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Conversations with Emmanuella Antoine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emmanuella Antoine.

Emmanuella, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
One day I decided to sell dinners in 2018 just to make a few dollars on top of the income I was bringing in. Once I did that, I got reviews from people telling me how good my food was and that I should continue doing it. So the summer of 2018, I decided to sell my food at a big event which was the Caribbean festival being as though I have a Haitian background and that I can cook Caribbean/Haitian foods, why not check it out. On the day of the Carnival, I sold out in no time and wished I had more food at the event because people were looking for more food to buy from me when I ran out. That’s when I decided to do more Baltimore festivals/events for the summer and had people actually following me at different festivals looking for Chicken Kabobs, which is what I started selling at events.

My partner let me know how I can really grow my business because people like your food. I took his advice and started to prepare myself for 2019 festivals, then in 2020 made plans to do it bigger with more than one table to set up at an event but then Covid happened. That did not slow my business down at all. Emmanuella’s continued to grow during the pandemic. I decided to actually get an LLC and make it official. Now I’m here today with booked catering events, meal preps, pop events, and personal orders.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
They were a few bumps, like having the proper credentials to continue to service events like food permits, etc. That limited me from doing bigger events. I only was able to do what allowed my certification to accept. With the help of my team I’m able to set up at events but I do all the cooking and preparation. I always push myself and not give up because I know it will be worth it at the end of the day. Long hours, late nights, not sleeping because your mind is going a thousand miles, which is what comes with being an entrepreneur.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2015 I told myself I would never go back to the work field where I’m taken advantage of. I will do whatever it takes as an entrepreneur to not go back into the work field because of my son’s situation. I’m a mom of a 17-year-old girl and 7 year old boy, my son who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of one in 2015 and then Celiac Disease a few months after. When I saw that my son needed me more now then ever, that was more important to me than my job needing me. At the time, I was a GNA and also did Security. I was working two jobs and that I was working too hard. They did not care when I needed to be at the hospital countless times with my son. I made a decision to leave and find something where I could be my own boss and make my own schedule. We are here today 6yrs in entrepreneurship, still growing.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I specialize in Haitian/American/Caribbean Cuisine. I’m known for my sauces, the Haitian Mac&cheese and my E’s Slammin Salmon. I am most proud of the support I’ve received from my customers/supporters and my team. They are the reason I continue to grow Emmanuella’s LLC. What sets me apart I think my style of cooking. I try not to limit my style of cooking to only cooking Haitian dishes; I do a variety of different foods outside of Haitian dishes. If you come to an event, I won’t just have an American dish. I’ll have a Caribbean dish as well as Haitian dish. I also do vegan foods for my vegan customers and gluten-free foods as well.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I was introduced to network marketing which opened my eyes to the entrepreneurial world. It allowed me to travel outside of my environment living in Baltimore, pushed me to speak in front of people and also made me get out of my comfort zone. As far as books, I’m not a big book reader, but I have read a few books that guided me to wear I am today. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, 10X Rule by Grant Cardone are some of the books I’ve read.

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