Liz Reitman

5 min | Leadership & Management Musings

Founders in Focus with Rowena Scherer

A Conversation between Liz Reitman and Rowena Scherer, Founder, President and Chef at eat2exploreTM

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We’re back with another conversation for REIT’s Founders in Focus series, featuring Rowena Scherer, fellow Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member and founder, president, and chef at eat2exploreTM. eat2exploreTM is the only award-winning experiential cooking kit designed to bring cultural education alive through the exploration of world cuisines. Liz and Rowena sit down to chat about entrepreneurship, mentorship, and navigating life as business owners, parents, and women.

Liz Reitman: Hello everyone. I’m Liz Reitman and I’m super excited to have Rowena Sherer here, the founder of eat2exploreTM, on REIT’s latest Founders in Focus series. I love always love having female entrepreneurs here, learning their stories, and understanding about the balance, as we all know, is a constant struggle. Rowena and I have talked a lot about our children many times, [and today, we’ll] hear some [of her] best practices and the cool things she’s doing with her business. So thanks for being here; I really appreciate it.

Rowena Scherer: Thanks, Liz, for having me. I’m super excited.

Natasha Cucullo: Rowena, thank you for being here. We’re really excited to have you.

Let's start off by asking you to share what eat2explore offers?

Rowena: So eat2exploreTM is an award-winning food and culture experience in a box. We want to inspire families and kids to learn about different cultures, different world history, music, and art while making a meal together. It’s sort of a family connection and a family activity, but it’s a lot more than just the experience of it; you’re really immersed into a country in the comfort of your own kitchen.

So it sounds like eat2explore centers food, culture and family time, all while encouraging applicable skill building for children and families. Could you talk a little bit more about how you weave your values into your business?

Rowena: Sure. So I grew up in Malaysia and one of the things my mom made us do growing up was every Sunday we cleaned our room and then we made a meal together. And I never thought about it much until I had my own children. And of course, living in New York, you’re busy, you’re working, you’re a mom. You’re trying to balance it all, to say the least.

What brought me to the States was my work on Wall Street for many, many years; and I built a career out of it. It was great. But you know, it didn’t feed my soul, right? So I’m like, “Okay, what do I want to do next? What do I love?”

So what started eat2exploreTM was a cooking class in Thailand with my kids; they were younger then – like 9 or 12 – and they were looking at me like, “Mom, what do you want me to do with this onion?” And I was so disappointed with myself because when I was their age, I was making a meal for my family and for myself! But because I had not given them the opportunity to try to make mistakes, to get lost in the kitchen…they had no idea what to do, right?

So I felt like because of eat2exploreTM, I ended up teaching [and learning with my kids]. We went through all the recipes; before we launched, I tested every [meal] Sunday with them and they [helped] build it. Now [at] Thanksgiving, we cook together. So I assign them. I say, “You’re doing the starter, you’re doing the dessert”. So everyone has a role. And then we pop champagne and we just love it. It’s so fun.

Liz: I love that. You know, one thing I can say is, I’ve really pushed myself to cook more frequently [over] the past couple of years.  I’ve found it’s such a bonding experience with my son – he’s 21. I mean, he’s an eating machine, he’s always hungry. [laughs] And what I discovered was that when I would cook with him, and we prepared a meal together, we would have the best conversations! So I completely see the value in what you’ve created…and then adding a layer of learning about another culture? It’s just brilliant. I wish you would have been around when my kids were young.

Rowena: I have two kids and I know you only have a tender ten years to bond with them; and then ten years where you’re going to lose them and then you’re going to have them back again. Right? So you want to make the most of that time with them. I know life is busy and life is tough, right? But if you push yourself and say, this is what I want to do with my family once a weekend, right? Put the music on. Everyone has a role. It is such food for your soul. Like it’s so much fun and connection. You’re really getting your hands dirty. My mission is really I want to educate the next generation about the world and be global citizens through food.

Beautiful. So what I'm hearing is that family has really influenced your business. Has it come up for you in other ways that aren't so direct?

Liz: — Like impacting how you build a business, or your time, or decision making, or when you chose to launch.

Rowena: You know, I really think I wouldn’t have been able to launch eat2exploreTM 20 years ago. There are multiple facets, right? My kids, when I started, they were about to go to high school…so when I started getting busy, they [were] really at the time where they don’t need me. Right? And frankly, as my husband said, they’re better off. Because at some point you’ve got to let them grow up and you don’t want to do that while they’re in college, right?

Liz: You know, it’s funny Rowena, I’m kind of the opposite in terms of, I started reitdesign when I was 24. Craziness, right? So for my kids, this is all they’ve ever known; they’ve always known mom as the worker. But what I found with my children is I made it a point to always be home for dinner. And I know for myself, I think that I made reitdesign more of a lifestyle business because it was really important for me to be able to be home for my family and not travel a ton. And I made [certain] decisions because I knew that I wanted to be there for them.

What aspects of your career, business life, whatever you want to share, make you feel proud?

Rowena: You know, I think my philosophy in life is you never know ‘til you ask, and you should always push yourself. I never settle. I’m always asking, “What’s next? How to do this? What to try?” And I think that keeps me on my toes, keeps me young, keeps me wanting to learn. One thing I always say, I’ve been married for 28 years, and we were married right after college, but what keeps us going is we both are hungry to learn. We’re always growing in the same direction and we’re not stagnant. I think that’s important. Life is never to stop learning.

Liz: I love that. I think for me, it’s been about relationships. I’ve been really proud that majority of my clients have been with me on average of 10 years. I think I took that for granted. When I’ve talked to people in sales, they’ll exclaim, “Do you know how crazy that is? That’s a long time to stay with the same client”. And it’s always been important to me, but it’s not just my clients. It’s also been my team. I’ve been really proud of where my designers have gone on for their next jobs. I’ve always sort of cultivated young talent and to watch them go onto huge jobs, [make] really big leaps…that’s made me really proud. So I just feel like the relationships that I’ve established have really made me proud.

I feel like that's full circle! We have relationships, we have learning, and we have food. And those, I think, are the secret sauces of life.

Liz: Agree. Love it. Thank you, Rowena.

Rowena: Thank you, Liz. Thank you, Natasha. Awesome.


eat2exploreTM is the only award-winning experiential cooking kit designed to bring cultural education alive through the exploration of world cuisines. Founder, Rowena Scherer, decided to take the things she treasures the most – family, food, travel, and education – and create an opportunity for all children to discover cuisines from around the world. Following her time at the French Culinary Institute, she began to source hard-to-find and nonperishable ingredients to highlight locally cherished foods. She also built a team of trusted educators around eat2exploreTM to transform the cooking experience into an educational journey. The result is an explorer box filled with authentic recipes, activities, and collectibles that offer a one-of-a-kind, award-winning cultural education through food exploration. eat2exploreTM is not just about putting another meal on the table; it’s about carving out time for family, learning tangible cooking skills, exploring world cuisine & cultures, and cultivating sustainable consumption habits at an early age.