The Series: Multiculturalism Impacts Business
Shannon Coleman: Recreating Memories with Meals
Shannon is no stranger to challenges and trying out new things. From the age of 15, she gleefully took up experimenting with meal preparation for her siblings. It did not matter that she had to climb on a stool and lean over the stove to get a good job done. She introduced her own twists on recipes to get specific flavours and tastes. She was excited to impress her Mum and Grand mum having observed them cook delicious meals for years. Her experiments
Twelve years ago, when Shannon was ready to go back to work after raising her kids, her passion and heritage propelled her to a choice. This is the story of how Indulgence Fine Foods and Catering started.
Shannon Coleman is enthusiastic about making an impact in the area of food. Her eyes light up as she shares her vision of using food to create memories. “I observe the thrill in people’s eyes when they see their traditional ethnic foods on the menu. I use many vintage dishes and I have had guests walk up to me excitedly say ‘Oh your dishes remind me of my Mum’, or I have not eaten this dessert for years and you just made me remember home’. There is nothing more flattering than seeing the pleasure and excitement in those eyes”.
Her involvement with food as a means to stir many cultural memories started when the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) team approached Shannon to cater at its Multicultural Honours event. Part of the requirement was ability and willingness to prepare ethnocultural foods as authentically as possible. Prior to this time, Shannon’s menu list for events consisted of meals she had seen and prepared from generation to generation. When asked if this threw her off balance, she said, “I was not scared; I knew I would take the business and did not doubt my ability. Like every new adventure, however, I worried about access to authentic ingredients, and wondered if I had the right utensils in my kitchen. Modern technology has given me access to online recipes and preparation steps. The MCoS team also makes the experience pleasurable by supplying me pictures of food items, so I know what the final product should look like”.
According to Rhonda Rosenberg, Executive Director, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan “our events bring people together and create opportunities to learn. We know that sharing food is an excellent way to open doors to communication. We try to reflect the diversity of our community in the foods we serve at formal and informal gatherings. This creates a sense of belonging and comfort, as well as the adventure of trying something new. We have been working with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office to host Multicultural Honours, often at Government House in Regina. Since 2013, we have had the pleasure of working with Shannon Coleman and Indulgence Fine Foods. She has demonstrated curiousity, respect, and willingness to adapt to reflect the many cultures in our community in her business. This is an illustration of the stream of integration, and supports cultural continuity and celebration of diversity. Shannon values creating delicious delicacies to share in moments that bring us together, make us stronger, and creates understanding”.
The knowledge and skills Shannon has acquired have allowed her to grow in meaningful ways. Her confidence to cater for other business and private multicultural audiences has buoyed. “I now use these recipes in my home all the time. I confidently cater for business meetings with diverse ethnic groups,” she explained.
The decision to take up this business challenge has brought great joy to Shannon. In her search for authentic ingredients, she has become a known face at local ethnic stores. It is common to see someone wave at her or call her name as she meets people who have been guests at events Indulgence Fine Foods catered. Building relationships is always rewarding.
Shannon’s creativity extends from the kitchen to crafts. She loves painting, though she is quick to say, “Oh no, I am not a great painter” with a chuckle. She also loves making jewellery. The next time you are at an event beautifully catered by Shannon and Indulgence Fine Foods, check out her necklace to see one of her amazing creations.
Shannon’s days begin early – starting with “catering” for her two dogs. Then, she takes time for herself and to plan her day. In addition to cooking for people, she loves taking long walks, art, watching television, skiing, spending time with family and friends, and travelling. Mexico, especially Playa del Carmen and Mazatlán, is Shannon’s favourite holiday destination. All of these contribute to a full life guided by Shannon Coleman’s core values of love, respect, and understanding.