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Greathouse Gourmet is using FIU’s food incubator to “spread” Jamaican love

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.

What’s next?

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.”

 

By Rob Wile
Rob Wile, the curator for Startup.Miami, is a writer and entrepreneur living in Mid-Beach. He’s a former staff writer for Fusion and Business Insider. His work has also appeared in Slate, Newsweek, Money Magazine and The New Tropic. He writes a twice-weekly newsletter on tech, business, and the economy in South Florida called The Heatwave.

  • Betsy Cohen

    This is fabulous! Can’t wait to try all the flavors.