and just recently added a turntable, which excites me!
“I opted not to have individual stations and have one big chef’s counter instead, so you can kind of take a back seat if you want to, or you can totally be in on the action. In this age of digital rush, it’s incredible to slow down, work together, put the phone down and meet new people.”
And she’s created just the place to do that.
From trail running, skiing, and mountain biking to traveling and gardening, Easton’s passions inside and outside of her work are symbiotic, influencing and inspiring one another day-in and day-out.
“The trails are where I do my thinking,” she says. “I get business books on tape and podcasts and I’ll go out for six-hour runs and listen and process and come back to work with really great ideas. I get so much work done in my brain when I am out there by myself, I would be lost without that opportunity.”
While Easton finds herself inspired by myriad things, she is, first and foremost, motivated by her kids – who drive her to keep doing what she’s doing and to set a great example of what dedication, hard work, and hard-won success look like.
Easton’s ambition, determination, and overall badass-ness are woven throughout all aspects of her life. She pours herself into her roles as mother and entrepreneur, putting her nose to the proverbial grindstone from dawn till (way past) dusk, and providing an example to her kids of a woman who can hustle and be a great mother at the same time.
As a single parent running a 100% self-funded business, Easton puts tremendous time and effort into her work-and into keeping herself healthy along the way.
“I practice putting myself and the things that keep me sane first. I always say, ‘you have to put your oxygen mask on first.’ My life is a little nuts at times, but if I don’t make time for the things that keep me sane, I am not going to be sane, and therefore, my kids will not have a good mama and my employees will not have a good leader.
“I ignore the people that tell me to slow down. I will, one day. Maybe.”