Cambro’s Business of the Week: Proper Provisions

After working in the restaurant industry for 15 years, chef John Abernathy launched Proper Provisions. From intimate dinners to grand cocktail parties, Proper Provisions promises to level up traditional recipes with a twist of modern, luxurious flavors. It was Abernathy’s goal to bring  something unforgettable to Lincolnton by curating an excellent culinary experience, empowering his staff and giving back to his hometown community. However, his journey to success has not always been smooth sailing. Abernathy explains how  problem-solving throughout his career enabled him to fulfill his lifelong passions of catering and traveling.

What inspired you to get into foodservice?

“After years of working in restaurants and high-end catering, I decided to launch my own small business. The long days and nights in restaurants taught me that a job worth doing is worth doing right and never leave until the job is done. The leadership roles I was in taught me how to handle people, speak to them, and inspire others to open up their true potential in the kitchen.”

What do you love about your business?

“My flexibility and freedom. I can work hard for a few weeks and take a few weeks off. Also making everyone happy with food! Simple and delicious is what I always strive for. I do love to make a plate very beautiful, but I also like to keep it simple: 3-5 ingredients on the plate that make sense together. I’m really big on traditional recipes and flavor combinations but I tend to modernize or elevate them with some luxurious ingredients. I want your food to be an unforgettable experience even if it is something you’ve had 1 million times before. Seasonal, simple, and delicious.”

What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?

“I launched in Nashville and recently relocated to my hometown in Lincolnton, North Carolina. We are gaining more traction here in a few months than I did in 3 years in Nashville! Growing a small and young business in my hometown has always been a thought in the back of my head, especially after seeing the growth and changes for the good in the past few years there.

I felt that if I started a business on my own in Nashville over 3 years ago with little to no support, I could come home to my biggest support group and make it. I plan to open a few places in Lincolnton over the next few years, bringing something that the city needs and wants all while supporting locals and creating jobs for the same community that supported me growing up.”

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

“Starting the business. I had no idea what I was doing but I took the time to learn the basics and haven’t stopped learning or growing since. I had my fair share of running into problems over the years in restaurants and catering companies. Whether it was filling in for a sick employee, creating the schedule one week while another chef was out or transporting food properly to a catered event, it definitely taught me how to roll with the punches the best I could. The list goes on and on with all the ways to find solutions to problems that often present themselves in this industry.”

Which Cambro products help make your business work?

“My Go Boxes® and rolling cart. I have 3 and it’s all I need to show up to an event and serve my hot food that’s still hot and cold food that’s still cold! They make me look super professional and keep my products at their best quality!”

About Proper Provisions LLC

Location: Lincolnton, North Carolina

Website | Instagram

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