The inspiration for FoodtoEat came during a chance encounter at a food truck. Deepti Sharma, in law school, waited in line for some 30 minutes just to order a peanut butter cookie. “There has got to be a better way to access this food truck,” she thought.
Inspired, Sharma founded FoodtoEat, a New York-based concierge catering company that connects more than 100 minority- and women-owned local restaurants and food trucks to corporations to consolidate their food and beverage ordering. FoodtoEat span all types of food categories, from American and Indian to Ethiopian.
Sharma has always been passionate about educating others about food. Often made fun of for bringing lunches to school that her classmates said smelled bad, Shamra stood up to her peers. “I don’t think this food smells bad. I think it smells great. I think you’re not used to it and that maybe you should try it,” Sharma encouraged others.
Sometimes she was successful in motivating friends to try new food and other times she was not, but her appetite for broadening others’ interest in new foods only grew over the years. Today, Sharma’s curiosity about cuisines from around the world continues to drive her entrepreneurial path.
“I don’t know that much about food from Sudan but I’d like to learn more about it and see how I can get corporate America to serve Sudanese food during their business meetings,” Sharma explained. She believes that the more people are introduced to new types of food, the more they will continue to explore restaurants that are, perhaps, little-known or different.
FoodtoEat also provides companies with an opportunity to serve a meal from several different chefs during which attendees engage in roundtables with the chefs. The employees learn more about the food they’re eating, how it was prepared and some context about the meals.
All of this aligns with FoodtoEat’s missions. Sharma wants her business to leverage purchasing power to invest in local businesses, create a more inclusive environment for providing food from different parts of the world, and serve underprivileged communities. This later mission stemmed from her trips to India, where she saw poverty on a different level. These experiences inspired her to make a positive impact in her local community.
“We try to humanize the food,” Sharma said. “When you work at a large company and get free food, it’s easy to forget that someone put this meal together.”
To address this,
FoodtoEat is rolling out a new campaign: #IMadeYourFood, which champions chefs through photography. Many of the meals that FoodtoEat provides to corporations come with photos of the chefs holding up signs that say, “I made your food.” The campaign also celebrates chefs and their stories on social media.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Sharma is reminded that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to the special people in your life and celebrating through food and gathering. “When people think of Thanksgiving dinner, they think of turkey, cranberry sauce and the traditional sides, but it is also about the coming together of people. This gathering can include food from all over,” Sharma adds.