A Unique Table

02/01/2023 02:43 AM By Lisa Anderson
The Chews Letter
Sabrina Lewis
Sabrina Lewis
Story by Cynthia McFarland • Photos by Joshua Jacobs

A Unique Table

Charcuterie Stylist Creates Memorable Events

The pandemic turned life upside down for many business owners, but for Sabrina Lewis, the year 2020 saw a dream become reality.

Born in South Florida, Sabrina, along with her family, moved to Ocala in the mid-1990s. After graduating from Lake Weir High School in 2007, she moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida, where she majored in elementary education.

After college, Sabrina began her teaching career in Hillsborough County. “I taught for five or six years. I loved the children and loved mentoring, but a life goal of mine was always time freedom,” says Sabrina.

Different Path

A major life change occurred when her mother passed away in December 2016. Sabrina was still reeling with grief when her principal told her she either needed to take a leave of absence or come back to work.

“Someone was putting a timeline on my grief, and that was significant for me,” recalls Sabrina. “My teacher friends were there for me and were loving and supportive. I decided to finish the last part of the year for the kids and never went back.”

In February 2017, while still teaching elementary school, Sabrina took an online position teaching English to Chinese students through the program VIPKid.

She loved working from home and still savored the satisfaction of teaching.

“The best thing about it was diving into their culture,” says Sabrina. “Their dedication to learning was powerful to watch. Every home had multiple generations of people living there; grandparents were often learning English along with their grandchildren.”

Sabrina worked with the program until December 2019. During that time, she began another avenue of teaching that led directly to her current business, Graze and Prosper.

Her sister told her about a coffee shop in Wildwood that was offering charcuterie workshops and needed a teacher. Sabrina landed the position. “I am a lifelong learner and very resourceful, so I took to ‘YouTube University’ for a couple weeks to gather all the important details about cheese before teaching my first workshop,” says Sabrina.

The once-a-month workshops were a great success, but after COVID-19 hit, those in-person classes were cancelled. At the same time, the owner announced she was closing the coffee shop where workshops were held.

Faced with a major decision, Sabrina did market research and realized Ocala would be an ideal location for a mobile charcuterie business. “My friend Shannon Schaeffer, who owns Empowered Autism, in Ocala, helped me brand the business with a logo and create an online storefront. I launched Graze and Prosper in October 2020, right in the thick of COVID,” says Sabrina.

She only did about $500 in sales those first few months because of the pandemic, but she had faith the business would grow.

Grow it did. By March 2021, Graze and Prosper was rocking and rolling.

Edible Works of Art

The business specializes in Sabrina’s signature charcuterie boards and tables, created onsite wherever the client requests.

“I thought holidays were going to be my business, but it’s more showers, cocktail hours, and corporate parties,” says Sabrina.

It’s not your typical charcuterie board; Sabrina creates edible works of art. Photographs of her spreads are impressive but don’t do justice to the actual presentations.

“My favorite part is the food styling. It’s a meditative art piece. I kind of zone in and just create,” says Sabrina. “Every table is different. No two are totally the same, and I think that’s what’s unique.”

Although every board/table includes meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, nuts, dips and jams, and crackers and breads, the varied arrangements result in a different eating experience every time.

In addition to creating amazing charcuterie boards and tables for events, Sabrina also teaches charcuterie workshops. “I still get my education fix, but I’m teaching adults now, not kids. The people in these workshops want to be there, and they soak up the information. They leave so empowered,” says Sabrina. “Everybody wants to create this beautiful spread but doesn’t know the tips and tricks, so I enjoy teaching them.”

Because Graze and Prosper doesn’t have a storefront option, workshops are typically hosted at the client’s home or a business.

Beginning while in college, Sabrina spent about 15 years working in the service industry and is grateful for that experience. “The restaurant industry has shaped my business,” she says. “I think that’s the foundation of who I am in my business today. I pride myself on my customer service and connection with clients.”

Sabrina’s son Zion, 7, and daughter India, 4, often help their mom with business tasks. “They are my begrudging helpers; they only help me because I reward them with ice cream and 10-dollar bills,” she laughs.

Although self-employment comes with plenty of challenges, Sabrina appreciates the flexibility that allows her to be present at her kids’ activities. “I’m never bored,” she adds. “My schedule lets me stay creative and ever-changing.”

Sabina admits she’s secretly an introvert. The irony of this is that her favorite part of business is connecting with people, while making their showers, parties, weddings, and events more memorable.

“I get to ‘do life’ with my clients,” she says. “I’m invited to become an intimate part of their special moments, and I take a lot of pride and care in that.”
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