“If you’re asking someone for money, it’s my thought that you would give me a projection of what you’re going to use it for and what you have going right now compared to the market,” he says. “So I really wanted to make sure that that was crystal clear in my presentation.”
He was present at every workshop and event and stayed in constant contact with the ArtWorks team, something he says Shailah Maynard, ArtWorks creative enterprise director, applauded him for.
“Well, yeah, with $15,000 on the line,” Avant says, “I’m going to be as proactive as possible!”
And it worked. On Oct. 6, 2016, Avant pitched his idea for a sister company to OCD Cakes, Bakeologie, which would also operate out of Findlay Kitchen, offering hands-on cooking classes with a focus on baking sweet and savory dishes to be enjoyed family-style, and other community food-centric events. The judges awarded Avant the $15,000 grand prize.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Avant says, “but it’s awesome.”
As a previous chef instructor at Sur la Table, Avant noticed that many attendees who enjoyed classes at a discounted rate could not afford to attend the regularly priced events. He set out to create a “social bonding experience” with food that was affordable and accessible to many people, particularly in the Over-the-Rhine area that surrounds Findlay Market.