We had the chance to connect with Chef Raichelle Carter and hear her thoughts on all things business, clean eating, community building, and navigating business ownership during a pandemic. We are so inspired by her story of trying different jobs and ultimately paving her own path and building a business out of a lifestyle she believes in, and all the ways she is pivoting her business to fit the online space. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about your brand and what makes you stand out in the culinary world:
"We are a Harlem, NYC based culinary lifestyle brand that focuses on the urban and inner communities that have disproportionate opportunities to eat well. We are an upscale comfort group that promotes taking the idea that healthy equates to less flavor, less fun. As a company we stress the individual aspects that make us all who we are, as well as in the food we gravitate towards. No food is right, or better, it is simply in its preparation that we find ourselves mistreating our produce. We strive to educate those who have otherwise been left in the dark on the benefits of a clean diet, and natural ingredients. There’s nothing more special than the feeling a plate of food gives you, nothing but love, and we serve up a portion on every platter!"
What started the idea for 123GRUB?
"Being the youngest of 8 you can imagine I’ve had to literally fight to get my portions of supper, but as barbaric as it sounds that experience has given me an immense love for the culinary world and its systems. It taught me to appreciate every ingredient, to let the food do the talking, waste less, create more, and most importantly it taught me discipline. I have immense passion for connection so I find it natural I chose this profession, however this journey hasn’t been easy for me, in fact 14 years in I’m just coming to terms with my progress and feeling content with the tracks I’ve laid. I am also a musician, a nature lover, and cinema geek. My days are just as normal as anyone else’s when I’m not deep frying, sautéing or basting away."
What has your experience been as business owner during the pandemic?
"As a BIPOC business owner it has been challenging, especially during this time to keep a hold on standards as well as run a successful business, when you don’t necessarily know where the next dollar is coming from. All in all we have managed to keep our hands in the community and speak to the voice of the people we so vehemently represent. From March to April we lost over 75% of our bookings and had to refund almost $5000 in otherwise non-refundable deposits, so it was tough, and the government didn’t have a real handle on it. So we started little cooking classes, private dinners, spice lines, really anything we could do within brand to keep some revenue flowing in. Honestly it’s been a rollercoaster of sorts but the values and practices we adapted along the way; only experience can bring. We are just glad to be able to stand through it all and have a story to pass on!"