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Chef Patrick McGrath Beraduce, who grew up on Marco Island, has the kind of culinary pedigree that makes him stand out. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, then spent a year in Boston working for Legal Sea Foods, one of the largest seafood companies along the Eastern Seaboard. From there, he moved to Seattle, where he worked at a hot new distillery. But despite his big-city successes, Beraduce came down with a case of homesickness. In 2019, he moved back to Naples to be closer to his family, and with the move came a dramatic career leap: He decided to launch his own business.

“There was no hesitation,” says Beraduce, now 28. “I was ready to work for myself. But there was definitely fear.”

Luckily, he didn’t let the fear stop him. In fact, he pushed ahead with his plans to open a meal prep service, and when his test run revealed that he needed to pivot after just four months, he was open to that, too. “Don’t get discouraged if your business needs to change,” he advises other entrepreneurs. “It’s important to let things evolve.” 

Soon Beraduce was running a successful after-school dinner club for elementary school students. His business, Quality Thyme Meals, teaches young learners how to make dishes such as Moroccan-spiced fish and Korean kimchi fried rice. Everyone goes home with a hot meal that’ll feed a family of four. He also offers private in-home catering across Southwest Florida. “I’m constantly coming up with new dishes. As a chef, that’s exciting,” he says.

No Entrepreneur Is an Island

Beraduce has a wide skill set, and one of his most useful tools has been his gift for gab. “My fiancee makes fun of me because I can talk to anyone,” he says, “and my mom used to get report cards for me in elementary school that said, ‘Patrick is an excellent student, but he talks too much.’”

His ability to chat serves him particularly well now. He makes it a point to talk to as many other business owners as he can, and he suggested new entrepreneurs do the same. “A lot of young entrepreneurs feel like they don’t need help,” he says. “But you can’t do it all by yourself.”

For those who don’t have a natural talent for chitchat, he suggests joining a group such as Business Network International, which brings together people from a variety of industries with the express purpose of networking.

Beraduce joined BNI six months ago, and he said the experience has been invaluable: “I wanted to network with as wide a range of people as I could, and I’ve gotten referrals from people I’d never have thought to talk to.” For example, the massage therapist who put him in touch with one of her clients in Port Royal, now one of Beraduce’s most important catering gigs. 

“You never know who’s going to be able to connect you to someone,” he says. 

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