Open Sesame: Meet Denise Woodard
Say hello to fellow female food brand founder (say that 5 times fast!) Denise Woodard, the force behind the allergy-friendly snack company Partake Foods!
When Denise's young daughter developed food allergies, she searched far and wide for healthy, allergy-friendly snacks to fuel her family's active lifestyle, but couldn't find any that met her dietary needs and her healthy standards. "Food allergies are a serious and growing concern for today's families," she says. So she started making her own.
Get to know Denise and try her cookies!
Q: Where have you been spending your time since quarantine began?
I've been at home with my husband, Jeremy, and our 5 year old daughter, Vivienne, in Jersey City, since March 13. We're enjoying the family time, which has included lots of movie and game nights, but it's definitely made the days a lot longer for me, as I am waking up much earlier to sneak work in before Vivienne wakes up. Thankfully, everyone has been very understanding, as Vivi has probably photobombed every Zoom call I've had.
Q: How do you think the food industry needs to respond to calls for increased diversity and representation in order to make a visible and long lasting impact on how we fill our stomachs and our pantries?
I think we will see real change with investors making a commitment to fund Black founders and companies, retailers making an intentional effort to get Black owned brands on their shelves, and big CPG (and food & beverage startups!) hiring more diverse employees. As a Black female founder, I feel a responsibility to mentor, support, and uplift other Black founders and businesses.
Q: First restaurant you’ll eat at when the city starts to open up?
Nobu! They're amazing with my daughter's allergies, and I cannot wait to have some sushi and a cocktail.
Q: Fantasy food travel destination (when we can travel safely again, of course)?
Napa Valley. I'd love an adults-only weekend with my husband and best friends in wine country.
Q: Most underrated cooking ingredient?
Parsley. Love it on veggies, in pasta, and I have a recipe for a yummy Parsley Mint sauce from Ayesha Curry's cookbook, The Seasoned Life, that I throw on fish, chicken or veggies.
Q: Any other food brands or other entrepreneurs you really admire?
Some brands I love are Supernatural Kitchen, Mason Dixie Biscuits, Pop & Bottle, Siete, and A Dozen Cousins.