Continuing our International Women’s celebration series of success stories of women breaking free to create a world of their dream.
For 20 years, Sherina was a backing singer for stars such; Kylie, James Morrison and Elton John.
However, last year, Sherina White decided to step out of anyone’s back to be at the centre of her world. She launched her foodie business, Gourmet Dinner Lady (GDL), preparing the most amazing gourmet platters for corporate events, weddings and celebrity parties. Owning to her family food love and her ability to pick up skills from watching friends who are chefs and a few courses here and there. The bottom line is, Sherina knew a enough was enough hanging in the back. ..
Here’s my brief chat with the London chef to look out for. I’m already drooling just looking at the amazing display…
Why did you make the switch?
I knew I had to shift my life, from 21 years as a backing singer to the world’s finest artists including Kylie, Elton John, James Morrison,Florence & The Machine, Gorillaz and Rag N Bone Man, to focus on my teenage children and toddler.
I needed a new career that was challenging. If I became a stay at home mum, it would have had me itching for the tour bus.
So I boarded a plane to LA, took a holiday on my own and worked out what I wanted to do. I didn’t think for a minute about working for someone else, as I wanted the flexibility of being my own boss.
I decided to get some inspiration so I typed in #cheese #gin, as I love both in equal measures into Instagram. Beautiful grazing platters filled the screen. Grazing platters are an easy, healthy, social and visually stunning way to share food. It reminded me of how my big, beautiful family use food as an opportunity to talk, laugh and enjoy one another, with lashings of good food in the middle of the table.
Was there any ‘rock bottom’ situation?
When I look back, I can now see how much confidence I’d lost as a busy, singing mum, focusing on making everyone else look and be better.
But I knew things had to change. When I launched Gourmet Dinner Lady, I hated how fearful and vulnerable I felt just opening a business Facebook page and having business cards printed. I felt under qualified (I had no professional catering experience, despite cooking for parties of up to 100 people for years) and honestly had no clue what I was doing.
The fear of failure and success became vehicles to keep on trying and to trust myself that I was good enough.
How did you discover you had it?
I’d been serving food to large groups regularly at home and the added daily meals for a busy family of 7. As my family all have varying tastes, putting everything on huge boards in the middle of the table seemed like the most sensible way of encouraging the children to try new things, whilst saving on the washing up!
Having been a backing singer for world class acts, I’ve had almost every dining experience you can think of. From street food in Hong Kong, freshly caught fish on boat trips (ok, they were really swanky yachts but no one likes a show off!) in Australia. To posh grub in the most unsuspecting pubs across the world (many ‘off the beaten track’ establishments in the UK) to amazing cuisine in the finest restaurants, fish and chips on beaches, room service in hotels. As well as festival food and tour catering at famous venues, no food has gone untouched or unappreciated.
Transferring these experiences to the Gourmet Dinner Lady platters made perfect sense. I always had style and vibe at the centre of everything I create at GDL. So working out how to balance the boards in terms of colour, texture and taste was the next hurdle, made easier by all the time I spend in the kitchen with my family.
Think of The Gourmet Dinner Lady as two worlds colliding; amazing international foodie experiences via world music tours and the mum cooking, hosting, pouring drinks and enjoying gin…..one dinner service at a time!
Is your skill a family learnt thing?
Family learnt with some key skills courses thrown in for good measure plus lots of time spent with friends who were chefs.
Who have you been cooking for?
Weddings in unusual settings, celebrity parties at their homes (generally the ultra private, high profile celebs), private events, as well as being preferred suppliers for a number of organisations including GoDaddy UK.
How has your life changed stepping out and doing the food business on your own?
Sleeping in my own bed every night is just perfection! Its hard work and certainly longer hours as well as physically taxing. But I wouldn’t replace the challenge and creative outlet, as well as most important time well spent being more present at home, for anything in the world!
I’ve grown in confidence, feel so much more fire in my belly and am ready to dig my heels in to all things GDL. I guess you either stay stagnant in uncertainty or grow into the vision you saw in your mind before sharing your ideas with others. I often doubt myself but I am learning to run towards my dreams with a deep breath and a faith in my ability that silences any fear. Above all of that – I am enjoying myself!