73. Ken Myszka on Farm to Table 2.0

How does a chef become the founder of a restaurant, farming, and catering enterprise?

Ken Myszka has shown us that while it’s not easy, it’s certainly doable! Well equipped with impressive culinary experience and a vision for a sustainable farm/restaurant, Ken founded the Epiphany Farms Enterprise in Bloomington, Illinois. His mission is to create a diversified, pasture-based food system that blends beyond organic farming with impeccable food.

Ken sees Epiphany Farms as a catalyst for social change. With each experience at providing warm hospitality comes an opportunity to educate about the importance of alternatives to the conventional restaurant industry.  Epiphany Farms now stewards 75 acres of land, operates 5 restaurants and a special events business with 7 venues, and farm to table catering service. Tune in to hear all the fascinating details about what he does and how he does it!

You’ll Hear:

What Epiphany Farms is all about 0:53

How Ken got into this business 2:09

What a typical day for Ken looks like 15:41

What kinds of products Epiphany Farms produces 17:23

What they offer in their on-farm catering events 20:56

What kind of things Ken built into his new farm property 24:06

How Ken manages to stay focused on the vital tasks on the farm 27:57

The hardest thing Ken has done since starting Epiphany Farms 30:00

Who Ken’s mentors are 33:49

What systems Ken would implement sooner given the chance to turn back time 34:44

How Ken delegates roles to his team 36:49

How Ken went about hiring and retaining his large network of employees 39:45

Why Ken practices open book accounting 51:34

How Ken built the marketing machine for Epiphany Farms  54:23

The differences in marketing approaches between Ken’s restaurants 56:15

About the pros of the vertically integrated farm 1.00:09

The biggest mistake Ken sees newer farmers making 1.05:19 

What piece of encouragement Ken would go back and give his past self 1.08:33

How the regulations in the state of Illinois have impacted business 1.13:28

About Ken’s goal for the next 10 years 1.19:04

Ken’s favorite farming tool 1.22:53

Where to find out more about Ken and Epiphany Farms Enterprise 1.28:05

About the Guest:

Ken R. Myszka is a professionally trained chef, entrepreneur, sustainable farmer, restaurant owner, and CEO who hails from Downs, IL.  Ken has been trained at the Culinary Institute of New York and has a B.A from the University of Las Vegas.   While in Las Vegas, he worked in the elite kitchens of renowned hotels including Restaurant Guy Savoy and Bradley Ogden at Cesar’s Palace, and Bouchon at the Venetian. Throughout his career Ken trained with many other notable chefs and has worked in recognized restaurants from all over the U.S.  

Ken’s return to the Bloomington area brought Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group with a working sustainable farm, event space, and 5 amazing farm to table restaurants.  Ken is committed to supporting, growing, and showcasing a thriving local food culture, in an effort to re-envision the current culinary landscape.

Resources and mentions:

Website – www.epiphanyfarms.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kenrmyszka
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kenmyszka/, https://www.instagram.com/epiphanyfarms/

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.