Rita LeMoine’s life changed drastically at the end of 2019, when she found herself needing to find new employment and had no idea which direction she wanted to go in. She ended up doing something that she never dreamed she would travel and says she credits God for putting her on this path.

LeMoine was asked to bring food for a ladies' retreat. She made several meals, which included frittatas, soup and salad, and an alfredo dish. The ladies at the retreat were more than pleased. On another occasion, she took food to a family who had suffered a loss and once again found the comments on her cooking to be surprising and welcomed.

Word spread quickly about her talent in the kitchen and she began to receive requests for meals.

“Initially, I did not want to charge for the meals, only for the cost of the food itself,” said LeMoine. “I had never thought about making food and selling it. Next thing I knew, I was researching how to charge for my meals and taking more and more orders for meals.”

LeMoine said there is a lot involved in starting up a catering business, such as securing kitchen space that meets health department codes and creating a menu.

“I knew that I wanted to include Cuban and Italian dishes and food that would be decadent, but yet light,” said LeMoine. “I also wanted to offer gluten-free meals and other healthy options.”

The path she took led her to opening Rita’s Cocina Delivery & Catering. Her new business affords her the opportunity to share dishes such as her chicken meatballs with coconut alfredo sauce over Jasmine rice, one of her gluten-free options. “A customer favorite is my lemon parmesan chicken pasta,” said LeMoine. “Most dishes can be made gluten-free with some advance notice.”

One unique feature of her business is subscription meals. Locals can pre-order food for a designated day or days of the week whereupon she will deliver the meal along with any necessary sauces or condiments and disposable plates and utensils as needed.

“I have found this to be a big hit,” said LeMoine. “People stay so busy, a night off from cooking and yet getting a hot, home-cooked meal is very appealing to many. I also insert a bible verse in with each meal.”

The catering service can provide for a large family or a single individual, however single-sized orders are made by subscription basis only with a minimum of four orders which may be spaced out over the course of one months time.

“I had a family of seven who started off ordering just one day a week and that eventually turned into three days a week,” said LeMoine.

Delivery can be made to a business location as well. Wedding receptions and bridal showers have also been a large part of her business.

“I think a huge part of what keeps people ordering from me is they like my homemade sauces and salad dressings,” said LeMoine. The business offers both full meals and gourmet sandwiches.

To see business hours and food selections go to Facebook at Rita’s Cocina Delivery & Catering. To place orders phone 256-997-3444.

Rita’s Motto: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5, 6.”

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday and weekend editions.

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