Candice Peterkin

CEO and Founder of Gempanadas, Candice Peterkin, was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York. Brought up in a Jamaican household by immigrant parents, she became accustomed to the smells of Sorrel during Christmas, Ackee and Saltfish in the morning for breakfast and Oxtail during dinner. Alongside paving the way for her future success, these and other meals were what brought her and her family together, and was what reflected her parents’ devotion to providing a happy home for Candice and her two brothers.

As she grew into an adult, and inspired by her mother’s career as an Entrepreneur, during which she ran a successful daycare for 10 years, Candice went to college and was eventually able to earn a Master’s degree in Business Management from Fairfield University. With this degree in tow and already the owner of a media company focused on the stories of everyday black women, she then formed her second company, Gempanadas, with a love for food and its ability to bring people together.

Named after the street Candice grew up on, Gem Ave, and the panadas coming from the suggestion of her second inspiration and marketing guru boyfriend, Antan Mills; it was brought to life through her passion for cooking, especially empanadas

Started during the roughest months of the pandemic, she tried her hand at selling her own food creations through Instagram. Now with a growing fan base, Gempanadas now serves as a one of a kind, fast food restaurant, dedicated to culturally inclusive empanadas, which include meat, pescatarian and vegan menus. In creating these menus, she has been able to bridge the gap between food and culture, changing her menu weekly, utilizing the options of lobster, oxtail, Korean BBQ beef and more, all while keeping the hectic schedules of millennials in mind with her fast, exciting and mouth watering foods.