Tufari explains her change of heart: “I really enjoyed working at Pfizer, but I just started realising that I didn’t want my boss’ job, and I didn’t want my boss’ boss’ job. One day I just thought ‘Shoot! Where am I going with this?’”
After toying with the idea of taking some time out to regroup, and perhaps studying an MBA, Tufari decided she’d like to try her hand at running a small business. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute… I know someone who’s got a small business – I might just gatecrash that one!”
But, says Tufari, her mum, Anna Venturi – then running a cookery school and catering company called Italian Secrets – was rather hesitant about the idea. “When I first approached the subject, I said ‘Mum, I’ve got to speak to you about something really important.’ Her first reaction was, ‘Are you pregnant?’ When I told her I actually wanted to go into business with her, she said ‘I don’t know if that’s better or worse!’”
Tufari says her mum warned her against leaving the job security and good salary at Pfizer. But, when Tufari made it clear that she was definitely leaving her job, her mum snapped her up, and Venturi’s Table was born. “Mum had been running a successful cookery school for ten years, and had done a few corporate events with some of her own clients. We decided to take the plunge at a time when corporate cookery events were non-existent.”
Almost three years on, mom and daughter are seeing repeat business from the likes of Google and Microsoft, and are projecting just under £1m turnover next year.
And the secret, says Tufari, is offering stressed-out nine-to-fivers a relaxing new way to unwind with their colleagues. “We’ve created a really stress-free environment that doesn’t look like a place where you’ll be tested. I have a huge amount of empathy for the people that come to the events because I was one of them – I know what it’s like working in all the corporate rubbish."
And don’t even mention the word ‘team-building’: "I hate that kind of jargon, and we really avoid it. Here, people have a glass of wine in one hand, they walk around and chat, and relax because they feel like they’re in a family home."