If there’s one thing that Chef Kimberly Parris knows, it’s that snacks have the power to bring joy in every bite. But for this culinary maven and her subscription snack box startup, ’Cuterie, it’s not just about delicious treats; it’s about giving back, promoting diversity, and empowering Black and brown female foodies to rise and shine in the competitive culinary world. That mission, and lots of deliciousness, is packed into her brand-new subscription snack box, ’Cuterie.
“Everybody snacks,” says Parris, ’Cuterie founder and CEO. “We just all snack differently.”
That’s a good thing, considering she’s ready to bring some new treats into the spotlight of the snack game. It’s a refreshing spin on an industry largely dominated by white men. According to an independent 2020 study by the Restaurant Opportunities Center, men held 74% of management positions, and white people held 81% percent of those coveted front-of-house management slots. But ’Cuterie bucks that male, pale, and stale trend like a renegade. “One hundred percent of our vendors are people of color or women,” says Parris.
“Our five-year vision is to be a part of bridging the equity gap in snack and prepared food businesses,” Parris adds. “The biggest part of achieving this goal is by providing a safe space for BIPOC and women-owned businesses to receive assistance in starting and scaling their businesses.”
And it all starts with a big yellow box.
’Cuterie: A Revolution of Flavor and Inclusivity Two years ago, while scores of restaurants worldwide shuttered due to the stress and strain of the pandemic, Parris was busy cooking up her lightbulb of an idea. After working in the restaurant industry for 12 years, she had just hung up her apron as the chef de cuisine at Eataly, a veritable mecca for Italian foods in New York City, and was in the midst of her second year as a full-time entrepreneur, having launched her bespoke catering business.
"I had this vision of bringing together an assortment of snacks that celebrate the uniqueness of everyone's snacking preferences. When I first started, I had 13 boxes in mind. But as the concept evolved, I realized that my mission was bigger than just curating snacks. I wanted to create a community for those entering the game. I wanted to create a space where Black- or women-owned brands could shine and where customers could savor flavors from across the country, all in one exciting box."
She’s since amassed a list of 175 participating vendors, largely women of color, who share their little-known goodies with Parris who then curates every box. Each banana-yellow box can serve two to three hungry snackers. The nonperishable boxes ship nationwide.
’Cuterie currently offers three snack boxes — The Just Snaks Box, The Wellness Box, and The Catching Flights Box — and two meal boxes —The Breakfast Box and its dinner companion, The More Than Leaves Box. The offerings, all vegan friendly, are carefully curated. There are handcrafted jams, exotic teas, spicy chips, and gourmet pancakes and maple syrup to dig into. Each box comes with a note with QR codes that spill the tea on the vendor’s origin stories. The meal boxes also come with recipes so ’Cuterie fans can get creative in the kitchen. And more exciting snack box drops are on the horizon, promises Parris.
Parris Calls ’Cuterie a Space of Equity
One year in, she says the growing snack company is as satisfying to the mouth as it is to the soul. “I wanted to do something that was sustainable and impactful, even during challenging times. Snacks became the perfect vehicle — everyone loves them, and they transcend time and space,” shares Parris.
“Creating community, closing the equity gap, all by helping bring a new revenue stream to marginalized women, is at the core of ’Cuterie’s mission,” adds Parris.
Already, the kudos have been rolling in. “I am absolutely in love with my box!!!” wrote Monique, a reviewer from Brooklyn, New York. “From the packaging to the item’s OMG. This concept is necessary and amazing.”
“(We) are looking forward to trying all the snacks,” shared Tarrah from Farrell, Pennsylvania. “And we’re so hype to see that there were little recipes inside the brochure!”