Five Star Foodies founder Valerie Williams started the line nearly two years ago, after holding various jobs in the food industry. Williams, a vegetarian, previously was a personal chef for several local families, a restaurant owner, caterer before becoming a manager at Trader Joe's, the first time she'd worked for someone else.
"Thatís when I really learned about the retail and packaged end of food," Williams said of her manager experience.
Williams, ever the entrepreneur, didn't stay an employee long. With the help of family members, most who are also vegan or vegetarian, she created Five Star Foodies
. The line contains mouth watering offerings like artichoke burgers, vegetarian harvest roast and tofu egg salad.
The food is created in a kitchen the company leases in the Concordia Lutheran Church building in Clifton. Williams' son Graydon Stroud, a chef with a degree in food science, leads in developing many of the recipes and makes sure it's flavorful.
"He is invaluable to the company, from a culinary perspective to shelf life and nutrition value," Williams said.
The product is available in 70 stores in five states. Locally, you can find it at Enzos
, Coffee Emporium
and Park + Vine
in Over-the-Rhine, and area Whole Foods and Biggs. You can also order it on the Five Star Foodies web site
The company is entirely family run and operated, and includes Williams' five children, her parents and others. Recently a national distributor picked up the Five Star Foods Line, which should spur substantial growth in 2010, Williams added.
Great taste and nutrition are the thrust of the offerings, and Williams believes the food can be enjoyed by strict vegans and meat-eaters alike.
"Itís not just about vegetarian food; itís basically about eating healthy. I promote healthy living and eating, and a healthy lifestyle for you, even if it's that you eat meat one less day a week," Williams said.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Five Star Foodies founder Valerie Williams