Rising Star Artisan Lisa Mendelson, Monica Molenaar, and Rachel Simons of Seed & Mill - Biography

New York, NY

January 2017

Lisa Mendelson was born in South Africa and raised in Israel, where she practiced law before founding Yogo, the country’s first frozen yogurt chain. Mendelson sold the chain when she moved to New York City in 2014. Her future business partner, attorney Rachel Simons, lived and worked around the globe before founding The Bread & Butter Project in her native Australia, a business Simons continues to support remotely from her adopted home of New York. Completing the entrepreneurial triumvirate, Monica Molenaar received an MBA from Stanford and became a marketing executive in New York, where she bonded with Mendelson and Simons over their obsession with food. The three found they shared a love of tahini, but none were able to find quality “sesame butter.” The ambitious trio felt a call to action. 

In January 2016, Seed + Mill was born, its tahini made from organic sesame seeds sourced from Humera, Ethiopia, a town known for its sesame. At their store in Chelsea Market, the seeds are ground into pure tahini. The innovative ladies also sell luscious, lick-able tahini soft serve ice cream and produce sweet-savory and celebratory halva cakes—pieces of which sometimes stud their ice cream. 

Seed + Mill is the answer to generic, cement-like sesame paste, and it’s the means to elevating sesame to its rightful place in kitchens across the country—which is precisely Mendelson, Simons, and Molenaar’s mission.