We sat down with Alison Cayne to learn more about her love of food, her new line of refrigerated sauces (and her favorite Lavva flavor!).
What inspired Haven’s Kitchen?
I’ve always loved to cook and the kitchen has always been my happy place, but until I went back to get my masters at 38, I didn’t really know much about the larger positive impact of home cooking. The more I learned, the more I came to understand that cooking from scratch is good for our personal health, our farmers, and our planet. The more we cook at home, the more we support a sustainable food system. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to make cooking easier, fun and delicious, at first by teaching people how to cook at Haven’s Kitchen and now through our grocery products as well.
What’s your favorite food memory?
I have so many — almost a soundtrack of meals in my life. What stands out most though is moments when a food just tastes exactly like what that food was meant to taste like. I fondly remember my first bite of pistachio ice cream that was real ice cream with real pistachios. I was amazed eating my first strawberry off a vine. In early March, I ate a chicken soup at Majordomo in LA that I’ll never forget.
Who championed you and encouraged you along the way as you were dreaming up Haven’s Kitchen?
My team. I have learned from every single person I’ve worked with. Mostly, they’re supportive and creative and as close to a family as I’ve ever had. But even the people I’ve had conflict with, had to let go or chose to move on — they’ve all contributed to not just the growth of the company, but my personal growth. They made me a better leader and opened my mind up to different points of view and thought processes.
What women inspire you? / Who’s your role model?
I love honest, clear-speaking and empathic female founders like Madeline Haydon of Nutpods, Jeni Brotton Bauer of Jeni’s and Gail Becker of Caulipower. They’re comfortable and honest in their vulnerability, but also you just know are going to make whatever they touch successful. I’m so greatful to have so many amazing women in my life that inspire me as we build our companies together.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for female entrepreneurs?
My son’s soccer coach has an expression, “I don’t lose. I either win or I learn.” It works for 14 year old boys, but it’s also just really true! Every challenge is truly an opportunity to learn something, dig in, and figure out where you could have done better or planned better. You can then make a strategy to avoid the same thing from happening again. It’s uncomfortable. It means being brutally honest with yourself and doing things that don’t come easily for you, but it’s worth it. Be curious, ask questions, and keep learning.
What’s your favorite Lavva flavor?
I remember when we got a bunch of Lavva flavors at work and we were crowded around the kitchen table with spoons — it felt like yogurt Christmas. I’m a strawberry gal all the way, I LOVE it. I also really like the original and vanilla too. Plus blueberry is pretty fab. Actually, I can’t choose!
Haven’s Kitchen line of fresh, globally-inspired sauces has expanded nationally across 400+ Whole Foods along with introducing a brand new sixth flavor – Golden Turmeric Tahini! It is a bright, nutty, creamy and savory sauce made with toasted ground sesame seeds, lemon, turmeric and sumac, retailing for $6.99. The best way to find where Haven’s Kitchen sauces are sold near you is here.