Christina Carr is feeding the people of Portland, one Crossfit gym at a time. Chris' business, Carr Eats, consists of "real, prepared meals that are healthy, taste great, and are fork-ready." Once a week, Chris dominates the Fork kitchen with the amazing smells of paleo-friendly proteins and roasting vegetables, preparing hundreds of meals. An avid Crossfitter, she then distributes the meals to gyms in the Portland area or leaves them for pickup at Fork Food Lab. She sat down with us to chat about how food businesses run in her family!
What was your first job?
I think my first job was at a breakfast place. I assisted the breakfast in the kitchen and in between I would run out to the front and scoop ice cream. It was called Maxy’s in Camp Ellis. I was pretty young, like the youngest you could be - I think it was 14!
Even earlier, I had another job. My parents wouldn’t allow us to have dogs when we were little, but my neighbors had a springer spaniel named Sadie, and I offered to clean their house so that I could play with their dog. I think I was 9 or 10. I would go over with soap and windex and scrub the counter and play with the dog.
How did you get involved with food work?
My family has always owned restaurants in the Saco/Biddeford area. My family runs a sandwich shop in Biddeford. My sister and I used to play at the sandwich shop. We had a little kid picnic table and we’d set it up and sit there and greet people.
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
It’s very rewarding for me to provide a service that actually helps people. In previous jobs, I didn’t feel satisfied in that regard and this fills that void. It’s good to hear people say they love something or that it’s convenient or that they feel better about themselves. That part is really satisfying. It’s great to see people use my meals as a catalyst for making healthier choices.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say my family. My grandmother is probably one of the biggest workhorses ever. She doesn’t work at the family business anymore but she used to pit olives on a stool until she was like, 85. I’m fascinated by small businesses, I love when families are involved with restaurants because it was a part of my childhood and now I have this food obsession.
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
Carr Eats leftovers! I basically eat what I don’t sell - I make extra of everything. If it’s a Monday-Friday, I'm eating some sort of salad. A handful of mixed greens or spinach with Carr Eats leftovers dumped on top. There’s no waste - I can’t throw things away.
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
Right now Eventide is one of my favorite restaurants because I don’t cook a lot of seafood for myself. My boyfriend’s cousin is the kitchen manager there, so we go and eat kitchen creations and drink dirty martinis. I love going for cocktails at Round Turn Distillery, too!