5 for Friday – Sheri Wetherell, Co-Founder & CEO Foodista.com

I have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions.

Sheri WetherellOh, where to start with this one?? I met Sheri Wetherell in the late 90’s – she was on the team I joined after being hired by Amazon.com. We only worked together a year or so before getting canned, but as working in group office and traveling for work will do, we became fast friends. Plus, we’re both Geminis (our birthdays only 3 days apart) so how could I not love her? Sheri was with me in the days after my house burned down and rather then try and put band aids on things and make them sunny, she embraced the gravity of the experience and just let me cry when I burst into sudden tears remembering things I’d lost. I’d be talking and laughing one minute, and then frozen in a fit of panic the next. I’d bawl, wipe my face and she’d just keep talking – like a little anchor of normalcy that I so needed then. We’re the kind of friends who’ve been through fires, divorce, new loves, big moves, the sadness of death and the joy of new children (hers, not mine!) together – a real gem of a friendship.

Outside of being one of my oldest ‘Seattle’ friends, I’ve had the great fortune of watching Sheri (and her partner Barnaby & friend Colin) build up a food company from scratch. (Get it…scratch?!) They started building Foodista, envisioning an online cooking encyclopedia, and launched the site in December of 2008. It’s an amazing thing to watch a person take an idea from concept to inception. The passion and dedication behind starting your own business is immense and I remember long conversations over red one and rad dinners discussing features and tossing out ideas. How cool is that? This woman I met under TOTALLY different circumstances started building a food business, just as I was building mine. Good stuff.

And what a whirlwind it has been since Foodista’s launch! Foodista is now one of the worlds largest online food communities and is a vast encyclopedia of recipes and information on all things food. Sheri essentially runs it on her own now – she oversees all of the editorial, works on marketing & PR and comes up with fresh ideas for the site.  AND she’s the mom of a toddler! Foodista also created a premiere food blogging conference that is hosted annually. The International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) is a must for anyone interested in food, hosting a food blog, book editors, PR reps and anyone in the food biz, really. Lucky for me, it is being held in Seattle this year, and I encourage you to sign up early because it always sells out.

Meet Sheri Wetherll………

1. What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Egg whites with tarragon and a teeny bit of sharp Cheddar cheese “scrambled” in the microwave for 1 minute.

2. What is one thing you do EVERY day, by choice?
Tell my family I love them. Wear my FitBit to make sure I’m getting at least 10K steps a day!

3. If you had all the time in the world and no budget restrictions, what one project would you take on just now?
I’d love to take cooking classes in all my favorite countries and want-to-visit countries. I’d also love to build my dream ranch/vineyard in Argentina.

4. Where is your ‘happy place’?
In the bath tub with my Kindle and a glass of wine. But also any time my toddler daughter crawls into my lap with her blankie to get “toasty toasty.”

5. What is your signature dish – something you make well and consistently?
I would have to say my signature dish is Crab Cioppino. I make it every Christmas Eve (as we’ve done in my family for generations) but I add my own little secret ingredient that my grandma never did. I also make a pretty darn good risotto and a perfect poached egg.