“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” - Dorothy Day
Our Blog’s Purpose, Our Goals, and Self-Advertisement
The purpose of this blog is to educate you, our readers, on the beauty of soul food and its rich cultural history. At the same time, we love sharing tasty recipes that you can try for yourself! This blog will also serve as a journal of sorts that contains all of the knowledge we’ve worked hard to gather, ranging from the history, expert opinion, and interviews to cooking technique, recipes, trusted books and resources on soul food and the food industry. Our initial goal for this blog is to create a community of 1,000 dedicated subscribers by the end of 2021! So, readers, help us get there by telling us what sort of engaging content you want to hear next or provide feedback or opinions in the comments below.
Solo’s Food LLC. is a business where healthy soul food is made with love and appreciation, while we carefully deliver that harvest to you. In addition to this, Solo’s Food LLC. also offers a meal prepping service with affordable subscription plans. If you are interested in these services visit us at www.solosfood.com. Irrespective of whether you buy a product or service from us, we would be touched knowing that you could take something useful away from our blog. It would mean the world to us!
Who is “Us”?: Meet The Staff of The Solo’s Food team
Below are the dedicated staff members of Solo’s Food and a bit of personal information that they want to share with you:
Welcome, welcome, welcome! I love to interact with my fam (this is what I call all our valued customers and supporters). I am sure you are like us, passionate about good food and also conscious of what goes in it. This is why I started SoLo’s Food. For many years, I mulled over a fusion restaurant that would showcase all the flavorful foods across the African diaspora. It was not until I started my master’s in nutrition and food science that I realized that though this food is (very, very, very) delicious, many times, they can have unhealthy amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat. I then began to figure out ways to stay authentic to our cultural foods but make it healthier. I know for many when they hear the word “healthy”, thoughts of dry, flavorless chicken or uninspired celery sticks come to mind. However, I find that many of our cultural foods are healthy and chock full of nutrients. The name of the game is: moderation. This is when I called on an old friend, Kheyyon, to help me create a meal prep service that takes macro nutrients, calories, and correct portion size and merge it with cultural classics. I am so ready to revolutionize what eating healthy looks like. I hope you join us on this amazing journey!
A little bit about myself, I am a big dreamer and empath. I like to view things (like our current food system) and imagine what they could be ideally. My introspective, pensive attitude as a child landed me my nickname curious George. My empathic side is really craving human interaction during the pandemic so please, safely, engage with me on social media @solosfood. I read every comment.
Hello, It’s nice to finally meet you. My name is Kheyyon Parker. I have a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition & Food Science from Montclair State University. I love to read ‘intensive self-improvement’ books and apply their learnings in my downtime. Beyond reading books, I am happily bodybuilding in my local gym, Diamond Gym, where I train religiously and learn about competing as a physique athlete. I am a ‘big foodie’ (double entendre intended) with interest in both experiencing and learning about creating southern cuisine, Carribean cuisine, Indian and Asian cuisine.
As a college senior within a major in dietetics, I did not feel emotionally connected with my course load. I understood the importance of the content I was learning but I was not invested in growing as a dietetic professional. Most pathways lead to a dietetic internship that heavily emphasizes clinical dietetics which I seriously disliked. I couldn’t stomach the thought of working in a hospital-based environment. I reflected deeply on my four year experience as a Montclair State University student. I seriously thought “Was there a way to use this nutritional knowledge outside of a dietetic internship?”, “Food is important but is there a way that I can link nutrition to something that matters to me?”, “SHOULD I JUST QUIT?”,
After class one day as I was on the way to switch majors, An old colleague from high school suddenly made an offer to me. “Do you want to be a part of a project to change the way New Jersey views food and nutrition for the better?” That was when I met the founder of Solo’s Food and the rest as you can say was history!
What happened next?
Long story short, I joined the Montclair State University Pitch Contest with my current business partner, Diamonique. The Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship’s Carley Garcia (https://www.montclair.edu/entrepreneur/our-team-and-philosophy/carley-graham-garcia/) and other successful entrepreneurs set the rules of the pitch contest: All teams had 5 minutes or less to successfully pitch your business idea to several veteran judges who were entrepreneurs themselves (Shark Tank™?).
We had a deadline of 1 month to prepare against several other equally ambitious teams. All contestants were provided exceptional support from Montclair’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation such as pitch advice from a variety of successful entrepreneurs in different industries ranging from writing, law, hospitality and more. All teams were also provided a personal mentor to significantly improve the effectiveness of their business pitch.
Our mentor, Doctor Ethné Swartz (https://www.montclair.edu/entrepreneur/our-team-and-philosophy/dr-ethne-swartz/), an accomplished professional who despite being a full time professor at Montclair State University also is an very accomplished entrepreneur herself who literally wrote the book (books) on many areas of business (Check out the awesomeness that is Dr.Swartz in the link above). She has gone above and beyond preparing us for the pitch contest and still to this day is committed to taking our business and personal development to the next level. We will never be able to thank her enough for her ongoing support. In my opinion, Dr.Swartz mentorship and time is by far the greatest prize and resource we’ve received from the MSU pitch contest. The price alone was worth entering the contest.
After revising and drilling our pitch rigorously with the help of Dr.Swartz, Solo’s Food was announced the 2nd Place winner in the Montclair 2020 pitch contest despite my au naturel hair style at the time (https://www.montclair.edu/cehs/2020/05/01/solos-food-wins-2nd-place-at-2020-startup-montclair-pitch-contest/ ). The funding from the Montclair State Pitch contest literally provided us with the funding needed to make our ideal, Solo’s Food, a reality. As one of the winning pitch teams, Solo’s Food received many generous benefits, one of which was the use of Montclair’s own innovation lab as a base of operations. We had the privilege to run our newly funded business in the lab to test-run our business model over the course of the summer. The Solo’s Food Team is so thankful to The Feliciano Center for not only the pitch contest but also the support provided by all of the staff and judges. Without this support, Solo’s Food may have taken much much longer to receive the fundings necessary to support itself. Here are photos from our time at the innovation lab this summer:
Nice Outro: Call to Action & Nice Outro
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Tell us what you think about the article or what content you want more of by leaving a comment below. If you are interested in trying our latest holiday menu items such as Sweet Potato Spiced Coffee and more, visit our website at www.solosfood.com. We hope this is a start to a beautiful partnership between You and Solo’s Blog. And remember to regularly read content that is good for the mind & soul!