10 min 18 sec

Private Chef Turns Performance Food Into $30,000/Month Hustle

A California professional uses her autoimmune disease to learn about healthy performance food, creating two businesses in the process.
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What It's About

Phat Fudge leads to phat profits for this California paleo chef.

Business Model
Skills Required
Nutrition & Cooking
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Her audience loved that she wasn’t the kind of person to resort to showing off, and it built trust between her and them. She willingly gave the knowledge that she had accumulated along the way, and she never asked anything of them. And it’s this that Mary credits with how freely they shared her materials with others—they recognized that she was doing what she did for the love of the process.

Fun Fact

In addition to hustling her healthy and delicious fudge-y solutions to your everyday energy gel packets, Mary also makes things like bacon granola—or "Unicorn Fuel" as she likes to call it—and you can find the recipe for it on her Paleo Chef website!

Notes from Chris

Episode 422
Since her days on the playground in elementary school, Mary Shenouda never felt truly healthy, but her teachers and countless health professionals couldn’t pinpoint the source of her discomfort. She was constantly up to date with the latest in medications, but nothing ever seemed to work. Nothing liberated her from what felt like a lifetime of suffering.

She was pricked and prodded to no avail, and by the time she was an adult she’d had so many blood samples drawn that she speculated she was actually keeping a small town of vampires alive somewhere.

This course continued through her early twenties, and when Mary turned twenty-three, her health fell to an all-time low.

Frustrated and tired of finding herself visiting hospitals for more expensive tests, Mary realized she needed to take matters into her own hands. Through her extensive research, she learned that, if she adopted a paleo diet and eliminated processed foods, she might actually be able to cure her ailments since it seemed that she was gluten intolerant.

Within months of learning how to cook gluten-free, paleo meals for herself, Mary’s sickness began to feel like a thing of the past.

Thrilled that she was finally beginning to feel like a normal human being again, she decided to document her journey online and share all some of the recipes and habits that were getting her back in tip-top shape.

Before she knew it, she was developing a significant following on social media!

Mary enjoyed her corporate job in San Francisco, but over time, she realized she had a greater calling than growing tech companies: teaching people to eat healthy food. Mary eventually left her tech job to cook and consult full time.

But she didn’t just stop there.

Mary wasn’t a fan of the many nutrient gels, powders, and sugar bars she tried during her personal health renaissance, so she began experimenting with her own performance food. After a few weeks of testing, she landed on a fudge-like recipe and called it Phat Fudge (for those who may not be in the know, PHAT stands for "Pretty Hot And Tempting").

And after a couple of years in business, Mary is bringing in around $30,000/month with this new side business, and she's even working on a partnership with Whole Foods!


  • Phat Fudge: Crush life with the help of Mary's Phat Fudge—get yours on her website!

  • Shopify: Mary used Shopify to set up her store for Phat Fudge, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
  • Paleo Chef: While you're at it, check out Mary's other side hustle project

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Be authentic and don't hold anything back. Share your victories and your failures, and you'll gain the trust of your followers. People want to see that you're human."
—Mary Shenouda #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau