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Any monkey business can be left outside the door
August 04, 2012

Any monkey business can be left outside the door

August 4, 2012

By:  Denise K. Livotti        www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com

I don’t know why but in the beginning from conception to build out to opening I had not thought about getting a lawyer to represent, Petits Chefs Academy, our cooking school for kids here in Vaughan, Ontario.  I had consulted with an accountant on my business plan and number crunching but never a lawyer on legal matters pertaining to a small business.  I believed in the good of humanity and since my journey was to help mankind, particularly our children, I was naïve in not scoping out a lawyer sooner rather than later.

They say that the only way to truly learn is through hard knocks of life and believe me it didn’t take long before we opened for business that I realized I needed to find, interview and select a lawyer for representation, fast.  Just like having a good mechanic you need to have a good lawyer.

People’s intentions you’ll never know until you are faced with their challenges and through them it gives you the opportunity of learning and growing.   We’re a cooking school for kids and within that we work with many different products, ingredients and recipes.  This is why we state we are “nut-safe” just like all schools do, they, as well as ourselves, can never truly state anything is 100%.  Too many factors, external and internal to facilitate a totally sterile and 100% nut-free environment, and anyone who says anything in life is 100% is truly fooling themselves.   Someone can walk in after eating a peanut butter sandwich touch and smear the handle with peanut butter or leaves traces, just enough to send a child with peanut allergies into anaphylactic shock.  That is why all our staff at Petits Chefs Academy is trained in Red Cross CPR and has anaphylactic training.

Then we have some parents who negate their responsibility in being proactive when it comes to the health and well-being of their children or don’t realize their children in fact have allergies until a reaction happens.  They may suspect that their children have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods but never follow through with getting them properly tested.  Here is some great information from Health Canada on Food Allergies and Intolerances, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/index-eng.php.  Some don’t fill out forms properly or in their entirety leaving out important medical information.

Do they expect us to guess what it may or may not be that sets off that particular child?  Allergies can change year to year so if you have inkling that something may be up then act on it and do your due diligence.  This is the care that all parents should take when it comes to their children’s health and well-being.  I, personally, am a dog to a bone when it comes to my children, their health and well-being, at least, I try to cover all my basis first and am courteous to ensure all documentation is filled out, in its entirety, and that I discuss all that needs to be discussed with staff before leaving my children in anyone’s care.  This is not said for everyone else, you cannot force parents to divulge medical or other information that they are not willing to share with you.  So what do you do…?

Then you have a society where everything now is scrutinized under a microscope, there’s a rule for this and a rule for that, a law, a law on top of another law, a code on top of another code, one person may view something differently then another or not at all, personal opinions and views, some absurdity, lack of common sense, know it all’s and what do you get?  I say, who wrote the book “All is fair in love and war”?  So do your due diligence, cover all your bases and make sure to have a good lawyer as part of your business plan.

In the end, you can do a million things right and well, with all good intentions, but it takes that one time, just that one time and that is what people will remember or focus on.  I don’t understand why humanity is this way but it is, unfortunately.  So you pray to God that nothing serious ever happens and you move forward, strong, more learnt, better prepared.

Note to self of small businesses – hire a lawyer.  This is not only for businesses that are dealing with the greater public, such as ourselves, this applies to all businesses, in different sectors and industries, the only difference with my business and your business is who you are serving and how.  Your stories or examples may be different, your risk may be marginal, but we all need legal counsel from time to time.

In the end you can’t be afraid, otherwise; you wouldn’t be able to cross the street for fear of someone else’s intentions, of the unknown, unforeseen, unwanted potential circumstances.  You lead with a good, open heart and a good, open mind, with a good and open lawyer, you should be okay.  ‘Should’ is the operative word.

Petits Chefs Academy, the cooking school for kids and families, a place for betterment, a place for empowering and inspiring oneself, the community, our children, all are welcomed and we’ll do all that we can to accommodate everyone, in our allergy conscious, nut-safe, state of the art kitchen.  If you come with an open heart, an open mind then all is good.  We’re here to educate you and your children on a much needed life skill of cooking healthy and nutritionally, any monkey business can be left outside the door.

Thank you very much.

The following is a guest post from Denise K. Livotti of Petits Chefs Academy the cooking school for kids, families, the community of York Region and GTA.  Offering cooking classes, birthday parties, camps, special events/workshops, school outreach programs and field trips in the life skill of cooking healthy and nutritionally.  Check out our lineup of programs at www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com or call us at 289-553-4445.

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