Today we’d like to introduce you to Antoine Lecas.
Antoine, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Started waiting tables when I was 17 in Paris where I come from. After completing a bachelor’s in hospitality, I then work in London, french Alps and south of France, where I lived for ten years. I Came to the US in 2008 to be part of the F&B team that reopened the Fontainebleau Miami beach. After three years, I wanted to see something different and moved to the Hamptons for the summer. The plan was to move to the city… by November I was back in Miami. Pouch by a new hospitality group, I was opening GM for Juvia. This is when I met Jaime. Witch is today, my business partner.
After two years, I let him take over and decided to move west. I worked for Steve Wynn in Las Vegas. The cold-pressed juice was getting bigger at the market and serious people were juicing in house (a dedicated kitchen at Wynn). Came back to Miami and partner with Brad Kilgore to open Alter in Wynwood. As a single father, Ethan, my son is gonna be 9 in April, I wanted to explore something different and got an opportunity to work for a juice company in CT. Shortly after I decided to start a company in Miami, wholesale juice for the hospitality industry. Sticking to the basics, Cold-pressed, Non-Gmo fruit, HPP for safety and extended shelf life, innovative packaging, eco-friendly recycling as much as possible.
MEP, Florida, was born. Started in 500 sqf kitchen in FLL, we now in 2,500 sqft in little river, Miami. We just launched our new custom made pouch. At the same time, I was invited to be part of a restaurant project in Colorado and join the Betula Aspen team as a director of operation. We opened the restaurant in December 2019 and it been an amazing experience. I love to be able to travel, work and leading an amazing team.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Smooth road… ask that to any entrepreneur, especially in Miami. It’s been good. Just the permiting was a very frustrating stage when we decided to build our own space. Having to deal with construction, city regulation, GC, landlord and architect is like having a baby for a guy. It’s happening all around you but when it’s your turn, you simply have no clue of what’s going on! My favorite quote about entrepreneurship is “Small business is not for the faint of heart, its for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer.”
We’d love to hear more about your business.
MEP Florida is wholesale juice company. We focus on restaurants, bars and resorts in Florida. The idea is providing a solution to operators that would love to make fresh juice but don’t have the equipment, time, patience or workforce. We use HPP (high-pressure processing), a cold pasteurisation process to extend shelf life without hurting taste or all the good nutrients you want. We use a large 3-liter pouch (101oz) that is super user friendly and good for our planet as a multi-server option.
Most of our juices are used in craft cocktails and also in breakfast buffet or meeting breaks. We wanted to host people at the juice plant, so we made a cooler space than usual for wholesale production with showcase type kitchen. That was important for us. Another part was recycling all the crops from juicing. We partnered with a farmer in Homestead that picks up our fruits left over after he is done with deliveries, so he drives a full truck in and out, very cool!
What were you like growing up?
From my youngest age, I was hanging in the kitchen with my grandma. She was cooking for everybody and spent most of her time. I was eating all day and loved food from the youngest age, trying everything and very curious, some will say annoying. Both my parents were an entrepreneur and working a lot, they definitely inspired me. After working in a restaurant for over 20 years, I wanted to do something different. Create something from A to Z that wasn’t a restaurant.
- Address: 300 NE 75th street, Miami FL 33138
- Website: mepflorida.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @m.e.p.florida