My Career Choice: Becky Rosenthal – Becky’s Bites

Becky’s Bites began one hungry evening in a bite-sized kitchen in Manhattan. Craving just a bite of New York cheesecake, Becky Rosenthal whipped up her first batch of – and now signature – chocolate dipped cream cheese bites.

Deciding that what she had created was better than cheesecake, she locked herself up in her test kitchen and perfected recipes for spreads and bites all based with cream cheese. Becky and Richard, her husband and business partner, realized that cream cheese didn’t have to be so ordinary. They began to reimagine the beloved classic with a mission to make New York City known for its cream cheese in the same way it’s famous for its bagels and cheesecake.

Launching their first brick and mortar shop in the East Village of Manhattan, Becky’s Bites now serves a variety of noshes and desserts, including spreads, bagels, tarts, cookie sandwiches, chocolates and more.

Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
In my house growing up, cooking and baking was a big part of our life. When I was about 10 years old, I remember my dad coming home from haven taken a culinary course and he shared with me the recipe he learned for making the perfect apple pie in class. I must have made the recipe 100 times. The pages were covered in sugar, butter, and flour from being reused over and over again. Everyone I made them for raved over my pies and I thought, I could open my own business! I never forgot how much I love making something from scratch and sharing it with others for them to enjoy.

What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
I love that every day is different. There’s always a new challenge, a new project, and the flexibility to explore creativity.

What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
My education in food has always been from watching, observing, and then putting it into practice. I was hooked! I practiced and cooked us much as I could at home, learned from my Dad, who taught me proper knife skills and techniques, and then constantly watched the Food Network and Cooking Channel, picking up tips and ingredient pairings. Eventually it all just clicked.

Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
I come from a very entrepreneurial family so luckily they were very encouraging. My mom is a creative genius and always taught us to think outside the box and follow our passions.

Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
Every adventure has its ups and downs. There have been many challenging moments where I’ve had my doubts, but I always try to reset and come back to why I did this in the first place. If I still agree with our initial purpose, I keep going. One step at a time. It’s a good gut check and I really believe you must do what you feel is right, even if it may not always be the safe rational choice! And it is essential to have a support system around you too. They’re the ones who keep you going and ground you when the day in and day our gets tough!

When did your career reach a tipping point?
Last summer definitely. I had done Becky’s Bites catering for a while but knew the idea was something uniquely special and needed more. A flagship retail store was what would help launch this concept. As soon as we opened, there was a ton of excitement and buzz in the press from what we were doing which was very validating and definitely one measure of success in our story.

Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
When my husband and I started this we had never owned or operated a food business before. Everything from negotiating the lease, to drawing up blueprints, getting city approvals, and running the day to day of this business has all been something we’ve had to learn as we go. I think the smartest thing you can do as an entrepreneur is surround yourself with people who are excellent at what they do. You don’t have to know how to do everything, but you have to find the people and resources that do.

What single skill has proven to be most useful?
Being resourceful has been my biggest asset. No matter the obstacle, knowing there is always a solution has been the most useful way of thinking for me.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Honestly, I’m proud of everything we’ve done! Starting a food business, and one in NYC is very challenging. I’m proud that we made it a whole year, I’m proud that we had over 7 million views on our Insider Food video – that there was that much interest in what we are doing! But most of all I’m proud my husband and I have done this together, supported each other along the way, that we value each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the team we are. It’s been an incredible experience.

Any advice for others entering your profession?
Be prepared for the unexpected. Learn to take things one step at a time, otherwise it can be very overwhelming. But also have fun with it! You’re doing this because it excites you. Try to celebrate the small victories. They are what will keep you going.

For more information, so to the website for Becky’s Bites.