By Katie Moosbrugger
Today’s Moms on the Move all have one thing in common – food! I’m excited to introduce you to Erin, Heena and Michele. All of these inspiring ladies work for, or own, a food business that I am certain you are familiar with.
As always, we are continually amazed at what our local moms are “cooking up” here in the Triad. Enjoy today’s profiles, and if you know of a mom you would like to see featured, please email me at Katie@TriadMomsonMain.com.
For most of her adult life, Erin Williams has spent time in the food and beverage industry. Her love for hospitality began in college where she waited tables, bartended and managed various restaurants. She has also served as a craft beer manager for a local distributor, among other positions. At one point, she took a job as a cooking school assistant where she learned alongside some of Atlanta’s best chefs. So it’s not surprising to know that today Erin is the Area Catering Sales Manager at Zoës Kitchen for the Piedmont Triad.
If you haven’t heard, Zoës Kitchen is a fast, casual restaurant that serves a distinct menu of fresh Mediterranean dishes. Click HERE to see TMoM’s write up of Zoës last year. At Zoës, Erin is responsible for the marketing of their catering services and the restaurants in general, as well as educating guests on the healthy benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle. She works directly with many different types of organizations and events that would call Zoës for their catering needs. There are so many fantastic offerings at Zoës, but when asked, Erin says right now she is especially enjoying the Salmon Kabobs, the Live Med Salad, and the new Vegan Lentil Soup. When she wants to indulge, she snacks on the new lemon cookies that are made with olive oil instead of butter.
Erin and her husband, Tyson, are busy raising their 21-month-old son Beckett. Although Erin says she often feels like she has a million balls in the air and one could drop at any moment, she has learned the lesson of asking for help when needed. “My house may rarely be clean, I don’t get to cook home cooked meals as often as I would like, and sometimes my biggest success of the day is getting out the door on time in the morning with matching shoes, but my life is full.”
Heena Vadgama Suri
One of the things we love to do on TMoM is celebrate different cultures and traditions of our readers, and Heena has one of the most colorful backgrounds. Originally from Tanzania, East Africa, Heena moved to England after high school, and then to the US in 2001. She met and married her husband, Sukhraj “Raj” Singh Suri, a year after she arrived in the states, and they have lived in the Triad for 15 years where they are raising their two sons: Suveer (9) and Taran (6).
An amazing part of her culture is living with extended family. Heena and her family reside with Heena’s parents as well as her brother, his wife and their two daughters – all in one house in Clemmons. She says, “It makes me feel happy to be surrounded by family all the time. We all help out on house duties like cooking, cleaning, etc. I believe, that with family together, we turn a house into a loving home.” Heena adds that, of course, 10 people under one roof can present challenges, but she says it has taught them all to be patient, loving, caring, and most of all respectful to one another.
Although she is from Africa, Heena’s ancestors (and her husband’s ancestors) are from India, and they follow Hindu customs. Her favorite holiday is Diwali, also known as Festival of Light – a celebration that involves lots of colorful decorations, cooking, sweet goodies, visits to the Temple, blessings and gift exchanges.
Heena’s family owns the two Brixx Pizza restaurants in the Triad (one in Winston-Salem and one in Greensboro) where she is actively involved as an officer overseeing sales and payroll, among other things. When not busy raising a family or helping to run the family business, Heena enjoys volunteering, reading, crafts, decorating cakes, spending time with her kids and friends, or just simply relaxing!
Michele says that she, like many entrepreneurs, wears many hats and works countless hours with the hope of “making a living at some point.” However, I think it’s fair to say she’s now reached that point. Michele and her husband, Lance, are the owners and operators of two Winston-Salem businesses: First Street Draught House, a local watering hole, and Red Clay Gourmet, a specialty food company.
Their first business venture was with First Street, which then became the springboard to create their second business venture with Red Clay. For years, the made-from-scratch and low-mayo pimento cheese they created and sold at First Street was a huge success. Because of that, Michele and Lance played around with different recipes until they perfected their already beloved pimento cheese, and then began selling it at a local farmer’s market. Their product took off and eventually Red Clay Gourmet was born.
Michele boasts that Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese is the highest quality, most delicious pimento cheese you can find on the market today. They pride themselves on using hormone-free, cheese tray-quality cheeses (like Cabot sharp white cheddar), non-GMO, cage-free egg mayonnaise (only enough to make it spreadable) and no artificial preservatives. The company has also grown like crazy in just four years. You can find their pimento cheese in 40 states (see Triad grocery locations on their website), and in all kinds of stores – from gourmet/specialty shops to national retailers to co-ops and restaurants.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Michele likes to say she is a northern girl who makes the best pimento cheese in the South! When she is not working (which is rare), all of her spare time revolves around her husband and their two children: Ellye (7) and Maddock (5). They love to play games and attend their many gymnastics, baseball, soccer or swimming events together!
Wonderful profiles, and I love seeing the faces behind these favorite local businesses. Congrats, ladies!