Heba Saleh, Founder and CEO of EatLuv, took a bit of a winding road to the startup life. After graduating from George Mason University with a Master’s in English Literature, she started an online fashion magazine for an e-commerce startup in Chicago and then did PR for a speech therapy company, all the while blogging about her two major interests: healthy living and Middle Eastern food. She parlayed those two passions into a startup.
UberStories: Why did you decide to start up?
Heba Saleh: I am obsessed with food, so I started shifting my writing to focus more on food. I applied and got into the DC chapter of the Founder Institute – I just graduated in February. I went into the program with 12 ideas, and EatLuv won out over the others.
US: In 140 characters, what do you do?
HS: EatLuv is a farm-to-table meal kit delivery service.
US: Why are you useful?
HS: It’s aimed to make farm-to-table eating accessible to more people. You get recipes plus locally-sourced ingredients – you don’t have to go all over the place to get local foods, and you get to discover more ingredients and start cooking more from scratch.
US: How are you different?
HS: There are a number of startups doing the same thing, but they are not focusing on local sources, and they’re not stating where ingredients are coming from. If you’re going to make a difference, it’s important to support local farms; the idea that EatLuv can make even a smidge of a difference in our overly industrial and impersonal food system is very motivating.
US: What do you need, and what do you want?
HS: Right now, we are at the pilot planning stage; we need to decide on an exact location for a warehouse, commercial kitchen/shared space, or restaurant. We want to launch this summer with drop-off points, like a CSA [community-supported agriculture], but eventually we’ll deliver to people directly.
US: What is your favorite food?
HS: Oh my god – I could probably talk forever about this! I am really partial to Middle Eastern food – roasted lamb, Greek yogurt with walnuts and raw honey – heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, grass-fed butter. Any food that is real and prepared with love!
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