The Origin Story, Founder Skelly Stevens

The idea for Gourmet GVL developed in the tumultuous months of 2020, as everyone’s world stood still amidst a global pandemic.

I am frequently asked how Gourmet GVL came to be, so let me take you back to the beginning. First, my name is Skelly Stevens. And this is the Gourmet GVL origin story.

Allow me to rewind a bit to 2020: I was a relative newcomer to Greenville, SC, having relocated from Charleston, SC in August 2019, where I had lived for nine years and worked as a publicist, specializing in work with hospitality clients. Collaborating with chefs, restauranteurs, and hoteliers, I lived and breathed food, and strategized how to bring people together over a table of delicious flavors. Food (and cooking!) was a passion of mine personally, and it also happened to be my livelihood. Once we moved to Greenville, I made the decision to focus on my family and transition into a new community. I put my PR career on the back burner for what I assumed would be a short period of time. Then, the unexpected happened: COVID-19. And everyone was suddenly scrambling to find a new normal that made sense for them.

As the long-haul reality of COVID set in, we all felt isolated, and most yearned for ways to connect. For me, food and shared stories have always been the great human connector. During the early months of COVID, my family was fortunate to be co-habiting with my parents. My Mom is a talented home-chef, and the two of us found solace, and connection, in the kitchen. We tested new recipes, resurrected old family-favorite recipes, and discovered new tips/tricks to cooking. We came alive, together, conquering the pages of cookbooks, and creating lasting memories and shared connections, all in a COVID world.

I began to contemplate the meaning of true connectivity, and ways in which to be physically present, and to interact in meaningful and genuine formats with people. Being new to Greenville, I was eager to forge ahead, amidst COVID, and find ways to meet people in my new community. Drawing from my experience cooking in the kitchen with my Mom during lockdown, I developed the idea to create a monthly “cooking club” in the late months of 2020. Hosted by women for women, I envisioned a convergence of likeminded individuals, coming together in the heart of the home – the kitchen – in community, comradery, and an interest in cooking. In January 2021, Gourmet GVL launched with just 15 members, all with an array of cooking backgrounds and interests. New friendships were forged, beloved recipes were shared, and a community of women was born.

Gourmet GVL has grown exponentially, month over month. The community took on a life of its own, and the growth of Gourmet GVL exceeded my wildest dreams. By December 2021, I recognized that I had an “accidental business” on my hands, and sought the professional guidance of a dear friend, who always is a lawyer; she officially helped me set up Gourmet GVL LLC in January 2022, and we were off to the races!

A humble thank you to everyone who has supported me and the growth of the Gourmet GVL business. The true joy and satisfaction of Gourmet GVL is being able to look around the room at any given event, and seeing all of the amazing, capable, supportive, bright individuals brought together. It’s a setting that is inclusive, uplifting, and helps women (and men!) forge connections in the community – all in the name of food.

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