Texas Dad Helps Daughters Start Culturally Inspired Meal-Prep Business During Pandemic


December 17, 2021

They’re learning a lot!

A Texas dad helped his daughters start a culturally inspired meal-prep business during the pandemic, KRIS 6 News reports. 

Jessica and Hershel Shoats were trying to find new ways to educate their children about the world while homeschooling during the pandemic. That’s when Shoats decided he would create a business with his daughters, 8-year-old Graysen and 7-year-old Avery. In June 2020, the trio created Curly Girl Cooking, a meal-service business that prepares food for their local Corpus Christi community. 


For Shoats , it was not only about educating his children about various aspects of the world, from entrepreneurship to the culinary arts, but it was also about instilling pride in themselves and their culture, the food being an extension of that, hence the business name.

“Their hair, when I teach my girls when they go and see the big mother tree out there, that is a direct reflection of them. Nature. There is a lot of energy going through those curls…Every time we are wearing our Afro, it’s a crown. We don’t need a princess crown – we already have our own Afro crown,” said Shoats.

Graysen. Photo Courtesy of Lillian Jean Photography/The Bend Magazine


The meals the girls make are culturally inspired, whipping up everything from Caribbean jerk chicken, to jambalaya, creme brulée, chicken tenders, and vegan options. Every Wednesday, the girls get in the kitchen with their dad and give it all they’ve got. 

“We put love into our food and we never mess up in our food. That makes it taste delicious,” said Graysen. 


“Yummy!,” Avery added.  

Avery. Photo Courtesy of Lillian Jean Photography/The Bend Magazine

Shoats said the kids are learning a lot about their culture through the food as well as the basics of entrepreneurship and hard work. 


“I showed my kids, culturally, what meal we had when we didn’t have much as far as the steak, the filet mignons and this side of the beef or that side of the shrimp,” he explained. 

More important than the learnings though is the memories the three have been able to create and the relationships they’ve created which mean more to him than anything. 

“We’ve built more relationships than money [or] anything from this, and that is what I always wanted to teach my girls is: It’s not money. I want you to build relationships and I want you to continue to build relationships,” Shoats said. 


Photo Courtesy of Lillian Jean Photography/The Bend Magazine

The girls are now part of the more than 75 Black-owned businesses that exist in Corpus Christi, Texas. Of that number, more than half are owned by women. Their mom said she hopes the girls continue to inspire others in the community. 

“Hopefully, other kids will see them and ask their parents, ‘Hey what can we do?,” she said. 


But for Graysen, her work is more than just inspirational, it’s an example of Black excellence. 

“It means to me that I have done a great job in my history and my businesses, so I have been doing good. You… can inspire the world by doing just one small thing. You can make it bigger and inspire the whole world,” said Graysen. 

To learn more about Curly Girl Cooking or place an order from their business, click here


Photo Courtesy of Lillian Jean Photography/The Bend Magazine

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