Anja and Kevin Bladergroen receive their Entrepreneur of the Year certificate at the annual New Mexico Small Business Development Center awards banquet in Santa Fe.
Owners of Blade’s Bistro receive award for being outstanding entrepreneurs
Anja and Kevin Bladergroen of Blades Bistro in Placitas were honored at the State Capitol as the year’s outstanding client of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Sandoval County Small Business Development Center. The Bladergroens were presented to the state’s lawmakers in a special recognition ceremony in the Capitol building.
Chef Kevin Bladergroen credits the Sandoval County SBDC as a major factor in the success of the restaurant he co-owns with his wife Anja.
Chef Bladergroen started his culinary odyssey in 1975 at Casa Vieja, an acclaimed small restaurant in Corrales. In 1978 he moved to Paris to attend the famous La Varenne cooking school. Returning to the US in 1980, his professional culinary career commenced in earnest. Since then he has managed the kitchens of various restaurants in the US and Europe, from small 50 seat establishments to 500 room hotels. He has worked every kitchen position, from Chef de Garde Manger to Executive Chef, a title he has carried for many years.
In 2002, with his wife Anja, he commenced a professional odyssey by motor home through the US, working in restaurants with chefs he admired, from a small coastal town in Maine to the mountains of Aspen, Colorado and the shores of Pebble Beach, California, to learn various cooking techniques. “My journey,” he says, “provided me invaluable insights into the drive, passion, and organizational talent that establishes and sustains top quality restaurants.”
Chef Bladergroen’s cooking philosophy involves “using quality ingredients and keeping it simple.” His eclectic menu reflects the wide variety of experience he gained on his culinary journey of the past 30 years. According to Gil Garduno’s well-known restaurant website, the chef’s approach is working well: "Blades' Bistro might soon be a standard by which restaurant greatness will be measured. It's that good!"
In February 2008, the Bladergroens visited the Sandoval County SBDC in Bernalillo to learn about business start-up methods and loans. He remembers “how confident Ted Trujillo [SBDC Director] was, which in turn gave me confidence. We were impressed how quickly we felt that Ted became part of our team. He helped us see our options and move forward with creating a business plan and seeking an SBA loan.”
Kevin Bladergroen describes the personal attention he and his wife receive at the SBDC in one word: “Fabulous!” He says he would recommend the SBDC “to anyone wanting to start a new business, as they really have a wide-range of knowledge that is essential for business owners. The quality of the service and attention they give is excellent.”
The Small Business Development Centers provide existing and new small businesses with expert free counseling in planning, marketing, financing, taxes, licensing, accounting, government contracting and in many more areas. To contact the UNM-Los Alamos Sandoval County Small Business Development Center, call (505) 867-5066.