Former MasterChef contestant Alice Zaslavsky, aka Alice in Frames, has transitioned from a Maccas cook, to a teacher, to a reality TV contestant, and is now a food entrepreneur.
Zaslavsky has built her own business from the ground up, but her career in food started well before she launched Alice in Frames.
Just after she turned 14 she got a job flipping burgers at Maccas. Zaslavsky studied creative arts at uni but was concerned she would be out of work so decided to be a teacher.
“I loved cooking for my family and friends and was doing cooking classes to build up my skills,” she recently told Business Insider. Not a big MasterChef watcher, when Zaslavsky got the call up she didn’t really know what to expect.
She called her boss at the local school but he wasn’t as thrilled with her reality TV score as she was. Zaslavsky was told if she wasn’t at work on Monday, she wouldn’t have a job. She figured her parents, who are both academics, also wouldn’t be too thrilled about her choice to appear on the show.
“You can imagine the conversation: ‘Mum, dad I’ve left my job as a teacher to pursue a career in reality television’ so I didn’t tell them,” Zaslavsky said. “Having quit my job I thought ‘wow this is serious’, I had to find something that validates my decision.”
The whole Masterchef process took about nine months. During which Zaslavsky was thinking about what to do next. Her initial idea was to establish a “food bus” which would travel between schools and talk to kids about healthy food.
After reaching the top 7 on the show, and being the top Victorian, Zaslavsky decided she would take a more scalable approach to promoting healthy eating to kids.
But in doing a little bit of everything, the energetic, vivacious woman has realised how important it is to “slow down”. Especially when she’s trading off her personal brand.
“You don’t have to pitch yourself out all the time because otherwise people won’t see value,” she said. “I’m still learning that because I’m impatient, I’m not going to wait for people to come for me.
“A lot of my business is very much through generating opportunities, networking and seeing where collaborations can come from.”
One of the things she struggled with when going out on her own was figuring out how much she was worth when quoting jobs out.
“I’m not the sort of person who likes the nitty gritty,” she said.
“I went through that period of pitching myself really high and then we can negotiate – which i really hate, it’s really fluffy.”
But she’s figured out how to calculate her time and enlists the help of accounting platforms like MYOB to do the day-to-day business stuff.
“I have a per hour fee in my mind and I calculate every job on how long it will take me so I quote out knowing that that figure come back to a tangible thing,” she said. “Early on, I felt like a massive Noob.”
Figuring out what her niche was and learning to “milk it” was a big turning point for the personality.
“When you have successes and real goals, you’re doing this for you – you’re not doing this for the man,” she said. “As long as I have enough money to eat what I want to eat and do what I want to do, I’m cool with that.”