Karen Alexis Williams
The Founder and President of Chef K Inc.
Ms. Williams, hales from the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica West Indies. The fifth of eleven children of an extremely poor family in the countryside. While she was a go-getter, earning the title of the local high school Home Coming Queen (1982-1984), and the parish Agricultural Farm Queen (1987). She was also the founder of the Trelawny Environmental Protection Association (TEPA). Ms. Williams also worked for the local sugar and rum manufacturer (Hampden Estates Ltd) as an administrative staff. Before she left Jamaica, she also ran a carwash, restaurant, and bar.
Ms. Williams migrated through her mother to the USA 2000, along with her only daughter at one year of age. She then went on to earned an Associate Degree in Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts from the New York Restaurant School (now called the Art Institute of NYC) in 2004. While in school, she worked as one of the Capacity Managers for up to 14 of the Riesse’s Restaurants in and around Penn Plaza in NYC. Ms. Williams also worked as one of main cooks at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC. With a passion in food, culture, and people, her entrepreneurial spirit leads her to the creation of two restaurants in New York City. While she has these two restaurants, there were repairs done on the exhaust system by a gentleman from the Middle East, whom informed her, after seeing bags full of petals from Sorrel, that they drink this as a tea in their country every morning for their “heart health.” And foolishly she told him it is not the same. But the next morning he brought his own bag full to prove, which his wife has taken back from their country the day before. Since then, she has continued making Sorrel Drink by the cup or fountain and realized it sold more than other natural drinks. While Ms. Williams is no stranger to hard times, the restaurant had fallen on hard times and had to be closed. But that did not stop the sale of Sorrel Drinks. She started taking orders from home which result into 30 gallons per week. Then she realized she must think on a bigger scale, and that is what led her to do in-depth research on Sorrel (Roselle aka Hibiscus Plant) and found that the entire Middle East, Far East, Mexico, the Caribbean, parts of North and South America, Europe, and the African nation are lovers of the flower called Sorrel. Not to mention drinking sorrel as a tea while in Denmark in 1989. Then through trial and error she has discovered and taught herself through the help of material in school, the best way to brew Sorrel Drinks and have it shelf stable without preservatives, alcohol, or additives.
She is proud to say without any doubt that Chef K, Inc. makes the BEST Sorrel Drink and Ginger Drinks in USA today. Chef K, Inc. is the only one in USA making Sorrel Jams and Ginger Jams currently. Chef K, Inc. was registered in Oct 13 2009 and the first bottle was on the shelf of my local supermarket in New York May 2010. Everything was well, thought she had the right licenses, only to be told later that Chef K, Inc was not Licensed under the correct department. The Inspector whom found the product on the supermarket shelf, properly educate her on for the proper licenses and inspections to be expected. Ms. Williams was given all the help needed to get the correct licenses, lab testing, more knowledge on bottling and labeling, because she was told she have already done 95% of the production correctly. And gain the certificate from the University of Tennessee for “Better Processing.”
Since then, Chef K, has sold to several supermarkets, Farmers markets and Restaurants and Delis in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We have targeted well shopped market places that we could afford to supply, where a large volume of the customers frequent. Without a doubt, Chef K Sorrel Drinks have reached lots of customers for and wide with limited amount of marketing, such as personal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the company’s website, but word of mouth is the key.
Since Sorrel and Ginger are blended to create Chef K Sorrel Drinks. Ms. Williams has decided to make Ginger into tasty drinks, because it has a good source of Anti-inflammatory and great health benefits. Chef K, Inc went on to create a line Ginger Punches with five flavors, along with our number one seller “Ginger Punch with Turmeric.” We have other flavors coming out shortly.
Chef K, Sorrel Drinks are always great demand from October thru December. But we now have tremendous sales throughout the year, especially with our line of Ginger Punches and throughout the cold and flu season because of the availability, taste, and health benefits.