Laurel Burleson: Foodie on a mission

By Rachel Werner

Ugly Apple Café owner Laurel Burleson is using her mobile catering service to promote waste reduction and local agriculture in Dane County. “She is able to provide Industrious members with creative and delicious breakfast options that allow for both locals and visitors in our space to understand Madison’s local food scene,” says Kayla Hietpas, community manager of Industrious Madison, a coworking space. “Laurel’s commitment to serving the city in a sustainable way is unmatched and we are very proud to have her as one of our vendors.”

Burleson says she felt called to the culinary industry since childhood when running her own restaurant as a chef was her dream job—one she realized by starting her food cart in November 2016, shortly after she and her husband, Travis, moved to Madison from Chicago. Her top priorities in 2019 involve marketing her new fruit leather product, Apple Straps, and hopefully launching a ‘pay what you can’ dinner series. “I would like to find a venue in a neighborhood with a population that is mixed income and serve a simple dinner service where guests can pay for their meal with money or by volunteering for a future meal,” she explains. “Also, I will continue to work with the Culinary Ladies Collective on fundraising for local orgs like DAIS and The Rape Crisis Center.” We’ll eat to that.

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