Kimberly Chamberland founded Big Mountain Foods in 1987, and her daughter Jasmine Byrne joined in 2013 to become Chief Operating Officer. They have focused on product innovation while remaining true to their core value of creating food that they would proudly serve their own families. The food is made with ingredients you can pronounce that are wholesome, healthy and delicious. All Big Mountain Foods products are sold fresh, made with vegetables, free from common allergens, gluten and soy-free, certified vegan, and non-GMO verified. Big Mountain Foods products can be found in retailers across North America.
We wanted to know: what does a day in the life look like for the woman who continues to innovate and lead the plant-based movement? What or who motivates these entrepreneurs, and how do they live their day? As an International Women’s Day special, we interviewed Kim as she tells us more about how Big Mountain Foods started, how she comes up with her recipes at home, and advice for other entrepreneurs!
Who are you?
My name is Kimberly, and I am the founder of Big Mountain foods. I grew up in Dallas, Texas and in British Columbia, Canada. I grew up surrounded by very talented chefs in my family. I fell in love with cooking around the age of 15, and the rest is history. My mom recognized that I had a talent for cooking, and one of her dear friends had a small catering company, and she suggested that I purchase it, so I did! I grew up in a plant-based community. My mother raised me to be a pure vegetarian, and we created the original veggie patty, because there really wasn’t much on the market at the time, and we continued to create clean label allergen-free plant-based foods as we saw a gap in the industry.
What or who inspires you?
My grandmother was always an inspiration to me because she had a great balance of self-awareness, discipline, and grit. She was a very strong, independent woman who relied on no one but herself!
I got into plant-based food because this was the way I grew up. It was instilled in me at a very young age. Big Mountain foods strive to be the best clean-labelled, allergen-free products that simply taste amazing.
What does your morning routine look like?
My day always starts with some sort of physical activity like a Pilates or yoga workout class. I typically make homemade soup daily and have that around 11 AM. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but Yerba Mate is usually my breakfast.
What does your work day look like?
As an entrepreneur, my work day is always different. It’s a very exciting life. The biggest challenge is to continue to be inspired and not get caught up in the weeds of the everyday stresses of being in business. Balance is everything.
What do you do when you get home?
My favourite thing to do when I get home after work is experiment with different recipes using our Big Mountain products. I love creating new ideas. It’s a huge stress reliever for me when I’m cooking in my kitchen. With Big Mountain, most of the ideas come from my very own kitchen, and then I bring them to life at the plant!
How did Big Mountain Foods come to be?
Big Mountain Foods started in 1987 when I purchased a vegetarian company called Simply Wonderful Foods from one of my mother’s friends. He made healthy sandwiches, brownies, muffins, cookies, and other goods and supplied the goods to universities like Emily Carr, trendy coffee shops, and more. I took that over and proceeded to expand very quickly. Shortly after that, I opened up a restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver, called Healthy Horizon. We were doing wholesale out the back door, and I had a restaurant / café in the front. I did that for about five years, then sold the restaurant and wanted to focus completely on wholesale allergen-free plant-based products, and now we are striving to be a global brand! We recently hosted a lunch for some representatives with BC Trade and Investments to tour our plant in Delta, BC. We sampled our best-selling products, showed the plant, and discussed the future of Big Mountain Foods.
How do you like working with your daughter, now the COO of Big Mountain Foods?
My daughter Jasmine was born into Big Mountain Foods after she graduated from business school. I asked her if she would come and join me, and the rest is history! She is my rock. We work very well together and inspire each other and uplift each other on a daily basis.
What’s your advice for small business owners and anyone who wants to start a business?
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Have a plan, stick to it, and don’t get caught up in the weeds. Stay focused.
March 7, 2023
We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed doing the interview. If you want to get the latest updates on Kim and BMF, you can give her a follow on LinkedIn. Follow us on Instagram @bigmountainfoods for more updates and fun recipes.