Growing up, Ed McIntosh’s education was two-fold: at school, he mastered his multiplication tables and after school, he learned to appreciate food. Young Ed would accompany his mother to delis, butcher shops, and fishmongers in their Bronx neighborhood and then work on his homework at the kitchen table where the delicious aromas of his mother’s cooking would surround him. Because passion for food was instilled in Ed from a young age, he naturally chose a career in the food industry. After an 18-year stint in the corporate food industry, Ed decided he wanted to return to what he loved about food — working directly with people to create delicious dishes while learning from different cultures. This realization motivated Ed to start Tortilladora, a taco company with a restaurant coming soon.
Discover more about Ed’s journey to Tortilladora below.
Did you always know that you wanted to start your own business?
No, it’s really something that realistically came about in the past couple of years. Starting my own business seemed to be something that only the wealthy could do. However, the support of the Union Kitchen and the people around me gave me the confidence and means to pursue my dream.
Why did you start your business?
I was a part of the corporate food industry for a large percentage of my life. After 18 years, I realized I was no longer doing what I really loved with the industry — working with people, learning about different cultures, and of course, food! I feel like the more successful you are in the corporate world, the less in touch you are with those aspects of the industry.
How did you pick the product?
Some foods on the planet are versatile enough to cross bridges and take inspiration from all corners of the globe. Growing up in a large Latino/Italian community and then spending time on the West Coast and in the South, I realized the East Coast was missing really good, delicious tacos. I wanted to find an identity for the taco world in the East Coast of the United States … and who doesn’t like tacos!?
What do you like about food? What drew you to the food industry?
Food has an intangible way of making people feel better. It can connect people to memories, emotions and each other. It's educational and a way to show someone you care without having to say a word. Food is a necessity and can be a luxury at the same time.
What is your biggest business accomplishment to date?
Going from one delivery-exclusive concept to a brick and mortar and multiple concepts within four months.
What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced to date?
Saying no. I feel like there’s so much I want to accomplish and so many people I want to work with that I can’t deny the next challenge.
What does your typical day look like?
One thing I love about what I do is that each day is unpredictable. Working for myself gives me the opportunity to get out of each day whatever I put into it. My days are spent trying to network and make connections to others in the industry. There’s not one day I am not working in some way trying to succeed better than the last.
If you had to start all over, would you do it again? What would you do differently?
Absolutely! I would spend more time discussing paths to success and cost mitigation with other business owners.
What does success look like to you?
Waking up and realizing I pay my bills doing what I love.