I was recently introduced to Erin by my friend Joanna Reule, creator of Brave Bone Broth. What struck me during my conversation with Erin is not just that this was one accomplished mom, but that she had found so much of her success by networking with other Charlotte moms. There is a lot of talent here in the Queen City! Sometimes just putting yourself out there and grabbing a cup of coffee with someone can lead to an amazing opportunity. So if you are looking for a side gig, an outlet for your creativity or just a new perspective on an issue just look around—we moms have got you covered! So let’s get to know Erin!
Married to: Drew Rutherford
Children: Riley (10) Brooks (7)
Hometown: Kansas City
Years in Charlotte: 18 this summer!
Occupation: CPA specializing in financial consulting and management for interior design
How did an accountant transition into becoming such a great cook?
The simple answer: from my mom…but, not for the reasons that you may think! Rather, when her impulsive teenage daughter (aka ME!) announced that she had become a vegetarian, she simply responded with a credit card and instructions to go out and buy a cookbook! She wasn’t about to change the family meal plan (I came from a very meat and potatoes childhood); rather, she simply encouraged me to figure out how to make this lifestyle change a reality. Over time, and I think to my father’s dismay…they both started liking the meals that I prepared! I eventually gave up the vegetarian lifestyle, but those years built my cooking foundation.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Balanced! Some days I cook granola with the most holistic of ingredients…coconut oil, local honey and organic rolled oats; the next day my kids and I are fighting over the last bite of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Cooking can be such a freeing experience when you relinquish constraints and bid adieu to social pressures to eat one way or the other…funny, this coming from a former vegetarian, right?!?!
Is is true that the author of one of my favorite cookbooks (Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food) inspired you to create your food blog – The Open Road Kitchen?
The story goes something more like she sat me down and made me! She was like the scary gym teacher that no one wanted to face with an injury. She basically told me to stop reasoning out of “doing it,” showed up at my house one cloudy Wednesday night, and spent her evening selflessly devoted to making my dream come true. As you can imagine, I will be forever grateful to count her as a dear friend and a relentless cheerleader.
I really admire how you’ve chosen to follow your passion for cooking and love that you’ve found inspiration from collaborating with other women in Charlotte. Tell me how you teamed up with doTERRA?
Look around this city and you will find tremendous success in the women of Charlotte! From the sisters of Twine and Twig to the art culture of Hidell Brooks Gallery, our city has a tremendous heartbeat for female entrepreneurs. Like any great collaboration, the doTERRA moment happened when two strangers became friends with very specific interests: the wellness of our families and a crazy addiction to the unbearable sweat that we get from a regular power-flow session at Y2 (our local love or hate it yoga studio!). There, I met Logan Campbell, and I instantly was drawn to this committed, working mother. As a wellness educator and advisor, she champions doTERRA, and ultimately, with her wisdom, I learned a fascinating new way to cook with essential oils. My favorite recipe uses the brand’s Wild Orange Essential Oil and adds a subtle zest to my Dark Chocolate, Almond and Dried Apricot Trail Mix!
What’s next for The Open Road Kitchen?
I really want to fuse my love of cooking with great interior design. I spend my working days constantly in awe of my design clients. They pull fabrics, select wall coverings and produce the most beautiful renderings of rooms to come. Most often, I find myself stealing notes about the “new” heart of the home…yes, the KITCHEN! In my mind, what better way to merge the two disciplines than to produce amazing dishes in a rotation of custom designed, just killer kitchens!
And now for the lightening round:
Best kept secret in Charlotte? – Alternative Fitness Pilates…if I didn’t stumble into this Cotswold gem a few years ago, I fear that I would still be recovering from multiple back surgeries. Their mindful approach to strengthening and educating their clients is like none other in the area.
Favorite date night spot? – Drew and I always end up at CustomShop…could be my addiction to their tuna crudo (just light enough for a first course nibble), and don’t get me started on their cripsy brussels sprouts (heaven!!!)
What’s your guilty pleasure? – Re-runs of Gossip Girl, French Fries, and Chardonnay…and yes, all taken in at the same time!
Best book you’ve read in the past year? – Ummmm, does reading Elle Decor cover to cover count?…I desperately need to join a book club if you know of any takers!
I so enjoyed reading this. Well written and relatable. I may be hooked on Charlotte Smarty Pants and The Open Road Kitchen now.