Captions: ‘Mee-Ma’ AKA Carole Foster (center) stands flanked with her crew AKA family and friends including: (left-to-right): Martina Gladney, business partner, Suzette Adams, sister, Destiny Sherman, neice, Lee A. Wallace III, nephew, Hilton Foster, brother, Courtlyn Foster, daughter, Pamela Wallace, sister and Deanna Sherman, sister.
Photo by Troy Tieuel
Taste of Soul Vendor drops a brick in the Shark Tank
Gumbo. It’s that delectable stew with an array of ingredients and spices that excite the taste buds and please the stomach. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods that evoke memories of mom or dad’s kitchen and being back home. Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo (MLG) has been effective in making those memories a lot easier to attain with their revolutionary Gumbo Bricks.
Carole Foster known affectionately as “Mee-Ma” is CEO/president of MLG and a Taste of Soul food vendor. MLG is a family effort and family business, which stands on the principle of serving good food. Together with her brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, they are in the process of building the next big thing.
“It is not an ethnic dish…it’s not a seasonal dish,” stated Foster about gumbo.
The Gumbo Bricks are Mee-Ma’s innovative creation, which takes basic gumbo roux, cooked then frozen for convenience. When ready to eat, all you do is add a pot of hot water and your own seasonings, vegetables, etc.—and you’re done! The Gumbo Bricks come in Seafood, Chicken and Vegetarian.
It all began when Foster and family started selling samples outside West Angeles Church. From those samples on a Sunday morning, Mee-Ma’s has gone on to become a community staple being sold in multiple stores including Buddha Market, Family Meat Market, Park’s Meat Market and coming back to a Costco near you.
Despite the family’s setbacks and personal challenges, they have forged ahead with their grandmother’s gumbo recipe. Foster’s perseverance and fortitude eventually landed her in an even bigger “gumbo pot.”
Recently, Foster was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, the reality television show where a panel of “potential investors,” referred to as “sharks,” decide whether to partner with entrepreneurs who are seeking investments for their business, product or patent.
“It was a humbling experience to say the least,” said Foster. “To have to be able to tell people that while I was struggling to keep my business alive, I was sometimes sleeping in my car.”
She continued, “I didn’t have a place to live, really, just did not know what I would be able to do for my daughter other than give her this gift of this product and this business.”
Foster lost three sharks but gained a joint deal with sharks, Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian entrepreneur and Lori Greiner, an American inventor, entrepreneur, and television personality.
“It was so amazing to be able to get a deal,” said Foster. “’Mr. Wonderful’ [O’leary] can sometimes be a hard-ass on the show—he’s known for that. So, that he softened up and gave us a shot, is amazing.
“Lori Greiner and Kevin O’leary are amazing partners.”
Congratulations Mee-Ma! Ooh-Wee…Fee-Lay Gumbo!
Don’t miss out on Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Bricks soon to be available at Costco near you.
For more info, you may contact Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo at (310) 672-1112 or (866) 99-GUMBO. You can also find them on their website www.gumbobrick.com.