OATS? SAY WHAT!?
Sam Stephens is the chef and founder of OatMeals. She grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, and moved to New York City to attend Baruch College. That first year as an undergraduate student, Sam’s desire for healthy living and eating right became essential. Her passion for the city’s flourishing restaurant scene and love of food quickly caught up with her when the “freshman 15” became the “freshman 30”!
Reading about the numerous outstanding health benefits of oats, Sam decided to make oatmeal an important part of her life. Living on a student budget, she started eating oatmeal daily for breakfast, then for lunch, and even for dinner, all the while experimenting and inventing creative recipes to jazz up a basic bowl of oatmeal!
It was then that the idea of opening a single-item specialty café focusing only on oatmeal sprouted, but it was nearly a 12-year journey to get OatMeals off the ground.
After college, Sam worked in the investment banking world but couldn’t let go of her dream to open an oatmeal shop. She was inspired to attend courses at NYU’s School of Professional Studies in Food Writing and Business Management. While still working full time, she took her passion a step further and attended The International Culinary Center, where she became a pastry chef in 2010.
Sam finally took the leap and opened OatMeals on June 27th, 2012, offering nearly 30 signature sweet and savory oatmeal bowls and various oat-based pastries. She has revolutionized typical assumptions about oatmeal by showing people that it is anything but old-fashioned!
Quaker Oats named Sam their “Creative Oatmeal Officer” in September of 2013 and she has held the title ever since. She enjoys working with Quaker to get people excited about the unlimited possibilities of oatmeal!
Sam has appeared in broadcast segments including CBS’s Live from The Couch, ABC’s Eyewitness News, and NBC’s News 4 New York. Additionally, she has been featured in an array of wide-reaching local and national publications such as The New York Times, The Wall St Journal, Self Magazine, and The Huffington Post. She also engages in speaking events on female entrepreneurship, as well as the benefits of incorporating oatmeal into a healthy lifestyle.
Sam is currently working on a packaged goods line, an OatMeals cookbook, and store expansion. She lives in the West Village and continues to enjoy and be inspired by New York City’s restaurant scene every day!