We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Roberts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I started my catering business it had been years of thinking about it off and on. I knew that I really didn’t want to start with a restaurant and the responsibilities of owning or renting a building , staff etc. I still wanted to have time for the things I love to do.
What should our readers know about your business?
I focus on soul food which includes oxtails, neck-bones, collard greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken. I think as long as I’ve lived that I’ve had Soul Food prepared for me in some type of way. My desire to learn how to cook like my grandmother and other women who cooked this type of food while I was growing up is what drew me to becoming a Soul Food chef. As an African American, I’ve had soul food cooked in a variety of ways, but somehow I found my niche and my particular way to season and flavor my food because I don’t like certain things therefore I don’t put those things in my food but it still taste very soulful and flavorful. The hardest part of the journey was advertising and getting people outside of my family to support and purchase my meals. Therefore in the beginning, I offered discounts and gave away meals for free just to encourage people to try the food, but once they try my dishes that I prepared they were sold and even referred me to other people. I now have a wonderful social media marketer who knows how to create content, record and edit videos, and has grown my social media presence that now I do not struggle for clients. What I want the world to know about my brand and story is Michelle specializes in Soul Food cooking, encouraging women, and she has a passion for giving back to the community. Michelle’s professional accomplishments are many but nothing drives her more than her passion for God, cooking, and helping people. She works diligently to communicate that passion within the urban community. Michelle loves to cook meals that truly bring people joy, warms their heart and fills their soul. She’s been cooking for over 30 years with passion and soul.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my best friend to Busy Bee’s for Soul Food, The African American Arts Museum, We would visit Martin Luther King’s Center, If it’s Summer and not Covid , Piedmont Park or Wolf Creek for Great out door music We would have to eat at Annie Laura’s Kitchen have to get that peach cobbler, On the week end the Best BBQ would have to go to Stan’s Smoke Signals Can’t forget the Aquarium and We would definitely shop . Most of my friends know I like to Volunteer so we would definitely volunteer with the Classy Living Society for meals on wheels or some sort of Volunteering activity. There last meal would be Dr. Shells Oxtails and Gravy
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I asked my maternal grandmother and my husbands grandmother and aunt to show me how to really cook when I first got married. They shared with me all of their recipes, they took the time to show me measurements, how to taste the food, how to season the food, and how to flat out cook. Even though they’ve passed away, I embody their spirits when I’m cooking I can feel their presence comes through in my food. Countless people who’ve taste my food have said things like “this taste just like my moms home cooking” or “just like my grandmother used to cook” and that lets me know that I’m doing something right because Aunt Gussie, Grandma, and Mary Lee Tyler are radiating through my soul food cooking. What inspired me to become a chef is my love for cooking and my desire to share that passion with others as they enjoy eating my cooked meals. For over 20 years, people have been telling me that they love my food and encouraging me to caterer, open a restaurant, and share my recipes.