With family roots in the American South, Jalissa Horton acquired a taste for soul food as a child. By age 13, Jalissa was preparing full-course meals for her family, and she developed her love of cooking making family recipes passed down through generations. Jalissa’s mother nurtured her passion by allowing her to turn their home into a weekend restaurant for family, friends, and co-workers. In high school, Jalissa learned cooking fundamentals at a culinary vocational program, and then received a scholarship to the prestigious College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University. After earning her degree, she studied Italian cuisine at the Florence University of Arts School of Culinary Arts in Italy. A new member of FIN’s Food Business Incubator, Jalissa is continuing her culinary journey through her new business, Boujee Food & Things, which specializes in reimagined comfort food. Check out Boujee Food & Things’ website and catering menu, and find Jalissa at FIN’s Taste Around the Globe booth at Pike Place MarketFront on June 8, and at Renton Farmers Market on June 11 and 18. (Subscribe to FIN’s e-newsletter for updates on future Taste Around the Globe events.) You can also try bites from Boujee Food & Things at our June 13 Food and Fashion Makers Night fundraising event, where FIN food businesses will offer up delicious samples. In the meantime, enjoy our Q&A with Jalissa!
Tell us about your business.Boujee Food & Things is a one-of-a-kind catering and novelty business. We create products for fellow “foodies” who live for delicious food and love unique culinary experiences.
What makes Boujee Food & Things different from other food businesses?We present a fusion of Southern American cuisine and international spices to create a unique experience. I take pride in making everything from scratch, using authentic and natural ingredients for all dishes.
What inspired you to start this business?For me, the name “Boujee” means elevation, which I apply to my life. I started this business because I love to cook for others -- my food is authentic and made with love. I have spent my entire career in the restaurant industry. I live, eat, and breathe food. It’s not a hobby for me, but a way of life.
What are some of your most popular menu items?Mouth-watering smoked meats, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, sweet potato pies and other desserts, specialty ice teas, homemade condiments, and sandwiches.
What’s been the biggest challenge in launching your business, and where did you find help?Finance has been the biggest hurdle, and FIN has been a big help to me. I have peace of mind now, and I am so excited for the future!
Our Taste Around the Globe booth featuring FIN food businesses gets started at two more farmers markets next month, including our new Tukwila Village Farmers Market! Here's where you can find our booth in June: Renton Farmers Market 3-7 p.m. on Tuesdays
- June 4: East and West Catering
- June 11: Boujee Food & Things
- June 18: Boujee Food & Things
- June 25: East and West Catering
- June 19: East and West Catering
- June 26: Taste of Congo
- June 6: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 13: Taste of Congo
- June 20: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 27: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 1: Boujee Food & Things
- June 2: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 7: East and West Catering
- June 8: Boujee Food & Things
- June 9: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 14: East and West Catering
- June 15: East and West Catering
- June 16: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 21: East and West Catering
- June 22: TBD
- June 23: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 28: East and West Catering
- June 29: East and West Catering
- June 30: Mamá Tila Catering
- June 1: Taste of Congo
- June 8: Taste of Congo
- June 15: Taste of Congo
- June 22: Taste of Congo
- June 29: Taste of Congo
Food and Fashion Makers NightYou can also try FIN food entrepreneurs' offerings at our June 13 Food and Fashion Makers Night fundraising event in Seattle! Tickets are on sale now.
The culinary arts have been Monica Wachira's passion since she started learning to cook at age 5. She went on to study catering, and has worked in restaurants for more than 10 years. Her love of preparing and sharing healthy food led her to join our Food Business Incubator and launch her own business, Monique’s Hot Kitchen, this spring. Check out Monique’s Hot Kitchen’s catering menu, and find Monica at FIN’s Taste Around the Globe booth at the Federal Way Farmers Market on July 6, and at our new Tukwila Village Farmers Market on July 3. (Stay tuned for more Taste Around the Globe dates.) You can also meet Monica at our Food and Fashion Makers Night fundraising event, where FIN food businesses will offer up samples of their delicious cuisine. In the meantime, enjoy our Q&A with Monica!
Tell us about your business.Monique’s Hot Kitchen is a catering business making authentic Kenyan food.
What inspired you to start Monique’s Hot Kitchen?Every time people come to my house, I cook for them and serve them as if they’re in a restaurant. They like my hospitality and they are happy about my food. They say, “Wow, I felt like I was in a five-star restaurant! You should open a restaurant!” They see that this is my passion. When you do something you love, it will come out perfect. I make food with love, and I take pride in what I do in the kitchen.
What makes Monique’s Hot Kitchen different from other food businesses?[caption id="attachment_2984" align="alignright" width="300"] Monique's Hot Kitchen's pilau rice, mukimo, and samosas.[/caption] I make food from scratch using natural ingredients, and fresh, high-quality spices. I can taste the difference between natural and unnatural food. [Where I grew up] in Kenya you could grow things in the garden and take them straight to the kitchen -- no GMOs. That’s what I like, and why I use organic food. I want to feed people healthy food. There is so much disease these days caused by unhealthy food.
What do you like most about your work?I love it when I know I’ve done the best job, and my customers are satisfied.
What have been the biggest challenges in launching your business? What resources have helped?The challenges have been figuring out where to start, how to start, choosing my business name, and accessing capital! Connecting with FIN and getting coaching from Kerrie Carbary have been a big help.
What would you say to other aspiring food business owners?Go for what you believe in, don’t give up, and look for resources around you. FIN is a great resource – you can’t go wrong working with them.
Our Taste Around the Globe booth featuring FIN food businesses had a delicious debut at Pike Place MarketFront in April, and this month we're excited to get started at two more farmers markets! Here's where you can find our booth in May: Burien Farmers Market 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Thursdays
- May 9: Mamá Tila Catering
- May 16: East and West Catering
- May 23: Mamá Tila Catering
- May 30: Taste of Congo
- May 4: Taste of Congo
- May 11: Monique's Hot Kitchen
- May 18: Taste of Congo
- May 25: Taste of Congo
- May 3: East and West Catering
- May 4: Boujee Food & Things
- May 5: Mamá Tila Catering
- May 10: East and West Catering
- May 11: Boujee Food & Things
- May 12: Mamá Tila Catering
- May 17: East and West Catering
- May 18: East and West Catering
- May 19: Mamá Tila Catering
- May 24: East and West Catering
- May 25: East and West Catering
- May 26: Mamá Tila Catering
- May 31: East and West Catering
Pop-upsIn addition to vending at farmers markets, two FIN food businesses will have pop-up dinners at Ubuntu Street Café (202 W. Gowe St. in Kent) in May:
- East and West Catering has a dinner-to-go pop-up from 5-10 p.m. on May 1.
- Boujee Food & Things has dinner-to-go pop-ups from 5:30-9 p.m on May 2, 3, and 9. Find them on Uber Eats if you’re looking for delivery.
Check out some highlights from our April 26 Community Kitchen Dinner and Resource Fair, which we co-presented with SeaTac Community Center: [caption id="attachment_2931" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Global to Local offered free health screenings, and many partners shared resources, information, and activities. Thanks to Partner In Employment, Project Feast, Angle Lake Family Resource Center, Ventures, South King County Food Coalition, WSU SNAP-Ed, StartZone, and Business Impact NW for joining us![/caption] [caption id="attachment_2932" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Kids enjoyed fun activities, including learning how to make Somali biscuits.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2933" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sunny provided a beautiful Eritrean coffee ceremony.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2934" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Volunteers cooked up yet another amazing meal featuring dishes from all over the world.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2935" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] More than 150 guests enjoyed a delicious dinner.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2936" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Thanks to Amigos de Seattle for a delightful Guatemalan dance performance![/caption]
More photosFind more event photos in our Facebook album.
Our next Community Kitchen DinnerMark your calendar for our July 24 Community Kitchen Dinner, which will be an outdoor barbecue!
We’re thrilled to announce that three new food businesses have joined our Incubator:
- Boujee Food & Things serves up comfort food, re-imagined. Check out their catering menu, visit their website, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
- Monique’s Hot Kitchen offers authentic Kenyan cuisine made with natural ingredients. Give their catering menu a look, and follow them on Facebook.
- East and West Catering brings fresh flavors from East and West Africa. Their catering menu is coming soon; in the meantime, visit their website to learn about their offerings.
Tasty events in AprilMeet the owners of the new businesses -- and other talented FIN entrepreneurs – at exciting events coming up this month:
- Wednesday, April 10: East and West Catering will begin holding dinner-to-go pop-ups from 5-10 p.m. at Ubuntu Street Café (202 W. Gowe St. in Kent). They have more pop-ups scheduled at the same time and location on April 13, 15, 17, 22, 24, and 29. Their April 13 grand opening pop-up will feature complimentary food and in-store dining.
- Friday, April 12: Boujee Food & Things will begin holding dinner-to-go pop-ups from 5:30-9 p.m. at Ubuntu Street Café (202 W. Gowe St. in Kent). They have more pop-ups scheduled at the same time and location on April 16, 18, 19, 25, 26, and 30. Find them on Uber Eats if you’re looking for delivery!
- Saturday, April 13: FIN's Taste Around the Globe booth will make its debut at Pike Place Market featuring Boujee Food & Things! Come get a delicious lunch or snacks between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Find them in the new MarketFront plaza near indi chocolate and Honest Biscuits. Our booth at Pike Place Market will feature rotating FIN food businesses on April 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28.
- Saturday, April 20: Naija Buka will launch their new Mama’s Stew Sauce and Mama’s Jollof Sauce products from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Cheese and Meat Festival. Learn more and get tickets on the event website.
- Saturday, April 27: Mamá Tila will be featured at Project Feast’s Migrating Meals. Learn more and get tickets on the event page.
Over the last few weeks, we've shared videos profiling each of our Food Business Incubator program participants. It's time for our fifth and final video, which features Mamá Tila Catering: Ofelia named Mamá Tila after her mother, who was known as the best cook in her town. Ofelia takes her time preparing authentic dishes from across Mexico, including many of her mother’s recipes. Check out Mamá Tila’s menu! And if you haven't yet seen all of our business profile videos, catch up now:
We're continuing to roll out videos about participants in our Food Business Incubator, and this week we're featuring Sherehe Kenya Kitchen. Sherehe Kenya Kitchen founder Lucy loves sharing healthy meals using recipes she learned from her mother. Don’t miss her chicken curry, samosas, and ginger chai. Check out Sherehe Kenya Kitchen’s menu, and stay tuned for more videos in our business profile series!
It's time for another video in our profile series of FIN food businesses! This week we're featuring Taste of Congo: The only Congolese food business in our region, Taste of Congo offers a one-of-a-kind experience! Founder Caroline encourages you to try her beignets, which can be enjoyed any time of day. Check out Taste of Congo's menu, and stay tuned for more videos in our business profile series.
It's time for the second video in our FIN food business profile series! This week we are featuring Naija Buka: Chef Lilian makes delicious, authentic Nigerian cuisine. Try Naija Buka's popular jollof rice, as well as fried plantains, peppersoup, puff-puffs, and more. Check out their pop-up event at Project Feast's Ubuntu Street Café on March 9! Can't wait that long to get your fix? Visit Naija Buka's new website to see their menu and make your order. Then stay tuned for the next video in our business profile series.