T.J’s Eats & Latonya Adams

by Terry Watson | January 14th, 2016
LaTonya Adams (PhotosCompany)

LaTonya Adams (PhotosCompany)

Detroit, Mich. Native, LaTonya Adams surely knows something about good food. Her personalized dishes reflect the love and passion she has for cooking, and also who she is as a person, a mother, and friend. Before locating to Charlotte with her three children, she also lived in Pittsburg, Pa. and Buffalo, N.Y. She is also a survivor of domestic violence, and says being a survivor doesn’t define her.

Adams is the owner of T.J’s Good Eats, a home based startup business that specializes in delivering good food directly to their customers. As of now, Adams meals are only available on the weekend. She creates a menu that changes every week and her customers can choose from two proteins and four side dishes. Every meal comes with a drink and dessert. Adams says the prices vary, depending on the meal. “I make everything from scratch, and all the food is made the day of,” she says. Orders are placed in advance and can be delivered or picked up. Her ultimate goal is to have a brick and mortar restaurant.

Before moving to Charlotte, she had a totally different plan for a catering service. She was transferred by her job in 2012, and says it wasn’t long before she missed food from home. “When I couldn’t find it, I had to make it myself. I would take my leftovers to work and my co-workers would be asking for samples of my lunch. I had to start bringing extra and before I knew it, I had people asking me to make random dishes,” she says. That’s when she decided to sell personalized dinners.

Adams says she fell in love with cooking around the age of 12. Like most, helping her mom cook dinner sparked the initial interest in food. It wasn’t until she was in high school that she began a formal education in the field. She attended a vocational school from 1996-1998 that specialized in culinary arts. There, she was introduced to Pennsylvania Culinary of Culinary Arts of which she graduated from there in 2000.

Adams says she is inspired by diversity. “I love the idea of fusing cuisines and making something unique. My kids love all types of food and they will try just about anything I make,” Adams says.

She stopped cooking professionally to work an office job, due to financial constraints. Before she knew it, 15 years had passed by. Although she wasn’t cooking professionally I never stopped educating herself by keeping up with trends and cooking for her family at home.

“I love when people enjoy my food. I get a kick out of people being silent at the dinner table. When the conversation stops and all you hear is fork to plate, I’m happy,” she says. “Being a chef, I make people happy and provide them with nourishment at the same time. There is nothing better than that.”

In her success, Adams says she would like to create a safe haven for women and children of domestic violence. Her vision is to take large structures such as closed down schools and renovate them to accommodate mothers that need a safe place for their families.

Adams says that she knows if it had not been for the things that happened in her life, she wouldn’t be prepared for the journey ahead. With the encouragement of family and friends, she knows that whatever she sets her eyes on, she will accomplish.

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