Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery Tamara Keefe

Before launching Clementine’s, Tamara Keefe was a successful 15-year veteran of the food industry who came to the realization that her passion has always been ice cream.

One St. Louis business owner now has her name attached to the James Beard Foundation. 

Tamara Keefe, the owner of the beloved Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery, has been accepted into the James Beard Foundation Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program. She is a part of this year's cohort of 20 women who have food businesses all across the country. 

The program will take place virtually over the next several weeks, with online classes that will guide and teach Keefe and her peers about expanding their businesses, finance concerns, leadership development, maintaining a work-life balance and more. Participants are also matched with mentors in the business to further their learning and goals. 

Keefe was one of thousands of applicants who apply for the program each year, and she says she is incredibly excited to have the opportunity. 

"I'm so grateful and I'm so honored that I got picked," she says. "That's really cool that they saw that Clementine's was worthy of being picked and worthy of being invested in." 

And since a goal for Clementine's to expand nationally – after opening about 10 shops here in the St. Louis metro area – not only is Keefe learning the skills to work toward that goal, but she is making connections that will help to put the creamery's name on a national stage. 

"It's also good to get our name out there and to be meeting other chefs and restaurateurs in other cities," she says. "And to be able to have this sisterhood of sorts that you can automatically reach out to other alumni or restaurateurs within the organization that have been connected to the program somehow, they're so amazing."

And for Keefe, it makes it extra special that the program is centered on women. 

"It's all about female empowerment, and helping us get there," she says. "They're trying to help level the playing field for chefs in the food industry." 

Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery, multiple locations, clementinescreamery.com