Editor’s note: Leading up to National Daughters’ Day on September 25, we’re highlighting mother-daughter duos who are collaborating to inspire the community and excel in business. Enjoy!
Home Cuisine was established nearly 20 years ago, long before meal prep plans and food delivery were part of many people’s everyday lives. It started as a way to help a relative, then grew into a full-blown business run by a mother-daughter duo. Meet the women behind Home Cuisine and our newest FACES of Louisville, Sandy and Mae Pike. Find out more about their local go-tos, how they feel about being in business with family, and where you can find their food!
What led you to the culinary industry?
Mae: My mom has been in the food industry my whole life, and she did some pretty amazing work in Louisville. I thought everybody’s mom was breaking gender roles and doing impressive things — but it was only my mom! We’ve been at it from day one — from starting a small catering company in Berkley, CA, to moving up to Jack Fry’s here in Derby City. After some great success, my mom quasi-retired while I was living in Florida. I ended up coming home to Louisville because Mom’s hobby started taking off.
Was this the hobby we now know as Home Cuisine?
Mae: Yes! It all started because we had a family member who was very sick. She had specific diet instructions from her doctor but couldn’t make her own meals. So, my mom would cook meals for her and drop them off on the front porch. That grew into a business that focused on meals for people with medical issues — and that was how we ran it for quite some time. But then we realized that a lot of people who didn’t have medical issues were ordering from us because it was a convenient way to get good food delivered to their door.
What can people expect from Home Cuisine today?
Mae: We’ve introduced many new things over the years and still work with folks whose doctors have sent them our way. But today, our clients run the gamut. We offer meal plans in four categories: vegetarian, keto, paleo, and classic, which includes all of the food groups. Serving sizes are small or large, and plans can be three, five, or seven days per week. We also have family meals and offer Thanksgiving and Christmas spreads every year. And my sister, Elizabeth Kristofek, is now our staff nutritionist. She had a successful company that did cleanses, so we plan to start offering those as well.
What’s the best part about working together?
Sandy: Mae and I are just alike — but that’s good and bad.
Mae: I think the best thing about having your mother or daughter as a business partner is that you both have the same goal. We share the same hopes and understand that everything we do goes into the same pot. I can’t imagine not being able to trust my business partner the way I trust my mother. And I can’t imagine not being able to be as honest with my business partner as I can be with my mother. Plus, after all this time, we just have a rhythm. I know what she’s good at, and she knows what I’m good at. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re a family affair — my husband recently joined the team as our CEO.
Do you have any non-family members working with you?
Mae: We do, but we’re a small team. We have three delivery drivers and four people in the kitchen, including our amazing chef, Chip McPherson. He and I worked together at Dietrich’s when we were in our young, wild twenties; he was a chef, and I was a waitress. We are so fortunate to have him. The things he can do in a kitchen aren’t things you could teach somebody. He is 100% one of us, and we adore him.
To what do you attribute your success?
Sandy: We always put the customer first. If we make a mistake, we do everything we can to make it up to them.
Mae: You have to do it right, honestly, and with integrity — and that’s how we run this place.
What is the best advice you’ve ever given or received?
Sandy: When I was first planning to do this, I discussed it with a prominent Louisville businessman, who told me that no one would order food to be delivered to them. He insisted that people either went out to a restaurant or cooked at home. He said I should just forget about the idea because it would never work. I didn’t listen to him. So the best advice is to follow your dream, despite what others might say.
Mae: The best advice I ever received was from my mom. She said that if you’re thinking about offering criticism, don’t say it out loud unless it’s something that can be changed in five seconds or less. For example, if somebody needs to comb their hair or change their shirt, it’s OK to tell them that. But if somebody needs to lose weight, you can’t say that. It was very sage advice and stopped me from putting my foot in my mouth several times.
What are your favorite places to eat, shop, and play around Louisville?
Sandy: My favorite restaurant is 211 Clover Lane in St. Matthews. I love that place. I don’t really like to shop, as I’m trying to pare down. And my favorite place to play is in the back yard with my dogs.
Mae: My favorite place to eat is Mayan Cafe. They catered my wedding, and I love owner Bruce Ucan with all my heart. Every meal there is a wonderful one. I’m a Highlands girl, so I take my stepdaughter to the area’s little local stores and coffee shops. We also spend a lot of time at Cherokee Park, and I like seeing shows at Zanzabar.
Aside from faith, family, and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Mae: I think our first two things are the same. Mine is strong black coffee, and my dog, Gunner. He weighs 280 pounds, but he’s got the sweetest little soul.
Sandy: My first thing is also black coffee. My second thing is my dogs as well, but I have two. Noodles is the youngest; I just rescued her. The older dog is Sofia.
Mae: Mine and my mom’s third answer would be traveling — we’ve both got the travel bug.
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