Chimere Ward is the Owner of Clean Plate Co., which is providing the catering for our SOAPBOX 2017 benefit. Read more about her work as a caterer, what inspires her, and look forward to some yummy bites on May 31:
What is your bio in six words or less?
The Chimera of Food Business Development
What flavors and cuisines are you inspired by, or what are your favorite flavors and types of cuisine?
I’m a born & raised New Yorker w/ Caribbean & Southern backgrounds. So I love comfort food, diversity & bright flavors. I attribute all of my recipes to my childhood in NYC & also traveling abroad w/ my family, learning about our history.
Who are you are in community with?
I’m currently a member of HBK Incubates, Start Small Think Big, Camp Campbell, Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Harlem Park 2 Park, & SheChef Inc. I’m also government certified.
Can you tell us about your relationship with your neighborhood and how it may have shifted over the years?
I’m in awe of the progress Harlem has made within the past few years. I’m also excited to grow along with it. I used to hang out in Harlem during my high school years. Although I may not have paid much attention to Harlem’s economic status at the time, I do remember the complex state of the community. Since then, there’s now so many ways to develop an actual small business & receive tremendous local support!
How did you get started as a caterer?
I got laid off, while I was expecting my first child. I was also a newlywed. My husband & I began to think of ways to capitalize on having time as a stay-at-home mom with a new passion for cooking. Trying new recipes, shopping at farmers markets, & traveling somehow sparked a business sense. Free workshops & family support gave me confidence. Once I began a foundation w/ licenses & permits, market vending & intimate catering came about. each step leads to another. It’s amazing how far determination takes you.
What is the most memorable meal you’ve experienced or catered?
We hosted a series of intimate tasting events, at the Silver Towers. I would freestyle a luxurious menu & cocktails, selling tickets to the public. These pop-up menu items were the best tasting, best photographed dishes, I’ve never tried before. I surprised myself! I actually felt like I was making the right choice going into this business.
What excites you most about SOAPBOX 2017 and The Laundromat Project?
I’m excited for the guests! It’s a great event & I’m sure everyone will have a fantastic time. I’ll have an even better time preparing the food.
Free-association—tell us the first word that comes to mind:
Chimere Ward was born & raised in New York City and is the owner of Clean Plate Co. Growing up within half Caribbean -American & half Southern cultural traditions, early exposure to comforting fare & entertaining influenced her to delve into entrepreneurship, after getting laid off whilst beginning her own family. With just a couple of years out of college, married & expecting, she gained more interest in the importance of vitality in foods. Chimere happily ditched the unhealthy habits she became used to as a student.
In 2009, Chimere sought volunteer work centered around the city’s ever growing healthy eating movement. Working with Food Bank of New York’s Cookshop program & Kitchen Pantry, raising money for No Kid Hungry & selling baked goods, propelled a keen business sense. Her passion was then paired with dedication in bringing awareness to her community by sharing information on food & health. With assistance from her husband, Norbert Ward, the essence of family & love is the secret ingredient to every delicious dish from Clean Clean Plate Co.