I met Elaina the first month I launched OPP. We only met briefly, but I already knew exactly who she was. Her company, Boutique Bites, had been getting crazy buzz since launching in 2008 (she’s created bites for everyone from Chanel to Warby Parker). I also knew I wanted her as a catering partner. So I set up a coffee (juice) with her a few weeks later. We met and chatted through everything, and she asked if we could talk again after her busy season and upcoming wedding.
Fast forward to another meeting late this summer to talk about a partnership again. This time, she pretty much shut me down. But as I was collecting my things to leave, she blurted out, “Yes! Ok, I want to do this.” I sat back down and asked her what had changed. She told me that it wasn’t that she didn’t believe in the concept, it’s just that it just wasn’t the way she’s used to cooking. But she saw my passion for my program and wanted to give it a shot. We decided to have her host a For Reals Meals and go from there.
Elaina invited a group of crazy-talented women: Amelia Canham Eaton, Marie Whitney, Alexis Cozzini, and Marianne Sundquist. It was a great mix, because everyone brought something so different to the table (literally). One of my favorite moments is when Marianne told everyone about her food company (Mess Hall & Co), and Amelia realized she was woman behind her favorite mustard. I learned that Marie made the blazers (Two Penny Blue) I’ve been eyeing for a few months. We all got to hear about the new store Alexis was opening (Citizen Stone) and were all baffled at how Amelia managed law school and a new position at Purley. Elaina even schooled us on spray painting pumpkins. It felt so exciting to be chatting with such inspiring women…but pretty soon all we could talk about was the food.
Elaina’s menu was the biggest For Reals Meals lunch yet! She really nailed it. We all went back for seconds and thirds of her lentils with root vegetables. And her dessert was just the best. So good!
Baby beet salad with arugula, candied pecans, figs, blood orange
French green lentils with root vegetables (parsnip, celery root, carrot, onion)
Squash soup with curry oil and pear
White wine chickpea pasta with baby vegetables
Brussel sprout & cauliflower “gratin”
Apple crumble parfait with coconut ice cream
So the meal was a success. And guess what? Elaina actually enjoyed cooking it! She’ll become an official One Part Plant partner next month, so watch for her on the partners list. I couldn’t be more excited.