We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Romero-Jablow and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Natalie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Well The Lemons Theory came about out of a need to make the most of a difficult situation. We were all starting to realize quarantine wasn’t going anywhere and navigating restrictions was going to be a new way of life. Truly a struggle for someone like me. A former chef, who loved the LA food scene and hosted at least one dinner party a week. In quarantine I still had milestones to celebrate, craved new experiences, and wanted to find safe ways to see select friends. For a dear friend’s birthday I surprised her with a lush adult tea party in the park. It was just the two of us, social distanced, had fun food and drinks, and most importantly looked magical. I knew it was a hit by her reaction, not to mention the number of people who curiously stopped by to inquire about it. But it was my now business partner, friend, and talented chef Manouschka Guerrier, who had the “aha” moment. Manouschka approached me with a vision to take it to the next level and create a business around this. After all, we aren’t the only ones who are struggling with the new normal. Life had surely handed us a whole lot of lemons, but here we are uniquely qualified to make lemonade out of it. We wasted no time getting started. We used Manouschka’s upcoming birthday as our first test run. A gorgeous bohemian beach picnic. It was stressful, tiring, expensive, but once we saw the look on friends faces made it all more than worth it. We knew we had something. We needed to recreate this experience for other people. Whether at the beach with a few friends or in a backyard with family, everyone needs a little wonder and magic in their lives.

What should our readers know about your business?
I find that the business is very much a reflection of the two us. Because we jumped into this business heart and soul, it is the accumulation of our unique experiences that sets us apart. While we did not invent the idea of luxury picnics, this was not an industry that either of us were aware of. Manouschka and I are two women of color, and it seems our reach has introduced a new audience to this experience. We have received tremendous support, not only from the broad spectrum of communities in the LA area, but have even had guests fly in from across the U.S. for the experience. We are both chefs but from very different paths. Manouschka is a private chef to the stars, whose connections have been an invaluable asset to our business. While I have devoted the majority of my culinary career to non-profit work. Working in non-profit there isn’t enough money to staff properly so you have to wear many hats. From running kitchens and providing free meals, to developing programing and teaching so that deserving individuals can get a fresh start in the culinary field. One of those hats was teaching and proctoring exams for safety and sanitation certifications. Every six weeks I would go over all of the possible ways food and food surfaces could become contaminated, and how we can control for that. This extensive knowledge has helped shape our own safety and sanitation protocols. We are extremely focused on keeping our clients safe and happy. Luckily both of our paths intersected when it came to connections with the cities best chefs and restaurants. We are now able to leverage these relationships to offer our clientele unique and delicious culinary experiences. All while offering much needed support to our local restauranteurs. It is an unprecedented time in history and although we certainly don’t know where this road will lead. For now we believe in doing our best to spread wonder and magic in our clients lives.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For the first stop I would have to set up a luxe picnic at Malibu, Point Dume. Lots of throw blankets, pillows, a teepee tent, and light charcuterie snacks. After watching the sun set over crashing waves, pack up and walk over to The Sunset Restaurant for a bottle of champagne, mussels, and a damn good burger. Next I would make a reservation for us to do a tasting tour at The Lost Spirits Distillery in the Arts District. It is a fascinating place where you get to nerd out on the spirit making process and trip out on the dark whimsy of the environment. It’s not something I would like to ruin with too much information but it is described as the “Willy Wonka” of distilleries. After that, head a few blocks over to Pizzanista for an incredible slice of pizza, and then over to the Everson Royce Bar to keep the party going. Catch a show! For example, there was the time that For the Record: The Brat Pack was performing in the small 80’s themed speakeasy, Break Room 86. Outstanding talent, fun environment, drinks, and cast sing along in the secret karaoke room. This is all happening in Koreatown’s The Line Hotel where we would later have reservations at Openaire Restaurant. Do a little good and enjoy a gourmet meal. We would get tickets to one of the latest Billy Harris Dinner Series events. These events put you in the best dining seats in the country and help raise money for important causes. The dinner also attracts impressive celebrity hosts that keep the night lively and fun. Attend a sporting event. As a LA soccer fan and LAFC season ticket holder we would have to attend a home game. The energy of the fans and thrill of the match is all so contagious. We would go early to tailgate at Christmas Tree Lane to spend time with other fans. Go in and watch our team play, sing some chants, and celebrity watch. And then over to the top deck of the stadium, to celebrate our victory at the Sunset Club. Its a beautiful spot where you can enjoy gorgeous LA views, live DJ’s, and a cool rooftop bar atmosphere.

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?
Choosing one person to Shoutout incredibly difficult given the amount of support showered on us from our village. However, allow me take this opportunity to Shoutout Jenni Hwang. Jenni is an incredible talent and a fierce supporter of other businesses. Without her gorgeous photography we would have never been able to get the word out on our luxury picnics. And Jenni’s mentorship has helped guide us in new directions for our business growth.

Website: www.thelemonstheory.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/thelemonstheory
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thelemonstheory.com

Image Credits
Jenni Hwang, Alison Deyette

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.