I am a 39-year-old mother of 3. I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia and moved to Kentucky in the winter of 1992 to live with my grandmother. My grandmother was a house mother who cooked for the University of Kentucky football team and my grandfather was a pastry chef. My grandmother was always cooking for someone or taking care of someone’s kids and I’ve followed in her footsteps. I did childcare for 13 years and the last two years I was doing after-school programs for pre-teens. They ended up coming over to eat in the evenings. Now my children’s friends think of me as a mother figure and Chef Boyardee at the same time.
My husband began talking to his friends at work about my cooking. They started ordering big pans of stuff, hence my slogan, “Making folks smile one pan at a time.” In October 2014 my friend gave me the opportunity to cater her wedding. I was nervous about cooking for 200 people, but it worked out great. I cooked 40 pounds of chicken, two pork loins, beef ribs, 60 pounds of potatoes, corn, green beans, a meat and cheese tray, and a fruit salad. After that I ended up having to get business cards made because so many people were calling and reaching out to me on Facebook. In April 2015 I registered as a business.
Queens Crown began as a catering company. We cater up to 200 people at a time from birthday parties to weddings. I do everything from appetizer tables, which are great for kids parties, to two-entree buffet meals. My specialities include a chicken and waffle appetizer, inside out jalapeno poppers, and pulled pork. I also do family meals, like lasagnas that serve 6-8. Summertime is peak wedding season, but February is a big month for me because I also bake. I make traditional cakes, like gumdrop cake and rainbow cake, as well as cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels. I’m booked at least three weekends a month.
In June 2015 I began searching for a food truck to use as a mobile catering truck, but I ran across an ad for a small space where I could prepare my food and also operate a cafe. Queens Crown Lunchbox, opening at 1161 S. 2nd St. in Old Louisville in November 2015, will be a family-oriented café with great food. I will serve breakfast and dinner and a Sunday brunch buffet. With 20 seats, I can also host events like bridal showers and spoken word events. I want to provide a gathering place where the community can brainstorm ways to make a difference.
For the past two years I have also been mentoring a group of young women ages 15-19 that we call the Royal Teen Team. Three of the girls will work with me in the cafe.
This loan will enable me to buy the inventory and supplies I need to open my cafe.
Signage – $350
Kitchen tools, including grill utensils, spatulas, seasoning shakers – $270
Bulk packaging for to-go orders – $560
Insulated food pan carriers for delivery – $1,055
Tables and chairs – $1,000
Cleaning supplies including mops and mop buckets – $350
Two cash registers – $240