Total loan: $7,000
Tallahassee, FL, United States / Food
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A loan helped secure the building for Chopped Champion, Chef Shac's, new Caribbean fusion restaurant, Meraki.
I grew up in Delray Beach, FL to a single mom. We lived with my grandparent. At 5 years old, my grandfather taught me how to cook my first egg and there is where my passion for cooking began. Almost forty years later, I am now a professional Chef and working in the industry for over eighteen years. It has come full circle for me. My family is of Bahamian heritage, so growing up, I always had amazingly flavorful dishes and people would flock to our house to get my granddad's amazing concoctions. I think that is how my food and flavor profile can be described or maybe more formally "Southern Fusion", taking the amazing flavors of the South and the Caribbean to create deeply layered flavors. That has impacted my desire to open my restaurant, Meraki, a Caribbean Fusion fast casual restaurant and a tribute to my grandfather. This restaurant is also a means to support my family and my Tallahassee, FL community. In 2007, I went through a lot with my divorce and having to deal with homelessness as a mom of three children. It has been an amazing journey to see my business grow and to have my dream come true. In 2017, I was the winner of Food Network's Chopped! In the future, I want to become a culinary mogul owning restaurants and food-focused businesses that also better the lives of those who are underserved and lack access to opportunities. I knew I was meant to be an entrepreneur and servant leader. As a kid, I remember collecting mangoes and pecans and selling them to help my mom pay the bills, buy food and help out friends in need. It has always meant so much for me to be able to give back and see my family and community prosper.