Greathouse Gourmet was recently chosen to be part of the inaugural cohort of StartUP FIU’s food incubator program. Greathouse is the quintessential South Florida entrepreneur: one with an amazing product that now just needs a little push to have a huge breakthrough. We talked to its founder, Danielle Lee-Ziadie, about her plans.
What is it?
Greathouse Gourmet sells condiments inspired by Lee-Ziadie’s Jamaican-Caribbean background in the form of four flavors of pepper jellies: guava, pineapple, mango and original. They are designed to be an all-purpose flavor enhancer, for everything from meats to fruits and vegetables. The name Greathouse is a throwback to the colonial era Great Houses where houseworkers would can jellies and serve them to neighbors, creating a social network through food — the same goal Lee-Ziadie has for her condiments.
Who’s behind it?
Lee-Ziadie has a classic South Florida story: born in Jamaica, she moved to the region as a young girl and went on to attend FIU as an undergrad, then went to law school at the University of Miami. Her culinary pursuit was borne out of necessity: As a busy, frugal student and then lawyer without much cooking experience, she began experimenting with homemade condiments that could be easily applied to quickly enhance the flavor of a basic meat or pasta dish she was preparing.
The breakthrough came as a natural extension of her island heritage.
“We socialize a lot — when you have Caribbean background, you do a lot of socializing, so people were seeing me preparing food. People who knew my limitations, were just kind of shocked with the flavors I developed,” Lee-Ziaidie says.
Right now, Greathouse products can only be purchased online or at farmers markets. Lee-Ziadie is hoping the incubator will allow her to expand the product’s reach to an even larger audience.
She’s already planning on moving manufacturing from a New Jersey contractor to the incubator’s food production facility, which was recently inspected and approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture. For now, she remains Greathouse’s only full-time employee.
Her long-term goal, she says, is to see Greathouse products on the shelves of Publix or Whole Foods.
She thinks it should be an easy sell.
“Our products are gourmet, island-inspired condiments for time-conscious eaters seeking user-friendly products with robust, exotic flavor,” she says. “It can be a staple pantry item.”