PARK CITY, Utah – Chris McLaws, launched Gourmand Food Tours in 2011. Now, the business is a dual venture that Chris operates with her daughter, Rachel McLaws. They share a family passion for enjoying Historic Main Street cuisine. Food tour participants sample an array of dishes from Main Street restaurants while learning about local history.
The business idea was sparked during a fateful trip to Seattle. “Chris, the founder (and my mom), took the family on a walking food tour of the famous market, Pike’s Place. Delighted at the historical and culinary education, Chris thought that a similar walking tour could be hosted in our hometown of Park City,” Rachel said.
Rachel describes how dining on Main Street shaped her childhood. “In my family, we LOVE to eat! Going out to eat, especially to Main Street, was the reward in my household for good grades and other celebrations,” she said. “We have dined at many of the classic Park City restaurants for my whole life.”
When Chris launched Gourmand Food Tours, she shaped the experience from her long-time experiences of Main Street dining. “There is so much good food on Main Street, and Gourmand makes these bites accessible to many. By visiting multiple stops on one tour, customers get a variety of tastes and ambiance,” Rachel said.
Since Rachel was in college in 2011, Chris started the business as a solo venture and joined forces with Rachel after graduation. “[Chris] created the entire business on her own while I was still in university. And since the two of us have been running tours together for over a decade,” Rachel said, “I also love that our company is women-owned, family-owned, and locally owned.”
Rachel believes her mom’s gregarious personality lends to the business’s success and makes each food tour unforgettable.
“Chris has always been the most outgoing person I know. She can make connections and conversations with anyone. Her people-person personality made her so well-suited for entering the service and food industry where customers seek a friendly and memorable experience,” she said.
When Rachel graduated from college and joined Gourmand Food Tours, she added her own flair. “Being a Leo myself, I love to perform, teach, and make friends! Having been a long-time server, an educator, and a tour guide fits my loud and large personality,” she said.
Rachel and Chris delight in sharing their hometown with visitors. “The most rewarding part about being a tour guide in Park City is introducing and sharing highlights of a town I know and love… and eating, of course,” Rachel said. “I love when our customers are satisfied, and I can tell they’ll remember the tour for a long time.”
Along with most of the food industry, Gourmand Food Tours had to make adjustments when the pandemic hit. “Post-COVID, Gourmand Tours is mostly running private tours,” she said. However, they are hopeful that by next year they will be able to offer group tours again.
Rachel is excited to announce a shift in the business. “I am taking a bigger leadership role in running Gourmand Tours, and Chris will be taking a long-awaited break. She has run hundreds of tours in over ten years, and she wants to spend more energy on her job as a therapist and being a grandma to my two kids,” said Rachel. “My hope is to get even more integrated with the restaurateurs and stakeholders in Park City. There are lots of opportunities for growth and innovation within the tour.”