This beautiful, southern girl got her start deep in the heart of Texas. As a mother of three, she wanted to find a way to help her children live a better quality of life, especially her son, Tyler, who was born with Cystic Fibrosis. She found that help by creating and preparing convenient vegan and vegetarian meals using whole foods.
After inviting friends and family into her “test” kitchen to try her creations, she quickly recognized there was a high demand for convenient healthy food options. With encouragement from family and friends, Chef Cynthia began making plans to establish a fast food company that offered healthy and tasty vegan and vegetarian foods.
Chef Cynthia, the cousin to Grammy award winning gospel recording artist Tamela Mann, who is also known for great cooking and baking; infuses her southern roots and her family’s love of art into her meal creations. She carefully sources and selects local produce and ingredients from organic farmers and suppliers. She only selects the best organic or responsibly grown whole ingredients for her recipes – from her Italian Po’ Boy sandwich and Soulgood Street Tacos, to her homemade vegan cupcakes affectionately called Fruitcups.
After her then 16-year old son, Tyler, was added to the UNOS organ transplant list in 2010, Chef Cynthia began studying biology, chemistry, and the benefits of eating whole organic foods to help prolong Tyler’s life while he waited for life-saving organs. During this time, she began feeding friends and executives in the healthcare field who marveled at how closely her delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes tasted like traditional meals made with meat. Encouraged by the growing demand and her son’s need for healthy foods, Chef Cynthia launched Soulgood in 2012 and opened her first organic, vegan and vegetarian fast food food truck in November 2016.
“I believe food can be thy medicine, but doesn’t have to taste like cardboard.” ~Chef Cynthia
In 2013, Chef Cynthia published her first art and cookbook entitled Soulful Vegetarian Cooking: A Southern Girl’s Meaty Love Affair and Journey to Natural Foods” on Instagram. In 2014, Chef Cynthia was recruited for CNBC’s Restaurant Startup and featured on Harry Connick, Jr.’s nationally syndicated television show “Harry” on March 27, 2017. In addition to managing Soulgood Food Truck and Catering, Chef Cynthia also hosts entertaining vegetarian and vegan cooking classes at colleges and farmers markets across Dallas/Fort Worth.
When she’s not in the kitchen creating new recipes, Cynthia is Senior Partner with Integrality and an Alumni Manager for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Dallas, TX. She also serves as a mentor for United Way’s GroundFloor Accelerator program and serves as a Crowdfunding Strategist for ThinkCrowdFund.com.
“My first love was cooking while creating art with whole foods for my children to eat and appreciate. It’s where I would find peace and serenity from hectic days at hospitals with my son, in board rooms in the technology field and life as a single mother. If I didn’t eat healthy and eat whole foods I wouldn’t have the stamina to work 12 – 14 hour days and be the mom I want to be for my children.” ~Chef Cynthia
Tyler Nelson, who inspired and invested into Soulgood, transitioned on July 23, 2015, at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, TX, due to transplant complications. He was 21 years old. Tyler’s legacy, investment and faith that his mother could improve lives through love, food and laughter continues in the mission of this company. Our mission is to save people, animals and the planet one plate at a time. Why? Because #yourhealthmatters.