Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Lee Kitchen.
After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, corn allergies, avocado allergies, and IBS in her mid-twenties, Elizabeth Eichhorn felt completely lost and unsure where to turn. She turned her confusion into a business model that believes that all people, regardless of their food allergies or dietary restriction, should have a seat at the table.
In 2013, her adventure of owning a company began, but after realizing the difficulties of navigating the food allergy world plus catering, she restructured and opened Mary Lee Kitchen in August of 2014. Elizabeth, alongside Ashley Wilkins and Westley Garcia, began running a food blog and developing a line of gluten free, corn free, soy free, AND even vegan cookies (which are nut free). It took time and a lot of taste testing to perfect the recipes. But, through the blog and cookie line, Mary Lee Kitchen was able to offer people a way to include folks at the table.
In June 2016, the business reintroduced catering. Instead of being in the kitchen making all of the food, Elizabeth outsources all of the food from locally operated restaurants. Then, when/if, there is leftover food, she give it back to a local non-profit/charity.
Mary Lee Kitchen only exists with the help of Elizabeth’s friends and family. They have given their time, resources, and encouragement to help the company be a success.
–the company is named for Elizabeth’s maternal grandmother, who taught her that one of the best ways to love people is to feed them.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced over the years?
Opening a business is not easy, especially for someone like me, who doesn’t have a background in business. It has been a learning experience. I’ve gotten burned and have been used. There were moments when I was desperate for finances and made horrible decisions. I am still having to feel the aftermath of those choices, but it has made me stronger, wiser, and a smarter businesswoman.
I’ve had to fight the tendency to not just shut down–both business and emotionally. My husband, family, and friends are pretty incredible. It has taken a community to help me get to where I am, without them, I would not be here. Thank you, to all of you!
Also, my three year old godson gives the best hugs and is the ultimate sharer! Having him in my life makes challenges feel less like mountains and more like a small speed bump.
Fighting for your passion is never easy, but I believe in what I am doing, and really do believe in having a place at the table for all people, regardless of their food allergies or dietary restrictions.
What stands out about Mary Lee Kitchen?
Since we are not a brick and mortar, I think that makes us unique. We customize each and every menu to our clients needs, their budget, and then we give our leftover food to local charities/non-profits.
Most Popular Items
Vegan/GF Chocolate Chip Cookies
Our products are delicious–seriously! I love making them and seeing people’s smile when they realize what they are eating doesn’t have animal product in them.
Dietary: Vegan Gluten-free
We specialize in corporate catering for small-medium size businesses. We want to make sure that we can meet all of your dietary needs, so we outsource the food from kitchens that are licensed for your specific dietary restrictions.
Dietary: Vegetarian Vegan Gluten-free Halaal Kosher Jain
Allergy friendly recipes that are easy for a home cook to recreate. They are delicious and there is recipe for everyone.
Dietary: Vegetarian Vegan Gluten-free Halaal Kosher
Average Cost: $13-25/person
Social Media links
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryleekitchen
- Twitter: twitter.com/maryleefoods
- Instagram: instagram.com/maryleekitchen
- Snapchat: @maryleekitchen
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRSeUeCDFubHPKISCYdocMg
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/mary-lee-kitchen-pasadena
Jonathon Stoner Photography–crackers