PREP Member spotlight

Georgia-made and “Soul to Belly” delivers umami flavors in the form of black garlic. This husband and wife duo uses high-quality USA-grown garlic to bring incredible flavors and health benefits to any dish. Victoria and Senya Rossi have created a product that pairs well with many types of cuisine and also adds a wow factor to our everyday meals.Soul to Belly creates products that with warn you soul and and leave you belly happy Visit their website now to order now- www.soultobelly.com

                 

  1. How did you first become a part of the restaurant/food industry, and what was your first job?

We have always loved food and fine dining, but neither of us has a background in the industry. With Senya’s background in sales, and Victoria’s background in hospitality we dove headfirst into founding our own food business that revolves around black garlic! 

 

  1. How long have you been in Georgia and what first brought you here?

We both immigrated to Georgia when we were toddlers, so Georgia has been our home for over 25 years. We both even went to the same middle school and high school, however, we didn’t start dating until after we graduated. 

 

  1. How did you choose your company name.

We have friends in Philly who own a dog treat company, and they told us to have a few drinks and a name would come to us. A few hangovers later, we had no name. Then it clicked. We cook from our soul to our belly so Soul to Belly was born! 

 

  1. How did you come up with the idea for your new business? 

In 2019 we started our first business and quickly realized that even though our product was phenomenal, we didn’t have a great business plan and we were on our way to our first failure. We knew we wanted to run our own business, and then Covid hit (which was definitely not in our business plan). Senya saw black garlic in a cooking Facebook group, so we bought some to try. It was instant love! We thought to ourselves if people love black garlic as much as we do, then we found a great niche! We also knew we could make it taste even better with a few changes in the cooking process and by using USA-grown organic garlic. With a failure under our belt, we had the confidence to take on the challenge of bringing delicious black garlic to the market! PREP has been a huge help in bringing this dream to reality. 

 

  1. What do you think are the most important skills for a new food concept?

We’re still so small that it’s hard to answer this. However, making sure production is easily scalable while maintaining our quality has been a huge focus for us. As the saying goes, “patience is a virtue”. There are so many unexpected hiccups, and learning curves that can be frustrating, but working through them is part of the process. Sales is a pretty important skill because that helps money come in! Also, meeting and connecting with people is a great skill to have because it’s the people ahead of you that can teach you the most. That’s another reason we love PREP because there is a built-in community of business owners who can help mentor us. 

 

  1. What’s the biggest food business-related challenge that you had to struggle to overcome? 

The biggest problem we’ve had is keeping production up with the growing demand! It’s completely different making 7lbs of black garlic at home before launch versus making hundreds of pounds at a time in our commercial kitchen. In our business, we have a 35-40 day cook time, so it’s not like we can pull an all-nighter and make more products. You can’t rush perfection! We have to be patient so our flavors fully develop. 

 

  1. What prompted you to start a food business?

We knew we wanted our own business, and we knew we had a love for cooking. Since we fell in love with black garlic, it gave us the niche to enter the food industry!  

 

  1. What’s on your menu? Why did you choose this cuisine/product?

Black garlic has such a phenomenal fine dining flavor! It’s such a simple yet complex ingredient. We start with organic USA-grown garlic, and the cooking process makes all the magic happen! Its sweet, smokey, balsamicky, umami elevates almost every dish we and other foodies and chefs cook. We wanted to make black garlic user-friendly so we currently offer 3 products for people to get started cooking with it. We have Black Garlic Cooking Paste, which is the purest form of black garlic in an easy-to-use paste. You can add it towards the end of a soup, sauce, reduction, etc, to add deep umami into your dishes. This is a big hit in the fine-dining world! For more suggestions, check out our website www.soultobelly.com .We also offer Ultra Garlic Powder, which is our blend of California garlic powder, California roasted garlic powder, and our black garlic powder. It’s an incredible addition to everything from meats, veggies, and even mac n’ cheese! Use it like you would use regular garlic powder, but expect a richer depth of flavor. Black Garlic Salt is another product that has quickly become a fan favorite! We use Redmond Real Salt because it is a completely unrefined sea salt that’s full of trace minerals, which results in a wonderful taste. Combined with our black garlic powder, anything you season with it will get an added boost of sweet umami from our black garlic. It won’t take away from the flavor profile you’re trying to accomplish, it’ll just add a nice fine-dining flare.

 

  1. What’s the best part of owning your own company?

Seeing and hearing the responses from customers who use and love our products is the best part of the business! Black garlic has taken our cooking to the next level, and it’s so nice to see so many other people share the same experience. 

 

  1. What lessons have you learned since launching your own business?
  • Everything takes longer than you think it’s going to take.
  • Everything is going to cost more than you think it is going to. 
  • You are going to screw up, especially unexpectedly, but you must accept that it’s part of the journey.
  • Other people loving your products is one of the greatest feelings in the world!

 

  1. Is there anything you would have done differently at the start?

We tried to build our own commercial kitchen, but it took so much time and money that we wish we would have just gone straight to PREP instead of wasting time and resources. Luckily, since we already had a failed business, we did have a little knowledge on what not to do for this one. 

 

  1. Is any new exciting news or events coming?

Last week we invested in more equipment to 3X our production capabilities so starting in June, we’ll be able to supply more restaurants, stores, and our farmer’s markets! We are so happy people love black garlic as much as we do!

 

  1. How can someone buy your product?

Currently, we can be found at Marietta Square Farmers Market, Alpharetta Farmers Market, The Public in Woodstock, and A Peach of A Party in Roswell, and you can order directly from us online at www.soultobelly.com.

If you’re interested in samples for your business or store, please email Senya at Senya@soultobelly.com

 

  1. What would you do differently next time if you could launch your business again?

I would start with millions of dollars and more experience! 🙂