By Josephine Sun

Chef Nikki is the mother of a 10 year old boy named Leython, named after her business Leython’s Island Plates. Nicole Samuels, better known as Chef Nikki and her husband decided to start their catering business when they saw that there was a need for more diverse food In Central Texas. Her inspiration comes from cooking as a young girl at the age of 9 years old with both of her grandmothers, from getting up every Saturday at 9 am cleaning and cooking, to preparing to help both grandmothers on alternate weekends. One weekend Chef Nikki would be cooking Jamaican food, and the other weekend would be Central American food from Honduras. 

Chef Nikki is a family woman who enjoys spending time with her family and doing fun things with them. She loves to laugh and watch comedy, suspense, horror, and some scientific movies. Nikki loves music, dancing, and having a great time entertaining. She loves creating art in her home or decorating, and enjoys watching food networks, cooking shows, and other cultural meals. Nikki’s passion for Asian cuisine also comes out in her cooking. 

Nikki shares her experience as a client with EGBI.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

My background is very diverse in culture. I want to give my customers food that has a flavor and great herbs, where your stomach is fully satisfied and you can say, “Chef Nikki, that hit the spot!” – a saying my dad would say when the food he ate was good. I cook vegan and gluten-free and all my food has flavor, is tasty and the texture is up to par. I love good quality food, so I cook and prepare meals just as if I was eating it. If it is not up to my standard, I start all over again. That’s how particular I am about food. 

How did you first find out about EGBI?

I found out about EGBI through the Austin Texas business building network. I actually heard one of the employees at EGBI speak and offer their services to any small business owner. That is how I reached out. 

“EGBI is a great organization for any business who needs help or a blueprint to follow through with their business.” CHef Nikki

How did EGBI help your business? What service did you benefit from?

EGBI helped my business by learning more about then bookkeeping with the help of Leonardo. Monica has helped me with marketing and how to utilize Facebook and social media. She gave me pointers on how to use marketing tools for my business, in addition to teaching me how to market my business and cross market. EGBI is a savior to me, because I was losing hope and wanted to give up. After speaking with the employees there, they showed me there is more I can do. I just have to put in the work and accomplish the goals to get our business, seen, heard and gain more traffic. 

Why should people consider supporting an organization like EGBI?

EGBI is a great organization for any business who needs help or a blueprint to follow through with their business. EGBI is a life saver. They have a great team of people who genuinely want to help you. I feel at home, and I don’t feel like I am talking to a stranger – I feel part of their family. I can speak and be open about any issues I may be having.

EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit our website