We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole McEachern and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
My ex husband and I met in culinary school and both graduated together. Shortly after we had our first child. I had started my first job in catering while in school and was working my internship at a restaurant before graduation. By the time I graduated I had little experience under my belt, but I was able to nail down a job at another large high end catering company. There I started in the baking and pastry department, worked my way up quickly with a lot of great guidance from chefs around me. My ex husband and I worked long crazy hours both being chefs and my daughter was constantly in the care of my best friends who also had a child around her age. I decided one of us had to make a change for the good of my daughter and that ended up being me. I left the industry and went into the family business with intentions to get back into cooking full time when my daughter was old enough to be on her own while we were working. Shortly after that I had another child and flash forward 15 years and I was still in the family business. I always told myself I would get back into the game but I was never certain I would actually follow through, Especially after so much time had passed. I had done a few things here in there to keep my food knowledge fresh and skills sharp, but I was still so far behind those who stayed at it all those years. So long story long, I put my career goals on hold for my children and I don’t regret that decision for a moment. They are the most self aware, driven, compassionate and out spoken humans and they make me proud everyday for choosing them first.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is Catering company with a variety of offerings. From event food drop-offs & pick-ups to full service food catering. We cater wine dinners, private dinners at your home or at my venue and events up to 300 people off-site. We also offer meal prep during retail store hours at my location and take family meal requests. We even do crawfish and seafood boils at your home & at our location. I just started offering bi-monthly events at my space geared towards females. Every event has a fun theme and is centered around networking in an informal environment over great food and drinks. I think my concept started out small and targeting only events, but after Covid-19 hit, I had to adapt and change my business model. I started offering meal prep and family meals. This quick thinking under a lot of pressure saved my business. I had just left my full time job of over 15 years with a salary and security to branch out on my own in a quickly growing business and just like that I could have lost it. I had no income without this business and no job to go back to. With the support of my friends, family and word of mouth I managed to stay above water. I also live in a phenomenal neighborhood called Nassau Bay that came to the rescue of many local small businesses which translated into word of mouth to other surrounding neighborhoods. With all of this, my business thrived. Where I was once working from home and using local commercial kitchens in trade, I now share a kitchen & event space with another local female owned business, Scrumptious Houston. Together our location is called Niche & Scrumptious Kitchen & Events. Two businesses under one roof. I ended up in the same neighborhood that helped elevate me here. Talk about full circle. With the recent freeze that happened, Niche & Scrumptious maintained power & water so we were able to return the love and open our doors to those in need. We offered a place for others to warm up with free coffee and a place to recharge their mind, body and phones. With the generosity of surrounding neighbors and local businesses we were able to provide some free meals as well. This opened up a whole other avenue I wasn’t sure we were ready to branch into, but again “feet to the fire”. So now we have a free coffee station with a donation box geared to a different fund every month and sponsored by a new group each month. I have added to that by offering a share a meal program. Which allows you to donate in order to feed someone in need. We were already doing it by request, but now we are openly accepting donations. Regardless of funding, we will always honor this program. So what have I learned along the way? What do I want you to know about my story, my brand? I have learned that it takes a strong mind, a lot of energy and a lot of help from all different directions. That when you have the opportunity to pay it forward you do it and you continue to do it. Look for it. Because positivity and good yields only good results. Whether is affects you or not, its contagious. Faith, hard work & the ability to change and grow will only propel you further. Most of all treat others as you want to be treated and your brand, your business model will reflect that.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Merlion is the first stop and the last stop. Great food, a huge wine selection and a fabulous ambiance. Jackie’s Brickhouse for live music, a fun patio and great crawfish. The Cajun Greek in Galveston for the best tzatziki platter & fried seafood. Pier 6 in San Leon for a beautiful view and delicious oysters. The Volcano Room for shenanigans & shots. Marias in Dickinson for Sunday Brunch & afternoon vibes. If I ventured further into Houston, I’d take them to Sorrento’s for a touch of class, authentic Italian and the best service. Backstreet Cafe because everyone needs a to go there at least once. Exceptional food and atmosphere.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mother Rosemary Dominguez for teaching me how to be a strong woman and entrepreneur. It isn’t easy being a female in a male dominated industry, even today. It takes a thick skin to enter into this field and stick with it. Chef David Alvarado (Rip) who showed me I didn’t have to conform for anyone and to think outside the box and take chances. Jennifer Lopez Fuller of BAHFL who is a huge supporter of me and my business and small business in general. She has helped elevate interest in so many local small businesses. Borys Antoniewicz for insisting on hiring me for my first Niche Catering venture when I wasn’t even sure if I was going to dive in. His word were “feet to the fire”. I’m still not certain I would have jumped in had he not pushed. Daniel Albanese for believing in me so much that he funded my start-up. I didn’t ask, he pushed until I said yes and here I am. Miriam Lozano of the Boldthouse for lending me her kitchen for monthly wine dinners at her spot. She took a chance on me and we both grew together.
Twitter: Niche_Catering @twitzerpated
Professional Head shots by Lana Rawlinson Photography Hair in headshots by Amber Lucas