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THE JOKE THAT BECAME A LANDMARK IDEA

A'ight, so boom.

(In my Brooklyn voice)

I’ve been a professional chef for over 13 years. I started out working in the Prepared Foods Department of Whole Foods Market and was blessed to be surrounded by passionate, talented people who looked just like me. I’ve always wanted to make a difference, to highlight others like me, as a black woman, in spaces that rarely featured us. Throughout my career, I became an unintentional trailblazer, in that I was almost always the only black woman chef in the restaurants I worked for. In my last restaurant, I became the first black woman chef de cuisine they’d ever had, and I realized that my experience could not possibly be unique. 

 

So I started researching.

After leaving the restaurant industry to tackle my catering business full-time, I would think about the best way to help others like me, a lot. But it was this one day, joking about wings, no less, that brought me to where I am today.

I was texting one of my closest friends, and we were joking about ‘fancifying’ the simplest things. He was teasing me as a chef, and as we were laughing about it, he said to me, “you know, all jokes aside, you could totally make a platter of those same things, or maybe a box, and sell it to bars that don’t have a kitchen - and you could call it Barcuterie”.

 

I stopped laughing for a minute and my wheels started turning. Wait a minute now…

 

I said, “You know something? That’s actually…a really good idea…and then maybe, all of the sides or the snacks in the box could be from black-owned businesses”. He texts me back and said, “There you go. Go off and be great, young grasshopper”. 

 

I laughed out loud in real life, but truthfully, my mind was going a mile a minute. What would something like that look like? What if I created a box for real…a different kind of box, one with really dope snacks, or really good food? Something that you knew for sure that you were going to use, because who doesn’t like food? 

 

And then, what if you took it one step further, and intentionally highlighted businesses that normally don’t get to shine?

 

Before my mind could catch up with my fingers, ‘Cuterie was born.”

 

Kimi Michelle, CEO & Founder, ‘CUTERIE

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