Opening a restaurant or launching a food venture sounds like an enticing proposition. But what does it take to succeed? Our female founders will tell their startup stories, and share tips for making it in the food industry.
RISA MAGID BOYER, chef/owner, VANILLAMORE
CAROLINE MAK, director, HOT BREAD KITCHEN INCUBATES, and co-founder, BROOKLYN SODA WORKS
CHRISTINE MILLER-ALLEN, founder/head baker, MO'PWEEZE BAKERY
KRIS OHLETH, founder/owner, GARDEN STATE KITCHEN
S.M. ROGERS, founder and head chef, SANDI'S SOULBITES
REBECCA KING, food and dining writer at NORTHJERSEY.COM and THE RECORD.
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Networking with pizza and sampling stations
6:45-7:00 p.m. - Welcome remarks
7:00-8:30 p.m. - Panel discussion, with audience Q&A
Event will feature five sampling tables with tastes from women entrepreneurs, including Belle John's Soul Food, Kurly Kürtősh, LilyLyte Vegan Snack, Three Daughters Baking Co., and Undercover Chocolate Co. Sampling will be 6-6:45 p.m. Free pizza will also be served.
Part of the sixth annual Women Entrepreneurship Week, the event is free thanks to the generous support of our WEW sponsors. We especially recognize Diamond Sponsors Lightbridge Academy and Wells Fargo. Event is presented by Montclair State's Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
RISA MAGID BOYER is chef and owner of Vanillamore in Montclair. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in culinary management and an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts. She has interned at Park Avenue in NYC and Pink Cake Box in Denville. Working in NYC restaurants Sweet Revenge and Armani Ristorante, as well as De Novo European Pub in Montclair, and Finale in Boston. She has been a pastry instructor and resident chef at Sur La Table and owner of Pastries by Risa.
REBECCA KING is the food and dining reporter for NorthJersey.com and The Record with the USA TODAY Network. Her background is in entertainment and dining news. Her work has appeared in publications including (201) Magazine, The Press of Atlantic City, Flavor Magazine, and more.
CAROLINE MAK is the Program Director at Hot Bread Kitchen Incubates, an incubator program for food entrepreneurs located in East Harlem that is dedicated to celebrating culinary tradition and innovation. Prior to joining Hot Bread Kitchen, she was the co-founder of award-winning beverage company, Brooklyn Soda Works. Originally from Hong Kong, she has been working in the field of food entrepreneurship in NYC for over a decade. She is also a multi-media and installation artist.
CHRISTINE MILLER-ALLEN is the Founder and Head Baker of Mo’Pweeze Bakery in Denville, an allergen-free and plant-based bakery. After being inspired by her family’s multiple food allergies, Christine saw a need for more accessible food and dessert options for people facing multiple dietary restrictions. Christine has shepherded Mo’Pweeze into a recognized brand in the vegan and allergen-free community.
KRIS OHLETH began exploring her love of locally produced food over a decade ago. She has dabbled as a hands-on baker and prep cook in a half a dozen commercial kitchens and worked on several organic vegetable farms. Kris discovered how common the struggle was for many new entrepreneurs to find adequate professional kitchen space and connect to essential business resources and education. Garden State Kitchen became the perfect amalgamation of all she ever wanted to do.
S.M. ROGERS, "Chef Sandi," is founder of SoulBites, head chef and an Institute of Culinary Arts graduate. She always dreamed of opening a restaurant. As a teenager she moved from Tompkins Projects in Brooklyn to a little southeastern Georgia town called Statesboro. Sandi inherited her grandmother’s ability to "scratch out" a recipe from any ingredients she had on hand, without measuring or making waste but somehow cooking enough for everyone who took a seat at the table.