CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Two girls and their dad decided to start a business called Curly Girl Cooking. The girls have started a meal-service business, preparing food for the Corpus Christi community.
According to the Corpus Christi Black Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 75 Black-owned businesses, and more than 50 percent are owned by women, in the Coastal Bend.
Jessica and Hershel Shoats said they were looking for a way to teach their kids more about the world while homeschooling during the pandemic. So they and their daughters, 8-year-old Graysen and 7-year-old Avery, blended business with school work and ta-da!
In June 2020 they created Curly Girl Cooking.
“Their hair, when I teach my girls when they go and see the big mother tree out there, that is a direct reflection of them,” said Hershel. “Nature. There is a lot of energy going through those curls.”
“Every time we are wearing our Afro, it’s a crown,” said Graysen and Avery. “We don’t need a princess crown — we already have our own Afro crown.”
Whether its Cajun food or vegan, every Wednesday, Graysen and Avery offer meal-prepped foods that are culturally inspired, such as Caribbean jerk chicken, jambalaya, creme brulée and, a favorite for a lot of kids, chicken tenders.
“We put love into our food and we never mess up in our food,” said Graysen. “That makes it taste delicious.”
“Yummy!” said Avery.
Prices for the meals vary depending on the dish for the week. Hershel said they are learning more than just entrepreneurship and hard work, but also understanding their culture.
“I showed my kids, culturally, what meal we had when we didn’t have much as far as the steak, the filet mignons and this side of the beef or that side of the shrimp,” said Hershel.
“We’ve built more relationships than money than anything from this, and that is what I always wanted to teach my girls is: It’s not money,” he said. “I want you to build relationships and I want you to continue to build relationships.”
Their mom, Jessica, said she’s proud of the positivity her girls bring to the community.
“Hopefully, other kids will see them and ask their parents, ‘Hey what can we do? Whether its a lemonade stand or making key chains,” she said. “You know, just different things that kids can do to start the ball rolling.”
What does black excellence mean to these young chefs?
“It means to me that I have done a great job in my history and my businesses, so i have been doing good,” Graysen said. “You! Can inspire the world by doing just one small thing. You can make it bigger and inspire the whole world.”
If you would like to order a meal from Curly Girl Cooking, visit their website.
To nominate someone for the Coastal Bend black excellence series you can scan click here.