Beginning a enterprise throughout a pandemic may look like a frightening job, however for skilled mannequin and angel investor Emma Hernan, when others noticed lockdown, she noticed alternative. Hernan is the CEO of Emma Leigh & Co. Manufacturers, which has its headquarters in Hingham. Hernan’s grandfather, Gerry McAdams, based Yankee Dealer Seafood in 1994, which many locals will acknowledge as a regionally owned, third-generation household enterprise.

Hernan discovered herself with time on her arms firstly of the pandemic. She was cooking quite a bit, desirous about wholesome recipes and experimenting within the kitchen with new flavors. What might need appeared implausible to some was really an ingenious thought—with so many individuals at residence, Hernan thought the time for beginning a vegan frozen meals firm was really fairly good.

Combining her expertise for wholesome and scrumptious cooking together with her entrepreneurial expertise, Hernan was in a position to develop a enterprise throughout a lot of the Covid-19 quarantine. Given the circumstances all over the world on the time, Hernan knew if she was to achieve success it needed to come right down to style. “With so many frozen meals choices, I needed to be actually centered on the recipes,” she explains. “As soon as I had these nailed down, it was about connecting with patrons at supermarkets. I knew some patrons and had present relationships from my work with Yankee Dealer who had been prepared to offer me an opportunity.”

Hernan has a visit to Puerto Rico to thank for her love of empanadas. “I used to be in Puerto Rico for a modeling job and ate empanadas the complete journey, and my love for them stayed with me. They’re enjoyable to eat and the filling choices are so versatile. For me, a frozen pizza line was not going to align with my values of being plant primarily based, and with the empanadas, I might make one thing wholesome and scrumptious in a wide range of flavors,” explains Hernan.

Even so, a profitable and sustained presence within the frozen meals area isn’t any simple feat (a cursory stroll down the frozen meals aisle of any grocery retailer will inform you that). Put merely, there isn’t a scarcity of frozen meals decisions. However Hernan believed in her concept that when it got here to vegan frozen meals, particularly empanadas, there was a scarcity. Why? They’re simple to cook dinner, are wholesome and scrumptious—and never everywhere in the market. “Probably the most inexperienced kitchen chef can’t mess these up and so they align completely with a plant-based food plan or these wanting a straightforward entry into plant-based meals,” says Hernan.

When Hernan landed a take care of Past Meat for the filling of her empanadas and began promoting them on QVC, she was thrilled, not solely due to the thrilling alternatives these offers deliver for her firm, but in addition due to the visibility it provides the model and the accessibility it offers to customers. “For me, having individuals perceive {that a} keto recipe or a vegan recipe shouldn’t be solely acceptable, however could be as scrumptious as a standard recipe, is so vital. It’s actually thrilling to be a woman-owned enterprise, the place I’m able to put my values and what I really feel obsessed with on the forefront,” says Hernan.

Whether or not you select to pop them within the oven or cook dinner them in an air fryer, the empanadas go from frozen to able to eat in about ten minutes. Hernan’s authentic taste is the meat empanada and her expanded line now contains sausage, egg and cheese (made with Past Meat and Simply Egg) in addition to cheeseburger, along with dessert flavors together with cinnamon bun and different limited-edition flavors like birthday cake and cookies & cream, with extra in growth.

The Emma Leigh and Co. line additionally contains keto-friendly cauliflower crab muffins that are made with jumbo lump blue crab meat, peppers, onions, and spices, that are additionally offered on QVC and will also be ordered on-line. Regionally, Emma Leigh & Co. empanadas could be present in grocers on the North Shore in Peabody, Danvers, and Salem, with extra areas within the works.

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