Charcuterie, cheese and more with YaYaYum Boards founder Ayesha Patel

Mar 23 2020

If you take the impeccable at-home entertaining style of Martha Stewart and mix it with the approachable culinary know-how of any Food Network star, you have YaYaYum Boards, the Southlake-based custom charcuterie and cheese board company famous for its photogenic spreads. Founded by Ayesha Patel, the biz was born out of passion. She had just graduated college with a degree in business marketing — and rather than settle for a nine-to-five desk job, she decided to launch her own company. Today, YaYaYum offers custom cheese boards and charcuterie spreads for delivery throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. On top of it all, Ayesha (a self-proclaimed food stylist) teaches classes — including one at Market by Macy's! — on how to create your own DIY platters, from picking the perfect snacks to the lesser-known importance of cutting cheese. Here, we talk food, fun and entrepreneurship with the woman behind the yummiest, prettiest plates in town.

Q.
What is your day job?
A.

I am grateful to say that YaYaYum Boards is my full-time job. There is so much that goes into the business beyond just making cheese boards. I have learned so much in the past few months in regards to building a business, creating a brand and growing my relationships with other businesses. I am very excited to see how much more it can grow in the future!

Q.
Great obsessions?
A.

Brunch. Cooking. Nature. Sunsets. Aesthetically pleasing environments — like Market by Macy’s!

Q.
Three of your favorite cheeses?
A.

That is a very hard question. I love all cheese! Some of my specific favorites are a triple crème brie like St. Angel; a mild goat cheese like Drunken Goat; and anything spicy and creamy like a hatch chile cheddar.

Q.
Surprising must-haves that add a delicious boost to any spread?
A.

Honey or honeycomb! A lot of people don’t realize honeycomb is edible — and often people don’t know what to do with honey when it is presented on a board. Honey is actually the best “spread” for cheese in my opinion. It compliments and enhances any cheeses flavor so well!

Dried Fruit — like apricots and figs — are always a great pairing with sweeter cheeses opposed to charcuterie. People don’t often think about dried fruit, but when they try it they love it!

Chocolate goes so well with cheese. I always love including it on boards. Chocolate paired with a gorgonzola balances out the sweet and savory all in one perfect bite. I personally love using dark chocolate bars, with either nuts or hints of fruit in them.

Q.
Favorite local spot to stock up on charcuterie board essentials?
A.

Jimmy’s Food Store in Dallas is a great local Italian grocery market that has delicious and authentic charcuterie.

Market Tip: Jimmy’s is currently open offering its quality foods, groceries and to-go orders.

Q.
Food styling tips?
A.

Think of making a charcuterie board as if you were making a collage. Always try to add a variety of different textures, shapes and colors and space them out so nothing is clashing with each other

Always make sure you leave your cheese out for 45 minutes before serving. Cheese reaches its maximum flavor at room temperature.

Don’t overflow your board with crackers. Leave that space for more colorful items. Always have a cracker plate on the side!

Q.
Favorite local restaurants?
A.

Dallas has such great food it’s hard to pick! I’d say some of my favorites are Uchi, North Italia, Sushi Zen and Cane Rosso.

Q.
Tried-and-true tips for at-home entertaining?
A.

Inform your guests on what type of items you have on your board — and always cut your cheeses! Cheese boards can often be seen as unapproachable. By simply cutting the first slice of cheese off the wedge for them, they are more likely to serve themselves.

Q.
Your essential cheese-board items?
A.

I always have to have a creamy brie on the board. Definitely small bowls to hold jam and honey. Herbs and edible flowers are always a great touch to elevate the board!

Q.
What sparked you to start your own business?
A.

This past May, I graduated college with a degree in business marketing and no idea what I wanted to do. I was doing what a new graduate was supposed to be doing – interviewing for entry-level desk jobs and hoping to find something stable and relatively interesting. A little after graduation, I created a cheese spread for a friend’s graduation party and I had never felt more lively than I did at that moment: cutting cheeses and creating a collage of food, while people watched and were amazed at the process. Granted, I had no idea what I was doing compared to now and the cheese board was mediocre, to say the least.

This business has become a mix of all my passions into one project — food, design and marketing. I’m eternally grateful to have found a passion I never knew I had and I’m excited to see how much more it can grow.

Q.
How are you handling your biz during a time of social distancing?
A.

We are still offering delivery of our boards. We are really emphasizing our minis ($45) and smalls ($110), which are the perfect treat to have for an at-home happy hour while you are cooped up. We are offering no-contact delivery, meaning we will drop your board off at your specified location and we will text you when it is delivered. Our delivery rates include free delivery on all orders above $60 and a discounted delivery rate for orders less than $60.

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