My Eureka Moment: From Lawyer To Greek Chef

By Adam Kaufman


My Eureka Moment: Rona Economou

NEW YORK – Rona Economou methodically chops feta cheese and drips olive oil onto sheets of thin filo dough. Portraits of her Greek grandparents, who taught her how to make dishes from their homeland, hang over her head. The 34-year-old is busy preparing spanakopita, a Greek pastry that blends spinach and feta cheese and is baked into a flaky crust.

It's a big career turnaround for the former attorney. Only three years ago, Economou was a lawyer earning a good salary at a large Manhattan law firm. After the recession hit, in 2009, layoffs at her firm sent her packing. She had no idea what she would do. Then she visited the Essex Street Market, a closed air market in lower Manhattan, saw an unoccupied stall and had an idea. "I knew that I could have that space and I knew that I could support myself doing what I loved," she recalled. "It all happened in an instant."

Only six months after losing her corporate job, Economou began constructing the food stall. She named it Boubouki, which means "budding flower" in Greek. A small space measuring just 7 feet by 7 feet, outfitted with a stove, sink and serving counter, the stall has been the home to her thriving business since 2010. "I knew from the beginning, I wanted to make food that was close to my roots, that I had grown up eating," said Economou. Boubouki's specialties include Greek flatbread with tomato and feta, chickpea salad, pear cake and baklava.

"Boubouki is actually very fitting [as a name]," she said. "The stall is so small, and a flower bud is something that is so small that is going to grow into something bigger."

Watch the video above to find out more about Rona Economou's career transition from lawyer to Greek pastry chef and learn about the challenges and sacrifices that new entrepreneurs like her must often face.



Next: My Eureka Moment: From Wall-Streeter To Urban Farmer



Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

31 Comments

Filter by:
trisanna

Very interesting article about the lawyer who became a cook!

March 21 2012 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
love2travel212

Congratulations to Rona! I will make it a point to visit her little piece of heaven next time I visit NY! What a nice, down-to-earth story; we need to see more of these.

March 21 2012 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maletred

Yasou!!! Tikanis? Ms. Economou went for it and I hope she is hugely successful. Ingenuity, creativity, hard work, focus and discipline.... they all help.

March 21 2012 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ofsanik

A Scarecrow?

March 21 2012 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hrlybill

Good for her, she worked her butt of to become a lawyer and then worked her butt off to do something she truely loves to do. People could learn something from a person like that, and more people should be like that. Not waiting in line for hand outs and entitlements.

March 21 2012 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
janshart

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS....TRUE HUMAN SPIRIT!!!

March 21 2012 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
misserlinda

I found this to be a wonderful story. So many of us have dreams and ideas, but are held back by one big powerful word "FEAR." The hardest thing to overcome. I applaud her and wish her well

March 21 2012 at 1:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
baxterdouglas40

One success story countered by 5 or 6 million whos unemployment destroyed their lives and the lives of their families.Plus as she worked as a lawyer,she most likely had wads of money to invest in her business.To suggest everyone can do the same is preposterous.Sounds like republican/conservative b.s propaganda to me.

March 21 2012 at 1:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to baxterdouglas40's comment
Michael

Think again. My family has always been a "blue collar" "working class" family. My father hurt his back and knee (which already has pins in it) while at work and had nothing but workman's comp to cover it. My brother is an amputee and was working in a call center for a medical equipment company. My sister was a stay at home mother. My stepmother was a pediatric nurse. In order to get the medical coverage my father needed they quit their jobs, my stepmother put her 401k up as collateral. Now they own and operate a restaurant and enjoy it immensely and as a disable and retired veteran I enjoy helping out on the good days that I can. Now my parents no longer have to worry about how to pay their bills at the end of the month. I fully support anyone that decided to go find what they love and doing it. You might as well be happy.

March 21 2012 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CATHYANA

Great successful story. I really admire her inspiration during these had times. Many wouldn't have chosen this route and woud have given up.

March 21 2012 at 1:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mikesigell

We would suggest that Miss Economou freeze her products and get them to the store such as Trader Joes.
They had a year ago a great spinach pie which sold well andn then the manufacturer stopped making it.

March 21 2012 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Oct 19 - 26
View All

Picks From the Web