We had the good fortune of connecting with Diane Montoriol and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diane, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I realized that something as basic and simple as raw chilled soups was missing from the market. I loved to eat them throughout my entire childhood with my grandmother in the south of France. And I longed for them while living in Los Angeles as an adult.

What drove me to create Merci Maman was, and still is, the desire to revolutionize how you can eat soup and derive more benefits for yourself and the planet. I wanted to create a brand that focuses on three ideals of a good nurturing mother. Focusing on the playful aspect that can be part of your healthy eating habits, creating nutritious delicious food that help you grow in many ways, and thinking about your future by reducing waste.

When the pandemic hit and life slowed down I decided to go for it. I had a prior career in management consulting for financial institutions in London and New York for over 10 years, but I did not feel that I was putting my life to best use. I decided to take a leap of faith in myself and I created Merci Maman.

I first introduced the soups at Melrose Place farmers market during the worst time of the pandemic. Samples won’t even allowed.

I put up a canopy at the market and asked people if they thought I should give up my job to make chilled soups. I sold out on day one, and by the end of the second week, I received so much love from customers that I decided to donate my suits, invest in overalls and get cracking with the blender.

What should our readers know about your business?
Our product is unique and unseen anywhere else. We make delicious raw chilled soups. They are vegan, gluten-free and served chilled. They are also fun to eat as they are naturally super bold in colors from the local organic produce.

You can enjoy the chilled soups with or without toppings. Maybe you’ll add your fave diced up veggies, herbs or seeds on top as garnish. Our favorite way to eat them is with some diced up avocado.

You can also pour 2 soup colors into one bowl and create a beautiful swirl. We like to say you can be your own soup artist! And all ages are welcome!

We aim to be a zero-waste company, the soups are packaged in glass jars with a bottle deposit. On your delivery day, you can leave your empty bottles outside and like the milkman in the old days, we will pick them up, count them and credit your online wallet. We figured that if the milkman could do it 20 years ago then everyone should do it today.

The recipes were inspired by my grandmother in the South of France. I spent all my childhood summers at her house. She was very motherly and made me chilled soups from her beautiful vegetable garden almost every day to make sure I got all my vitamins and fibers. The first spoonful was like a poem of flavors coming together, and the colors were so naturally bold it looked like I was eating a bowl of ice cream.

I miss my grandma everyday as she was a formidable human being, and she was my motherly figure. So I decided to recreate her recipes and added a twist of my own to transform chilled soups from just an appetizer to an actual fulfilling meal you can have every day, super healthy delicious, and completely vegan and gluten-free. The soups are never heated so that all the vitamins are retained, and they are very versatile since you can add so many different superfood toppings. It was easy to do this in Los Angeles, with the amazing produce and the Mediterranean-like climate!

You can find us in our favorite stores in Los Angeles, they are listed on our website. But our main platform is online delivery. When you order on our website you get access to many more flavors, bundles, and our curated toppings. And you also get credit back on the empty bottles that you leave at your door on delivery day.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Farmshop in Brentwood – They make each guest feel like the hero. You feel special whether you’re shopping their market, eating at their restaurant, or sitting at the bar. They’ll talk to you like they’ll talk to a friend. They’re also very knowledgeable and always have great recommendations. Every time I am there I learn something new and enchanting! Their gourmet marketplace is curated with the best L.A. local artisans have to offer.

Gjusta in Venice – Whether it’s their restaurant on Abbot Kinney, or they new grocery store on Windward avenue, you’ll be in heaven. This is another magical L.A. spot where quality standards will go beyond your expectations. Grab a few things from there and literally walk across the street to the beach for a picnic!

Hiking is a must in L.A., everywhere you can, both east side and west side, and beaches galore!

Sundays are for farmers markets in the mornings, they are truly magical. And flea markets in the afternoon.

Tokyo town because I love everything Japanese, and I am obsessed with the Kinokuniya bookstore!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Each of these individuals has spared no effort to support us in incredible ways, spontaneously, and without expecting anything in return. I’d like to honor them here. We wouldn’t have made it to where we are today without them. Thank you.

Jack Latner at Lifehouse Tonics
Mel Elias at Bruvi, previously CEO at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Sarah Butler at AtelierSeb
Chef Phuong Tran at Croft Alley
Chef Brian Reimer at Farmshop
Ashlee Margolis at the A List
Lisa Breckenridge at NBC
Lane Nobriga, Courtney Alvarez and Hugo Aguirre, the A Team

Website: www.mercimaman.store

Instagram: @mercimaman

Other: info@mercimaman.store

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.