Like many successful entrepreneurs, Femeika Elliott started her business — Meik Meals — because of a product she herself needed.
Elliott, who is a probation officer in the County Mayor’s office, says that when she was in college at MTSU, she was always the one throwing the party. “I’d be the one grilling the barbecue, feeding everyone on Sundays after church. Food has always been a big part of my life. I love to eat. In fact, it’s my favorite thing!”
But when health issues arose, she knew she couldn’t keep up the same pace, with the same types of food. “I had to change my eating habits and transition my lifestyle. Healing myself through food has been an eye-opening experience.”
Meik Meals started out as a hobby, but the business she was creating came with a mission, and soon grew into much more.
“Especially within the Black community there’s a stigma as far as what we consume.” Stereotypical “soul food,” says Elliott, is delicious but not very healthy.
“It has to change. Mentally, physically, spiritually — it has to change. And I pride myself on finding creative ways in the kitchen to still be able to eat my favorite foods but make them healthier. I like to call myself ‘The Kitchen Alchemist.’”
Her business model includes a variety of healthy-eating services as well as products. She does offer meat substitutes, but meat eaters are welcomed along with everyone else.
“We don’t exclude anybody. Whether you eat meat, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, there are healthy choices for you. It’s truly a company for everybody.”
That includes those who’ve experienced adverse socioeconomic impact. “Just get with me and we can operate on a sliding scale, especially if it’s health-related.”
Meik Meals, soon to have its base of operations at the Real Good Kitchen, offers private dining and catering. And just in time for Valentine’s Day, Meik Meals is offering The Lovers’ Weekend. Elliott and an assistant will cook and serve a meal in your own home — or a “staycation” location, as long as it has a kitchen.
“We bring the restaurant experience to you,” she says. “And we’re COVID-free; we have our Servsafe certification.” It’s not just limited to couples. “If you don’t have a lover and it’s you and your friend, just book it! People have anxiety right now. We’re trying to help.”
Elliott says she’s not trying to force a different lifestyle on anybody, and that she’s pleased when people transition naturally to a healthier lifestyle simply because her food is just so darn good.
“I mean, where else can you get a plant-based Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and green beans? Food can still be comforting, but it can also be healthy and taste great.”
Elliott is currently revamping her website, but you can find a full list of everything Meik Meals offers by visiting calendly.com/meikasmealprepserv. Also check out the company at instagram.com/meikmeals/ and facebook.com/MeikMeals.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Healthy soul food? You bet, says Meik Meals creator