We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Rowland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I love cooking. It’s my passion. I sometimes wake up with an idea of something to prepare. Not necessarily a recipe. More so, a way to to put my own creativity on something that people love to eat. I was a single mama, working in the corporate world. STRUGGLING. Struggling financially. Struggling mentally. Struggling emotionally. And I was a rebel in that corporate world. I liked what I was doing enough to make me believe this is what I SHOULD be doing. To care for my sons. To survive. But I hated the mentality of it. I was a young black woman in a mid-executive position, fighting for what I felt I deserved. And one day I realized I should be fighting for my own business. Making money doing what I love to do. My college best friend was a huge encouragement. “You should be making money selling this food!” I brushed it off initially. Until I realized I COULD in fact make money and do what I love. AND parent my sons. I took a leap knowing people gotta eat, right? If I can touch your palate, I can touch your soul. It’s a win win all around.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a personal chef and caterer that caters to everyday people. Sure, I’ve cooked for celebrities and pro athletes. But that doesn’t make me a “celebrity” chef. I try to make sure people just like me (single mamas, working people) are able to afford homecooked items just like the millionaire. I prepare everyone’s food with the same passion and love. Regardless of their income. I’m not here to count your coins. I’m here to feed you. You don’t even have to reach for salt and pepper when She Cooks…U Eat! I’m excited about some projects I’m working on (a recipe tips book, a She Cooks…U Eat 10-12 city tour). I’m nowhere near where I want to be. But I’m grateful for all the accomplishments I’ve made. Many times I had to put my business on hold for personal reasons. Taking care of my sons. Taking care of my loved ones. Helping family. And it was hard to get back to it. But I’m a true Capricorn. I set my mind to something and do. I’m proud of myself for never giving up (though I thought about it lol). Proud of myself for instilling patience that my time will continue to come. I want the world to know that I’ll feed you! Seriously, I’m going to feed the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Rock Steady for Brussels sprouts and their shrimp dish and vibes. Firepit Pizza for their pizza and Brussels sprouts. MTH pizza. Varner’s Tavern (Smyrna) for their boneless wings special, trivia and ‘shrooms on Tuesdays. La Parilla on Howell Mill for Mexican, margaritas and churros. The Goodwill on Northside Dr. Nam Dae Mun Farmers Market. AMC on Cobb Pkwy (they have the best popcorn and seats). People watching at Hartsfield Airport. Mobile massages with MeTime.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My grandparents Ella, James, Catherine & Carl – because their love for cooking was passed down to me and flows through my veins. My mama Sheila – because her death taught me to LIVE and pursue what is mine and waiting for me.
One of my bffs Kennika – because her encouragement and determination helped me see my ability to pursue my business.
My sons Dean and Brandon – because they have always been what drives me to succeed and achieve. To set an example for them.
My daddy Calvin – because he taught me so much in and out of the kitchen. Especially how to “make the gravy”.
And my clients – who allow me feed them and their families and friends without a second thought.