fresh cravings

Fresh Cravings is bringing one-of-a-kind, custom catering to your local tailgates, festivals, birthday parties and more.

Corletha “Coco” Howard, Stephanie “Reno” Elwood and Jamie “Lulu” Elwood started their business in May 2018, combining their individual talents and creating a company specializing in fresh food made from scratch.

A typical day of catering a tailgate or event begins at 5 a.m. for the Fresh Cravings women. They wake early to allow for last-minute grocery runs and creative idea sessions. Howard does most of the cooking while Stephanie keeps up with what produce is in season and makes hibiscus tea. Jamie keeps track of the company's finances and also specializes in sweet and frozen treats.

“It’s going to be fresh, it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be on time,” Stephanie said. “We work really hard at being prompt and being the face of our business. We want people to see us and see how hard we are working. We want people to recognize that we're dependable, and I think we do a really good job of that.”

The women of Fresh Cravings are passionate about bringing healthy food options to the many “food deserts” in Baton Rouge. A food desert is defined as an area where residents have little to no access to quality, economical food sources like fresh produce because grocery stores are not within an accessible distance.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 2.3 million people “live more than one mile away from a supermarket and do not own a car.” About 75,000 East Baton Rouge residents live in food deserts, and 39 percent of these residents live in poverty.

The women of Fresh Cravings wanted to create something that was not only easily accessible to residents in these food deserts, but also healthy, fresh and delicious.

“It’s something, in my opinion, that’s new in Baton Rouge,” Stephanie said. “It happens in more progressive cities but it’s mobile, it’s fresh from scratch, it’s seasonal and it provides healthy options and it’s run by women, women of color. To create something so delicious and wonderful and to give that tangible thing of joy to someone is very magical.”

When catering a festival or tailgate, Fresh Cravings creates a menu that will cater specifically to the audience. They cater a wide variety of food from Latin, Asian and Caribbean cuisines to soul food and barbecue. They will create a custom menu with new and exciting recipes to dazzle any crowd.

“Whenever there’s good food, there’s a good time,” Howard said. “Food can really change your mood around, good or bad. To be able to give off something that’s satisfying, and people are grateful, and they want more of it — that’s very rewarding for me.”

During the holidays when festival season is winding down, Fresh Cravings is available to cater tailgates or even to simply provide a dish for a work or family potluck. They hope to eventually be able to purchase a food truck of their own to expand their business and begin catering different events and crowds.

“We are passionate about healthy foods but also community and entertainment — we love to have a good time and to offer a good time,” Howard said. “We love good food, we love good music and if we're able to intertwine that and make some money … that was definitely the motivation.”

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