Kevin Ouzts has long been passionate about sharing his Southern-style charcuterie with as many people as possible. Now, with The Spotted Trotter, the Atlanta-based chef is delighting foodies everywhere with his irresistible creations.
The Spotted Trotter is known for bold creations like the award-winning Georgia Blue Salami, made with Sweet Grass Dairy’s Asher Blue Cheese. Still, they’re equally dedicated to responsible farming. With great respect for the symbiotic relationship between animals and people, The Spotted Trotter raises its livestock humanely and utilizes as much of the animal as possible.
Recently, we caught up with Kevin to learn more about his journey and hear his advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
1. Why did you start The Spotted Trotter?
When we opened in 2009, there was a void of New American Charcuterie™ that celebrated the amazing bounty, ingredients, and culture of the American South. We wanted to showcase products made the right way with meat that is humanely sourced, processed, and spiced with seasonings that are not used anywhere else.
It all adds up to some of the most profoundly delicious meat in the country. We focus on the details in our meats to create deep, rich flavors that you’ll only find in our region.
2. What obstacles did you face along the way?
As pioneers in the space we had several challenges to overcome. We couldn’t replicate anyone else’s work or ask anyone else for advice — we had to develop all of our own processes from scratch. Working in and with a community that had not seen a lot of the products we produce certainly made us work harder to educate and celebrate what we were doing.
It was particularly difficult to get the USDA to understand exactly what we were doing so we could obtain the necessary certifications. It was also tough to get the right builders for our facility and the funding we needed to grow. Ultimately, we persevered and scaled The Spotted Trotter into what it is today.
3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Know your numbers. Do everything you can to strip away any expense that isn’t essential and know your numbers like the back of your hand. We grew slow and steady, so I advise other entrepreneurs not to rush into any situation until they’re as ready as they can be.
Lastly, not all business is good business. Choose your partners and peers wisely.
4. What’s on the horizon for The Spotted Trotter?
We are in the final stages of funding a new 14,000 sq. ft. facility that will allow us to produce even more amazing charcuterie!
5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
Nothing "in balance" moves forward. Moving forward takes sacrifice, hard work, and being off balance at times.
I believe that every failure presents an opportunity. I’m inspired by the things in life I do to make myself better each day, one day at a time.
- Meet the Founder