Tuesday, June 30, 2015

She's Making Louisville Sweeter

She’s about as spunky as her chocolates are sweet! We loved getting to know more about the woman behind Cellar Door Chocolates, and we think you will too. She has a thing for Taco Bell, bread and dark hot chocolate...and she can cook Coq Au Vin. Need we say more?

Today's Woman: Did you have any fears about opening a business?
Erika Chavez-Graziano: Honestly, my only true fear is the fear of failure, and that’s what I had back then. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about fear and where it stems from, and I think my fear of failure is the fear of the worst possible thing happening. And lately I’ve come to accept that that worst possible thing may happen, but, guess what? It’s not the end of the world. So I’m trying to overcome that fear. But I had a lot of support from the people that I met in school – my academic advisor, my fellow research assistants – and from my long-term boyfriend, so that took away a lot of the fear.

TW: What are some of your hobbies?
ECG: I’m trying to rekindle my relationships with my hobbies. Before I used cooking as my stress relief, it was painting. And I’m a big embroiderer, and I knit too. I also like to go for walks with my Newfoundland. And I cook for my boyfriend – that’s one thing I’ve started to do again recently, and it makes me very happy. I’ve always said that cooking is a selfless act because you’re physically laboring over something, and you’re nourishing somebody, and you’re giving it to them without wishing for something in return. I learned how to cook from my grandmother, and I used to cook for my mom and my sister, but now my favorite thing to cook is Coq au Vin. It’s an all day process, and you can freeze some for later.

TW: Do you eat a lot of chocolate?
ECG: I don’t eat truffles all the time, but I do have hot chocolate every day, usually for lunch. This is the same type of hot chocolate we offer at the shop for sale. I make super dark hot chocolate, and I don’t add any sugar to it. Sometimes I have it before bed. It’s nourishing, it’s comforting, and it’s delicious. But my real weakness is bread, French fries, nachos, and Taco Bell. Savory and salty – that’s my thing. And I'm an omnivore in the true sense. I love anchovies, I love Marmite, I love seafood, I love eating different parts of the animal because that’s what I grew up with in New Mexico. Before it was trendy to eat tripe and oxtail, grandma was making it because it was the cheapest cut and what we could afford. I used to sit on the couch with my grandfather eating Vienna sausages and pickled pigs’ feet, so there’s nothing I won’t try.

TW: What do you want to learn or get better at?
ECG: I want to focus on my health and my mental development. Whatever things I choose to do to help me along that path – it might be reading more, it might be doing yoga, or a combination of those things – the end goal is to become a stronger person mentally and physically to be prepared for what is in store for my 40s and 50s. If I want to continue at the speed I’m at, I need to make these changes to make sure that I can do what I want to do.
TW: What would you do if you had unlimited time and money?
ECG: I would go to law school, which is something I am considering. I’m just going to put it out in the universe that I do want to go back to school when I’m 40. I feel like having a law degree or having a medical degree is the best way to have job security in almost any type of market. And if you’re smart, you save money when you are making a lot of it so that you can get through the bad times. I would also like to spend a lot of time with my grandparents and my mother and ease their financial burdens. I would just try to increase the quality of my own life and the quality of the lives of those around me. A lot of my employees have dreams of opening their own companies, and I would love to see them through that. Maybe that’s what I would do if I had unlimited time and money.

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