Owensboro woman follows passion, starts charcuterie board business

August 8, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated August 8, 2022 | 12:17 am

Shannon Yates’ love for charcuterie boards began a few years ago when she and family went to a restaurant that served charcuterie. Noticing the quality of meats and unusual artisan cheese, she loved how, by pairing different items, the flavor combinations were endless.

“I have never had charcuterie elevated above just cheese and crackers or a small spread of fun snacks,” she said.

Yates and her sister, along with both of their husbands, discussed which combinations they enjoyed and which they believed were “the perfect bite.”

When Yates returned home, she was excited to share her discovery with friends. While her boards did not look as pretty as the one she had had in Ohio, she loved how the flavor combinations could be showcased and discussed. 

“As I experimented with the boards, I loved how they could become little works of art,” she said. “I started paying attention to how I arranged them and loved making them look as good as they tasted.”

Yates has been making them for friends for the last 4 years and, since having her son Silas last year, she has decided to form Gather & Graze, her charcuterie board business.

“Anyone who has ever tried to create a charcuterie board on their own knows how expensive and time-consuming it is to make a good one,” she said. 

When creating a board for a customer, she always asks if there are special requests or dietary needs, something she can accommodate easily. 

She likes to begin by picking the cheese and chooses brands she trusts. Most boards have a hard, soft, and “safe” cheese — something everyone likes, Yates said. If there is room, she will add a sweeter cheese and an unusual cheese that might not be a familiar option. 

“Variety is the fun of charcuterie,” she said.

Next, she chooses meats, most of which are imported from Italy or other high-quality places.

Accompaniments such as fresh fruits and vegetables, specialty condiments, nuts, olives and pickles are also added.

“I make a lot of these homemade, so I always include my personal touch,” Yates said. “A lot of time, love, and hard work goes into every single board I create.”

Yates said  the most exciting and daunting part of creating the board is the beginning.

“It’s like a blank slate that I know will have a delicious and beautiful ending,” she said. “My goal is to help people be able to enjoy a top-notch charcuterie board while keeping the price as reasonable as possible. Charcuterie should be something that everyone can enjoy, even if they don’t want to go to the store and buy a long list of ingredients.”

Yates enjoys cooking and creating delicious foods, and she believes her passion has just evolved and gotten stronger. 

“I always joke that my ‘love language’ is food,” Yates said. “I love to feed people and share good food with the people I love. This business allows me to do both.”

Yates said that her price list is just a starting point and that she loves to work with people to create custom boards. She also does graze tables and individual boxes for large groups.

For information about Gather & Graze, visit her Facebook or Instagram pages for contact information.

August 8, 2022 | 12:10 am

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