In this episode, we interview Matt Parris, the CEO and founder of Roots Hummus and the Roots Foundation.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Why finding the right partners can determine your success when upscaling a business (and how Roots scaled their production capacity 100x)
  • The power of creating a financial engine to help support true passion and vision
  • How Matt and his team are using food as a vehicle for critical global change
  • How sales are about more than whether a product is good or not
  • Why the dream of early retirement is broken

Enjoyed this interview? We think you might also dig this episode with a fellow board member of the foundation and previous guest, Josh Dorfman.

Show Notes

About Matt Parris

Born and raised in the South, Matt studied to be a teacher at Western Carolina University before finding out he was unteachable and unemployable, which, along with early fatherhood, led him into the exciting world of entrepreneurship. In 2006, with little more than naïveté and determination, he started a cafe and prepared food business out of a storage room in the back of the West Asheville Coop. Rather quickly it became financially viable, prompting the Coop to raise his rent 10x over 18 months. Which forced him to the river district; at the time one of the low rent areas of town. Several years of struggle honed the cafe and wholesale business into its current form of producing artisan, packaged dips, and spreads. Today, Roots occupies a 40,000 square foot production facility and sells 14 flavors of deliciousness to over 4000 stores nationwide. Matt is a father, musician, foodie, and philanthropist.


“Kids learn better in nature, food connects people, I just want this to be useful for our world in a positive way”– Matt Parris

To learn more about Roots, schedule a tour, and/or see ways to support the Roots Foundation check out the links below:


  • Michael Porterfield – Former partner 
  • Lowell Parris – COO of Roots Hummus
  • Jason Pizarro – the project manager whose engineering was instrumental in making the huge Roots facility a reality
  • Randy Talley – connected Matt with EarthFare. Matt used the EarthFare kitchen at the start of his hummus journey


  • Highland Brewing – Root’s HQ is in the same facility as Highland Brewing
  • Earthfare – where Matt first started his hummus journey making 25 different salads and dips



Music by Commonwealth Choir

In this episode, we interview Meherwan Irani, the CEO, Executive Chef, and Founder of the Chai Pani Restaurant Group.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Chai Pani is a context-based business model that focuses on why instead of the how
  • Why it’s important to just let your team come up with better ideas
  • Who Meherwan considers “carriers,” and why they are pivotal in allowing a business to grow and expand
  • The origins of the name Chai Pani
  • How and why the team at Chai Pani focuses on the little thing

Enjoyed this interview? We think you might also dig this episode with local chef and restauranteur, John Fleer.

Show Notes

About Meherwan Irani

Meherwan Irani is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. Meherwan was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and is a five-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.

Meherwan leads a team of more than 300 as Founder, Chef, and CEO of Chai Pani Restaurant Group that includes Chai Pani Asheville, Chai Pani Decatur, Botiwalla Ponce City Market, Botiwalla Charlotte, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Nani’s Rotisserie Chicken, and Spicewalla.

Meherwan grew up in Ahmednagar, in the midwestern state of Maharashtra in India, and he came to the U.S. at age 20. In 2009, he and his wife and business partner, Molly, introduced Asheville, North Carolina, to the colors, flavors, and faces of India with Chai Pani.


We started growing by design, the more amazing people we have, the more opportunities we have for growth” – Meherwan

To learn more about Jawbreaking, check out the links below:

Chef Merherwan’s IG

Spicwalla IG

Chai Pani IG

Buxton Hall Barbecue 

Nani’s Rotisserie Chicken


  • Elliot Moss is Merherwan’s business partner and dad at the delicious, Buxton Hall Barbecue.

Books and Media that Inspire


Music by Commonwealth Choir