In 2021, Tone Wilson decided he was ready to quit his factory job and share his passion for food through Edith’s Food Shack, a small catering and private in-home cooking company.
Cooking has been a longtime passion for Wilson. He started cooking as a teen, experimenting with different types of dishes and plating. Eventually, he began catering for family and friends’ events. He says he enjoys cooking “a little bit of everything,” but his favorite dishes are tacos, seafood, and fried chicken.
“I knew it was time,” says Wilson. “I just wanted to step out on faith. I got my LLC and retail merchant certificate, and Edith’s Food Shack was official.”
Chef Tone Wilson
As a chef now, his goal when cooking for clients is to fill both the stomach and the heart, which is something he gets from his company’s namesake. Edith was his late grandmother’s name, and Wilson says she is the inspiration for his business.
“She was big on feeding people,” he says. “You’d never leave her house with an empty stomach. I wanted to keep her spirit alive.”
Today, Wilson only caters small events and private in-home dinners. You can hire him to visit your home and cook a restaurant-quality meal out of your kitchen. Wilson says this service sets him apart from other caterers in town, who mostly cook for larger group events and outings.
A breakfast layout made by Chef Tone Wilson.
“I come to your home, into your kitchen, and cook the food directly in front of you,” says Wilson. “You get to know exactly what is going into your food.”
Within a year of opening Edith’s Food Shack, Wilson was getting requests to cater larger events, but he eventually had to step away from those requests because it was too much for his one-man operation.
“It quickly got overwhelming,” says Wilson. “It’s only me, and I run everything out of my home kitchen.”
While he doesn’t do any larger catering events, Wilson is thinking about his next move as an entrepreneur. His dreams include having a physical location for Edith’s Food Shack, whether that’s a brick-and-mortar restaurant or a food truck. He says there aren’t any plans in the works yet, but he’s saving up to move his business forward.
Chef Tone Wilson sets up for a small catering event.
One day, he also hopes to publish a cookbook, as a way to share his recipes and help the next generation of chefs.
“I know I’ve learned a lot from other’s recipes,” he says. “I want to be able to do the same for
Wilson completed culinary courses in August 2022 as a way to invest in himself and his business. As another investment in his future, he also attended SEED Fort Wayne’s Build Institute
in early 2022.
“They taught me a lot there,” he says. “I made a business plan, a strategy. I was going through a lot at that time, and it helped to have some guidance.”
A salmon and shrimp dish made by Chef Tone Wilson.
Wilson found the Build Institute online and says seeing the success of the previous classes inspired him to join.
“Entrepreneurship is hard,” says Wilson. “So to see other people in a similar position as you succeed makes a big difference.”
He describes himself as an introvert, which he says has been a big challenge as an entrepreneur, too.
“When you’re a business owner, you have to be open and ready to talk to anyone and everyone to grow your business,” says Wilson. “I’m just not that kind of guy. I had to become that kind of guy.”
Even so, he’s found ways to share his business, despite being introverted. Wilson has created an online community of more than 281,000 followers on TikTok, where he shares his gourmet meals and entrepreneurial journey. It’s through this platform that the majority of his clients find him.
“I posted one video on TikTok, expecting nothing of it,” he says. “The next day it had thousands of views, so I kept posting, and things kept going viral.”
Chef Tone Wilson films a video for TikTok in his home kitchen.
Since then, Wilson has committed himself to posting online at least once a day to maintain his momentum. He says consistency is key when it comes to building a business.
“That’s one of the most important things I’ve learned during all this,” says Wilson. “You have to be consistent in everything if you want anyone to pay attention to you.”
You can find Chef Tone Wilson on Instagram
, or via email at [email protected]