Good for the Body, Good for the Soul: An Interview with Floratina Coles
Caron Gremont, our Director of Healthy Eating, recently sat down with Floratina Coles, a.k.a. Ms Flo, our Assistant Director of Prepared Foods. Check out these excerpts from their conversation:
Caron: You’ve worked as professional chef in many different roles, you cook for hundreds of our neighbors every day, and the dishes you prepare for staff lunch are legendary. What does food mean to you?
Ms. Flo: Food has always been a way that I could express my love and gratitude to friends and family. Some people like to send flowers or cards for special occasions, but for me, I always like to bring a home-cooked meal to the people I care about.
Caron: Every night, you prepare hundreds of meals for McKenna’s Wagon, Martha’s Table’s daily mobile food truck. What do you think about when you’re planning and cooking?
Ms. Flo: I want to give our guests the best meal I can. I try to strive for excellence in every single thing I cook. And when I say excellence, I mean it should be a wonderful experience in terms of visual presentation, smell, and of course taste. I think about the people who eat through McKenna’s Wagon, and I want them to not only feel nourished, but I want them to know that someone really cared about them while it was prepared.
Caron: So it’s really about more than just food, isn’t it?
Ms. Flo: It’s about feeding their mouths and bellies, sure, but it’s also about feeding their souls.
Caron: What have learned about cooking for the McKenna’s Wagon community?
Ms. Flo: Our guests aren’t shy about letting us know how they feel, and I’m happy to say we’ve been hitting a homerun with the flavors. They like it hot and loaded with protein. For many of them, this is the only home-cooked meal they have access to, so it’s very important we get it right.
Caron: It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking for a king, a family member, or one of our neighbors. You take the same approach every time.
Ms. Flo: I believe that all of the people who receive meals from us are kings and queens. And that’s the quality we strive for. We are not going to serve something that we wouldn’t eat ourselves. We just don’t do that.