Back in the late 80s and early 90s, I had a small catering business called Cuisine with an Accent. I had traveled a lot for work and always sought out the best ethnic restaurants, plus all the wonderful ones in the Twin Cities. Then I worked on recreating those dishes for family and friends. After a number of years of being asked to cater parties I decided to make the leap.
I was trying to decide if I wanted to make catering a full-time career rather than doing it nights and weekends. But when I took a job at FSI International and they offered to pay for my masters in Business Communications at St. Thomas that was the end of my catering career. I always wanted to eventually return to the foodservice industry but wasn’t sure in what role.
I continued to host many several-course meals for family and friends to test recipes, but since spring 2016 they have been all Paleo. I didn’t tell my guests I was serving only Paleo until afterwards and they were surprised, especially when it came to baked goods and desserts. They found it hard to believe you could make a Paleo cream cheese frosting that has no cream cheese or dairy of any kind yet taste like the real thing.
In June 2016, I had regenerative stem cell injections as part of my recovery from a serious car accident. At the first meeting with my orthopedic doctor, he said he wanted me on the Paleo diet for life because it is anti-inflammatory. It wasn't long before I noticed I wasn’t getting tired in the afternoon, which made it easier to give up some of my favorite foods like popcorn and rice.
I was able to convert a lot of my recipes to Paleo and in less than two years, I had enough recipes to open a Paleo catering business, restaurant or bakery. But all of these sounded too daunting. In January 2018, I learned about the cottage food program in Minnesota, and in February I was certified to prepare foods at my farm in Howard Lake to sell at farmers markets and other community events.
When I was growing up, I discovered there were two jobs you could do on a farm where you could watch TV – cook/bake and iron, so these were ones I volunteered for at a young age. My mother was an excellent cook and baker, and won many prizes for her baked goods at the Wright County Fair, but she had other things she would rather spend her time on, so she was happy to turn the kitchen over to me. My mother was a very patient and encouraging teacher and never complained if I had a failure. By 12, I was planning the menu and making the grocery list for the week.