Meet Lauren aka The Cheese Chica
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of years, you already know this Katy mama and boy is it always fun to cheer her on and shine a spotlight on her. Lauren Sotomayor is best known as The Cheese Chica. Her platform, her educational classes, and appearances on Houston Life keep us smiling ear to ear and our mouths continuously watering.
No one knows cheese like this woman – she knows how to throw down with her charcuterie boards, and her ‘anyone can do it’ recipes make us all feel like a hero when bringing her dishes to celebrations. Even her beautiful daughter Eden gets in on the fun with her ‘Eating With Eden’ special. Her Halloween rice crispy treats are a hit at our house!
Lauren is a true entrepreneur, starting her business from scratch during the pandemic when she realized people likely missed gathering and grazing on cheese boards as much as she did. She was right! Selling her cheese boards in her community has turned into a successful business, a social media following of over 13k, local tv appearances, and classes where she teaches others how to do what she does.
Above all else, Lauren knows not one stranger. You meet her and she instantly feels like sunshine and like a lifelong best friend. She truly loves people, loves community, and building up other women. She’s been a Katy Moms Network cheerleader from the beginning and it’s always meant so much. It’s the biggest blessing to be able to cheer her on right back!
We are so excited to give the floor to Lauren today – chatting all things motherhood and of course all things cheese. See our full interview with the queen of cheese below and be sure to follow along with her journey if you’re not already!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
It’s hard to say where “I’m from” because I’ve truly lived everywhere! Born in Germany (Army brat) but spent the majority of my childhood in New York and Massachusetts. We moved to Houston in 1997- from there I lived in South Carolina, DC, and California before heading back to Texas in 2013.
You’re a mama to sweet Eden- how old is she and what’s your favorite part about being her mom?
Eden is my six year old SPITFIRE. Her personality is absolutely infectious and she is BY FAR my favorite person to spend time with. She loves so big, she makes me laugh a hundred times a day, and her happy heart just brings so much joy into mine.
Favorite local things to do in the Houston area?
I could come up with some cute and fun answer but the God’s honest truth to this is EAT! Our area has some of the best food scenes in the country for sure. TexMex and Margs. BBQ. Thai food. Vietnamese food. Food trucks from EVEYWHERE. Breweries and wineries. When it comes to food and drink, Katy really nails it!
What is your go-to activity for yourself for pampering or for fun?
My favorite 45 minutes for myself a day are at Evolve Lagree. I recently took a 5 month hiatus during a busy work season, and it effected my mood, my health, and my body so much. It’s so cliché but the mental break, even just for that short time, is worth every penny!
Give us your best mom hack that makes life easier.
Let that sh*t go. Can I say that here? I am type-A to the extreme but I’ve learned that my life, and my daughter’s, is SO MUCH BETTER if I relinquish control for certain things. For someone who grew up a perfectionist, it’s surprising to see that I let her do her own school projects start to finish (with my help and assistance). She wants to decorate for her party herself? Have at it. She wants to make the bed and do horribly? Have at it. She recently has started making and bringing me my coffee in bed and, once I get past having to wipe the drips off of the floor, it’s absolute heaven.
OK, let’s talk cheese. Did you always have a gift for making a good cheese board/grazing table and entertaining?
My love affair with cheese started when I was a toddler! I used to walk around singing “Cheeeeese! Glorioussss Cheese!” (most likely from a commercial) and my parents reminded me of it all of the time! Throwing together some cheese, meat, and crackers has always been my go-to appetizer, even before charcuterie boards became a big deal. Perusing cheese aisles and gourmet markets has always been my idea of fun! I LOVE food and sharing it with people I love, so paired with my event planning background this all came together really organically for me.
When did you officially launch your business and what’s been the biggest blessing in it all?
In August of 2020, I just really missed fancy cheeseboards. Events were still on hold, restaurants were still not at capacity with full menus, and my husband was still not traveling for work. All of my “cheese for dinner” nights had fallen to the wayside and I MISSED them- and figured others must too. I started just selling and delivering personal sized cheeseboards and boxes door to door to give everyone their “fix” and it’s taken off from there. The blessing of this business has evolved so much in the past two and a half years. From a creative outlet to a financial contribution to the relationships I’ve made, The Cheese Chica has brought so much into my life.
You have a background in event planning- what did you do before launching your business?
I had to slow down the wedding and event planning after I had my daughter as I had a traveling husband and those hours are so difficult to manage with a baby/toddler. Starting my own business on my OWN timeframe and terms gave me the outlet I had been missing while still allowing me to be the full-time mom I had to be.
Favorite cheese? Yes, you have to answer.
I cannot pick ONE favorite because there are SO many types, so I’ll give you three categories:
Soft cheese: Burrata
Aged: Aged Gouda (at least a year- 1000 days is SUPERB)
Other: Esquirrou (sheeps milk cheese made in France)
Love your recipes and cooking tips – what’s your favorite dish to cook for the fam?
Cooking is my passion! Eden would say any of my pastas and my husband would say my crock pot green chili pork!
Best advice for mamas wants to launch into their own business?
Just do it. There will be hurdles and struggles and lots of growing pains, but once you realize you have the freedom to QUIT whenever you’d want, it makes the climb seem easier.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Being a mother has shifted my perspective on so much. Honestly, I’d just say to keep doing exactly what I was doing. I tell Eden all of the time “mistakes only become problems if you don’t try to fix them” and I think any of the “mistakes” I made along the way only helped me to grow and change into the woman I am now.
Who inspires you most in motherhood?
There is not enough space on this page for this answer! My own mom sits at the top of the list. She was a stay at home mom my entire childhood, went “back to work” in a completely different career when I was 14, and is still a boss babe at work while juggling Mimi duties among her seven grandbabies! But this whole community inspires me DAILY. I don’t see the point in moms comparing each other; I’m in awe of the Pinterest moms, the full time working moms, the mothers of multiples, the special needs moms, the entrepreneur moms, and the hot mess moms every single day. We all do the best we can do and the best for OUR children and it’s so incredible to cheer for each other.
Future plans and hopes for your business?
If only I had an answer for this but my goals for TCC change day by day! The one constant, there will ALWAYS be cheese.