As Julia Child famously said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” Chef Michael Tashman took her sage advice to heart. Now, he’s spreading the word with Churn — grass-fed, hormone-free, European-style butter made right here in Los Angeles, CA..
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better butter. Sweet, nutty, earthy, and creamy, Churn values quality and quantity in equal measure. Flavors like Garlic Shallot, Cacio e Pepe, and Maple Cinnamon can turn plain bread into a masterpiece, but why stop there? From sautéed veggies to grilled swordfish, Churn was made to elevate every meal.
Thankful for all the support he’s received, Michael is quick to dish the love right back to his employees and loved ones. As he evangelizes butter, just like Julia, he abides by another one of her timeless quotes:
“Remember, no one’s more important than people. In other words, friendship is the most important thing—not career or housework, or one’s fatigue—and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”
Recently, we caught up with Michael to learn more about Churn and hear his advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
01 Why did you start Churn?
I started Churn because I love butter. It gives me so much joy and happiness, and I wanted to inspire people to see butter how I see it. It’s not just a condiment to be spread on bread, but a vehicle to elevate the flavor of proteins, pastas, vegetables — virtually everything. We’re on a mission to transform the way people think about butter and cook at home.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
We launched in February of 2020, one month before COVID-19 changed the world. That presented a massive challenge for us. We had to think outside the box, be scrappy, and reach new customers at a time when all of the farmer’s markets were closed. On top of that, small retailers were hesitant to buy, supply chains were a mess, and, here we were, presenting a product that co-packers and commercial kitchens had never heard of. We were (and still are) in unchartered territory, but these unprecedented times have made us stronger. More confident than ever before, we know that we can conquer any obstacle that lies ahead.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
It’s crucial to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. It’s impossible to be an expert at everything, so attempting to wear every hat will ultimately limit you. Personally, I’ve learned that I am strong in brand-related areas and struggle in other areas of business. Sometimes, you have to let go of control (and your ego). Find people who can provide real value and they’ll profoundly impact your company’s growth.
I strongly believe that every successful entrepreneur needs the right mix of passion, confidence, luck, and relentless determination. But, without great people around you, it’s hard to sustain that success over time. I’ve been fortunate to have the unconditional support and guidance of my family and friends along the way. As Churn grows, I feel that it’s my duty to bolster that supportive and collaborative culture within the company.
04 What’s on the horizon for Churn?
My previous experience as a chef taught me the importance of mise en place — properly placing every ingredient before dinner service. I’d like to think that’s what we’re doing now.
At Churn, our dinner service is providing products to empower home chefs to cook like pros. In order to do that, we first have to transform the way people think about butter.
We’re making incremental improvements to the brand every day and developing fresh, seasonal flavors that I’m sure you’ll love. Our upcoming packaging might be the biggest change of all. Soon, Churn will have a whole new look and feel — we’re so excited to launch it!
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
As every entrepreneur knows, it’s incredibly difficult to separate the two. When you go all in on something, it naturally becomes your life. So, Churn is my life.
It helps to focus only on the things I can control. There’s no avoiding the long hours and risk-taking that comes with startup life. So, I’ve learned to deal with it while making a conscious effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’ve achieved balance by keeping a free mind and nurturing important relationships. When I’m working on those things, and not aggressively riding the highs and lows, I’m a happy and present person.
I’m inspired by impact. At Churn, we’re pioneering a global butter movement. Beyond that, I’m fueled by my relentless determination to explore all that life has to offer — the ordinary, extraordinary, and everything in between!