Archive for the 'Accolades' Category

End of An Era


May 5th, 2015

chef bio
Hello out there! It’s been way too long. I’m wondering if anyone even still reads this thing. Well, I’m still here. Though not online as much as I’ve been at other points of my life. A lot has CHANGED. It’s kind of cool for me to come back to this now. Who knew this blog was going to lead me on such an incredible journey. I mean, I was just trying to get healthier. And boy did I.

fuzzy guitar
When I started this blog, I was just your average girl. I had developed a lot of HEALTH PROBLEMS from a toxic exposure. It’s kind of a LONG STORY. I had worked in restaurants forever. I was in a band. I wasn’t feeling well. I just wanted to feel better. So I started a blog of figuring out how to eat so I could feel better. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a crazy adventure.


I started feeling better. And changing my diet was a really key component of that. I was inspired to learn more. I wanted to get better at it. I wanted to be proficient. I was spending all my free time making food. And I wanted time for other things in my life again. So I went to CULINARY SCHOOL (YOU CAN FOLLOW MY JOURNEY). It wasn’t so much a career move. I was just thinking I could maybe do some freelance catering gigs afterwards. And keep my day job. But the universe had another plan for me.


Shortly after I returned, I was in a serious CAR CRASH. I was in physical therapy for about eighteen months. A while anyway. I was pretty knocked out. It took a while for me to get it together. I wasn’t moving very fast. During that time, I started making products. It was mostly a physical therapy project at first. Something to work on while I was getting it together. I started making kale chips first. And those went well. But it was painful for me to make them. Because I had nerve damage in my shoulder. So I started making these cheeses. Dairy free cashew and macadamia cheeses. Cheeses that I could eat. For me. At the time, there weren’t really a lot of options out there. There was one company making them. DR. COW. And that was it.

cheeses
These little guys CHANGED MY LIFE. I am not kidding. It was like a movie. The cheeses took off. They started selling all over the country. I did a launch on KICKSTARTER when I finished physical therapy. And donations poured in from all over the world. I was in over my head pretty quickly.

julie and me
That’s when my partner JULIE came on the scene. She had been right under my nose the whole time. She had just sold her record store and had some free time. She can’t eat dairy either. So she was passionate about the cheeses and had been helping me make them. It was clear that things had evolved beyond me. I needed help. And the universe had put the perfect person in front of me. We found some investors, and BUILT OUT OUR OWN SHOP just for the cheeses in 2012. It’s been a whirlwind ever since. We’ve just been trying to keep up.

Julie and Sonny
Then, Julie became a mom. To the fabulous Sonny! We definitely had our hands full. But the cheeses never slowed down. They just kept growing. And we had to keep up.

heidi and me
That’s when HEIDI came into the picture. Heidi is a nutritionist/registered dietitian based in Seattle. We used to be roomates. Back in the day. She also happens to be the one who helped me get my diet on track. When I first got sick. She led the way for me. So the two ladies who helped me get back on my feet when I was down and out became my business partners. I can’t really think of a better foundation for greatness. Things have evolved a lot. In a very grass roots way. It’s funny. People often have the impression that we are a big business. And are surprised when I tell them how big our space is. And how much cheese we pump out. It’s been a labor of love. To be sure. My health has evolved a lot too. I’ve definitely had some ROUGH PATCHES.


Adjusting to the stress of running a business was a difficult puzzle to figure out. Luckily, I had some little CRITTERS TO SHOW ME THE WAY. It seemed like the more I adapted my lifestyle to work for me, the better I got. Despite all the stress and trauma. The way revealed itself to me.

cheese
Meanwhile, the cheeses just kept growing and growing. They did so well that since we started, a bunch of other companies with a lot more money have jumped in the scene. Now there are tons of products out there like us. We have been like the little engine that could. Just chugging along. While bigger companies have flooded the marketplace. A whole new CATEGORY OF PRODUCTS has emerged. There have even been articles in the press claiming that we have been following their footsteps. You can rewrite history in the press. And people will believe it. But I’m here to tell you that we are the REAL DEAL over here. We are the ones that sprang from a truly divine inspiration. We did the work ourselves. From the ground up. We’ve been here from the beginning. We may not be the biggest. But we have heart and soul. It’s frustrating sometimes. That not everyone sees that. But honestly, I’m just happy to have graduated to normal people problems. I am happy to be functioning in society again. Actually, I’ve gone way beyond that. I’m thriving now!

karyn's
Here I am now. I was getting ready to do a cooking demo at one of my very favorite restaurants. KARYN’S in Chicago. KARYN CALABRESE is an inspiration and an icon. And I was honored to do a demo at her holiday event last year.

So anyway, I’ve been thinking…That since this blog was about my journey back to wellness…And since I feel like I can say now that I’ve arrived…It might be time for a new era. So I’ve started a new blog. With my business partners, HEIDI and JULIE. A PUNK RAWK LABS blog. I’ve been posting over there lately. I might show up here again. Sometime down the road. But I think this is gonna turn into my personal blog now. And since I’ve become part of something larger than me, I’m embracing a NEW ERA to reflect that. Come by sometime and check it out!

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Minnesota Cup


June 12th, 2014

mn cup logo
I’m very excited to announce that we have been selected as a SemiFinalist in this year’s MINNESOTA CUP! The Minnesota Cup is a mentoring program/grant competition for up and coming businesses that are developing new and innovative concepts. We are up against some stiff competition! As a semi-finalist, we automatically qualify for the mentoring and the opportunity to present our business plan to investors and community business leaders. We are so honored to be included with this esteemed bunch. Looking forward to meeting all the other contestants and learning from them as well!

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Hot Off The Presses


October 18th, 2013

city pages
Wow. This has been a crazy week in the cosmos. My mind has been spinning over all the dysfunction in our world these days. It’s enough to make anyone claustrophobic. Kinda makes you want to create your own alternate universe. I’ve been kinda HOLED UP IN MY CHEESE CAVE ALL YEAR and ignoring the outside world as much as possible. At first, I think a lot of people were worried. ‘Is she going to be okay?’ ‘You know you can die from that.’

Well, that is all worthy of another post. Which I am feeling coming on. I feel like I’m making health breakthroughs right and left. All coming up. But for today, I’m excited to share this article that was published in our local arts/entertainment rag, the CITY PAGES ABOUT PUNK RAWK LABS. I feel like this is a turning point. All this work. It’s been a truly brutal grind which I don’t wish to ever repeat (although I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished in the last year). But it’s starting to become tangible. The work, I mean. And it’s a really good feeling!

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Hitting The Ground Running


October 8th, 2012

Julie and Me
Well, things have been evolving pretty quickly around here. Julie and I have been hitting the ground running. That’s for sure. If you’ve missed the last few posts, you might not recognize this blog. A lot has happened! It still hasn’t fully sunk in as a reality. It all feels like a fairy tale to me. But if you missed the memo, Punk Rawk Labs HAS EXPANDED. It’s been a pretty dramatic change for me. My new partner, Julie, is a dream. If you haven’t met her yet, check out the newest video for PUNK RAWK LABS TV. She takes you on a GUIDED TOUR of our new space.

labels
The retail space is kind of functioning as our office/packaging center at the moment.

buildout in prog
We’re not sure at this point when it will be open. Right now, we are so buried in cheese orders, that we need to get caught up before we can open the retail space.

labs
The kitchen, however, is fully licensed and operational! It seemed at times like it was never going to happen. I have to admit, there were some crazy obstacles on the way here. But miraculously enough, the answers all appeared exactly when they were supposed to. It was a nail biter though!

seward
We haven’t officially started taking orders yet. As we are still getting caught up on our backorder. But we are slowly adding new stores. Our cheeses are now available in Minneapolis at the SEWARD COOP. In fact, Julie and I will be doing a sampling demo there next Sunday afternoon.

sidecar shelf
You can also find us at SIDECAR FOR PIGS PEACE in Seattle, WA! Sidecar is a non-profit store that raises money to support a pig sanctuary. Not only does the money go to a great cause. It also happens to be the best deal on our cheese (being a non-profit).

sidecar front
I just happened to be in town the day they went on sale (for a wedding reception). Friday the 28th. And insanely, I got an email the following Monday that they were already sold out! I couldn’t believe it!!

order boardIt’s an exciting time, to be sure! We’ve been hearing from the most unlikely places. This is our order board. Right now, we are working on orders for Denver, Portland, Seattle, Cincinatti, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  We have a lot of stores to get to.  But when it’s all said and done, there will be quite a few flags on the US map (a full listing of stores which carry us is HERE).  Pretty magical.  I have to say.  But I should quit gabbing for now and get back to work!!  More updates soon…

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Veggie Awards 2012


August 3rd, 2012

veggie awards
Hello out there! We’ve been pretty busy over here working on our new SHOP. But I got the most amazing news the other day. Apparently, we’ve been nominated for a Veggie Award! Can you believe it? I was kind of shocked. And I have to admit, the news came at the most amazing time (as we were hitting some big snags with the buildout…UGH! I will elaborate more on this later).

nut cheese
The skinny is that Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheeses have been nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ category. VOTE FOR US HERE!

food fightThere are some other nominees that you’ve seen on this blog. FOOD FIGHT! GROCERY which carries our cheese in Portland, OR. They got nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Storefront’ or some closely related category (I already voted so I can’t go back and look at the categories, but you get the idea). NOOCH | VEGAN MARKET (from Denver, CO) was also nominated in this category. They don’t carry our cheese yet. But they will be carrying it very soon…like maybe once we get our new shop open. So keep your eyes peeled.

veganessentialsVEGAN ESSENTIALS also got nominated for ‘Best Online Retailer’. They took over our online orders once we started getting too many to handle. And they are actually the only online retailer to carry our cheese at the moment. So check them out!

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Punk Rawk Labs, Inc.


July 19th, 2012

new shop
Well, in case you haven’t gotten the memo, Punk Rawk Labs is undergoing some big changes at the moment. Things just kind of BLEW UP RATHER SUDDENLY after our OFFICIAL LAUNCH. I’m in awe of the craziness that can ensue in this beautiful world if you remain open to change. I’m talkin’ straight out of the movies! I mean, a few months ago, I was literally destitute. My health problems had wiped out everything. I literally had no money, and I had lost my job due to my injuries. A lot of people had given up on me. Even members of my own family. But I’m happy to say that times have changed…
My cheeses started selling like crazy. All over the country. There were so many orders that it was way way beyond what my limited capacity body could handle. It was clear that something needed to change and fast. An unsettling moment to be sure. But a few good friends encouraged me to stick it out, hold on tight, and ride the wave. And now, just a few months later, I’m happy to announce that some very exciting developments have taken place!

julie
Punk Rawk Labs has now become Punk Rawk Labs, Inc. In order to meet the demand, it became necessary to expand production of our product line. Enter, my new partner, Julie. Here she is in front of our new shop. Julie is the perfect person to help take PRL to the next level. She’s an entrepreneur. In fact, she’s the former owner of HYMIE’S VINTAGE RECORD STORE on Lake St. here in Minneapolis (which incidentally was dubbed one of the 30 BEST RECORD STORES IN THE US by Rolling Stone magazine). Currently, she works in the food business.

seward
In fact, she just yesterday gave her notice at the SEWARD COOP where you might remember that I taught a CLASS WHEN I FIRST RETURNED FROM CULINARY SCHOOL. Julie actually helped me with that class as it was just a few months after my ACCIDENT, and I was still on crutches. In fact, I was actually on my way to a BBQ at Julie’s house with a bin full of kale chips when I got in the accident. Seems like the universe was trying to tell me something. But the universe didn’t stop there! At the beginning of this process, you could say I was pretty riddled with anxiety. I had to raise a lot of money to make this happen. And at that point, I really didn’t have any idea how I was going to do that. My friend Janice, who incidentally is a very talented healer (and creator of the FOUNDATIONS HEALING SYSTEM), told me to start taking a walk every day. That there was some place nearby where I would find the answers. And I would know it when I found it.

hanjin
Well, before long, I found myself walking every day to the train tracks near my house. There’s a big switchyard nearby. It’s kind of famous among those who like to jump trains. But I kept going to that spot. I think because it felt like I was connecting to something larger than myself. I was fascinated by the idea that there was a time when the trains were bringing all the information from the outside world. One thing I kept noticing there were these ‘Hanjin’ cars. And they really stuck out to me. As when I worked in Seattle, I worked at a seafood restaurant right on the pier of the Puget Sound. And these huge boats with these ‘Hanjin’ cars were always floating by.

penta

Well, interestingly, there was another party that was interested in helping with PRL’s expansion. A tech company from Korea called Penta Systems Technology based in Seoul. I got connected with them through a friend from childhood. We played violin in the orchestra together. Went to junior high, high school, and college together. And in fact, she lived across the street from me in college. And now, she is the Vice President of Penta. Small world, right? It gets smaller. A few weeks ago, I went to ship a package of kale chips to her to try. And she said, why don’t you ship them to me at work? I said, ‘Sounds good. What’s the address?’ It turns out that her office is located in the Hanjin Shipping Building in Seoul. Can you believe that?! The universe had spoken again! From the other side of the globe!

new windows
I am very happy to announce that Punk Rawk Labs has formed what might be described as a multinational corporation. And I am now the CEO of that corporation! Talk about a dramatic turnaround! I have to say, I can hardly believe it myself. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I am so very honored to have joined forces with Julie and Penta Systems Technology to form a new improved Punk Rawk Labs!

wet tile
Our new shop is still under construction. But the buildout is coming along. In fact, it might be done as early as this week.

tile
The tile has been laid. Some beautiful grey quarry tile in accordance with state and local codes for commercial kitchens.

rubic
The walls have been painted. Well, at least some of them anyway. We still have a few to go.

amber
We’ve even had at least one celebrity visit so far! Here I am with AMBER SHEA CRAWLEY (fellow MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY alum) and author of best selling vegan uncookbook, PRACTICALLY RAW.

practicallyI am feeling so happy about the next phase of our development. It really feels like the right people in the right place at the right time! There are so many amazing coincidences bringing this thing together at the moment that I am just soaking up every moment. Karma really does happen! And it is so freaking beautiful, that it might just burn my eyes. I am so looking forward to having some free time so I can try out some of Amber’s recipes! Free time!  It seems like such a far away concept.  :)  But it is coming soon to a theatre near me!  I’ll keep you posted on what develops…

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Vote for Punk Rawk Labs!


June 24th, 2012

kickstarter
Hello out there! It’s been a while since I posted. Things are in flux here. Big time! It all started innocently enough with my OFFICIAL LAUNCH CAMPAIGN on kickstarter. I was just trying to raise enough money to buy equipment to make enough cheese to pay my bills. But somehow that’s NOT WHAT HAPPENED. Not exactly anyway. I mean…don’t get me wrong. I did raise the money to buy the equipment to make small batches of cheese. But then, it just kept going…and going…and it’s still going!

I started selling cheeses ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. Not just selling them…

selling out
…selling out of them! And fast. I can’t keep them in stock. I can’t make them fast enough. And the orders just keep coming. And coming. Success is a beautiful thing! It’s hard to believe at times that this is happening. Though it does bring on it’s own unique issues.

kale 2As many of you are aware, this business was born out of a recovery from some serious health issues. And as many with health issues can attest, it’s a very financially draining situation to recover from. Not exactly the ideal situation for starting a business (which generally requires a lot more financial stability than a medical drama is really conducive to). At the same time, there’s never really an ideal time to start a business. And at the end of the day, you just have to decide. Am I going to make this happen? Or aren’t I?

new shop
So I’m going out on a limb. The next step is to get caught up on orders. And in order to do this, I need a space which can facilitate the production. So that’s what we’re working on now. It’s requiring some creative financing. And it’s also requiring me to step way outside of my comfort zone. A personal growth situation, for sure.

stamp

I will keep you posted on my progress. But in the meantime, I’m one of many businesses that have applied for a $250,000 grant to expand. We could definitely use it! If you have a moment, would you mind going to THIS WEBSITE and searching for ‘Punk Rawk Labs’ and voting for us? We need 250 votes in order to be considered for the grant. Right now, we have about 30. So we could use some help! Thanks for your support!

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Critical Max and the Radio


May 10th, 2012

ampersThings are reaching a critical mass this week. In fact, it is so damn exciting that I am having a lupus flare-up. Spent most of today asleep. Just taking it all in. This has been the most incredible ride of my life. It’s very up and down right now. The big work/shifts are happening now! I vacillate between being overwhelmed by the impossible and being inspired by the impossible. It feels like I’m pushing a giant boulder up a mountain. But I am continually lifted up by all the beautiful people out there. THANK YOU!! I just got an email from another store. There are some people out there that are trying to help me! It’s crazy. I just keep hearing from stores saying that their customers are demanding my product! I can’t express to you how grateful I am for your help. It really keeps me going. I was so ready to give up today. On a lot of days. But that really keeps me going. Much gratitude!!!  You are making a difference to me.  And I am so thankful.

This picture is from a radio profile they did on me for 10,000 Fresh Voices (a program on KFAI).  Check it out HERE.

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Rainbows and Crop Circles


April 13th, 2012

rainbow car
Well, things are moving along at a pretty good clips these days. It seems like magical moments are all around. Starting a business is fraught with impossible challenges. But lately, it feels a little like I have a rainbow beam following me around. I’ve just been tuning out the impossible. I just don’t pay it any mind. And I just keep moving forward.

mural
This week my rainbow beam is coming to me from the RAINBOW GROCERY in San Francisco, CA!!!! I have heard so many good things about this coop! From everyone I know in town.

kickstarter av
So I’m very pleased to announce that they are the latest retailer to start carrying my cheese!! The first order is arriving today. And there will be FREE SAMPLES while supplies last! Go on down and check it out.

crop circles
People keep asking me about my health. How am I holding up? Am I keeping it together? Things are going well. Aside from the usual funky displays of immune system dysfunction, I’m doing great! My energy is great. And I feel like I’ve finally rebuilt my blood enough that I’m not catching every bug that comes around.

dew drops
I attribute both of these outcomes to the high volume of WHEATGRASS I’ve been consuming very regularly. I think it’s also responsible for finally getting ahead of that dreaded CANDIDA infection that I struggled with forever.

octagon
These little crop circles on my arm perplex me. They are the oddest little octagonal shape. Perfectly reproduced. So intriguing. Not sure what that’s about. But don’t really have time to ponder it now. So I’ll just put that in a pot and throw it on the back burner. And I’ll keep you posted on how things develop…

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Akin’s and Chamberlin’s


April 8th, 2012

akin's logo
I am on a roll! It’s so funny. You struggle and struggle for so long. Feeling like nothing is happening. And then one day, there’s a drop that makes the bucket overflow. I don’t feel like things have changed that much. Day to day, it’s the same old slog. But all of a sudden, the impact of everything starts to change. What a beautiful thing!

This week’s new development…I got an email from Akin’s! AKIN’S is a natural food store that I shopped at when I was in Oklahoma. In fact, it’s where I did most of my shopping when I was in CULINARY SCHOOL. I got an email from someone on the new products committee! They want to review my product for consideration!

chamberlin's
This is really exciting! Not only is Akin’s a store that I shop at. It’s a chain of 14 stores. There are 8 stores in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. And they have a sister chain, Chamberlin’s, which is located throughout Florida. How cool is that?

store5
Looks like they’ve been around a while too. So this seems like a pretty promising development.

store 6
So…if you shop at any of these stores and are interested in getting your hands on some NUT MILK CHEESES, make a request!

http://blog.punkrawklabs.net/pics/2012/apr/akins/store10.gif
It very likely will have a big impact right about now!

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