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Meet Kathleen Wise of Rustic As Cluck in Central San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Wise.

Kathleen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my professional kitchen life in a restaurant called Region here in San Diego that closed many years ago. I was a long time customer and was basically begging them for a job every time I went in because it was just such an amazing place. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to experience it, it was a pioneer farm to table restaurant in San Diego.

Michael Stebner was the chef and owner and the best mentor a person could have. I actually started there as a food runner, which was a greatly to learn about the food. They did a thing called “trust the chef” which was similar to a tasting menu, but always off the cuff. If every person at the table ordered “trust” every person would get something different, really a fun way to dine. We didn’t get big produce deliveries at Region, every day the Chef and Sous went to the market and what they brought back is what a menu was created from.

I quickly moved into the kitchen, a job I hadn’t set out to get, but they were in a bind, and I’ve always loved cooking, so I thought, hey why not. I’m so glad I made that decision! My time there was packed full of on the job training. I tend to be a pretty organized and responsible person by nature, so they really gave me a lot of freedom after seeing I could handle it. I took over the fresh sausage and cured meat program, made fresh pastas daily and even helped with desserts; I will forever be grateful for all of that education.

Region closed and I had a brief stint at Market under Chef Karl Schroeder. That was a whole other ballgame, really busy, high volume, my head was spinning at first! From there I moved on to open Starlite when it opened. I started as Sous, then took over as a chef for the last five years. At about nine years, where I started to get a little restless and knew it was time to move on.

I had already started doing some meal delivery on my own before leaving and decided I could give it a try full time. That was the start of Eat My Box meal delivery service and my brand, Rustic As Cluck.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has for the most part been a smooth road. If anything, learning to say no has been my weak point. I feel very lucky that it’s gone this way, I have really supportive customers and wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Eat My Box is a vegetarian meal delivery service I offer a few times a month. It’s always vegetarian, mostly locally sourced and organic. I think the thing that really sets me apart is that I’m a small little company and that allows me to really focus on buying quality ingredients and offering handmade food.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up with my grandma and great aunt in Wisconsin, and I think they were really my biggest influences in terms of food. At breakfast, they would be talking about lunch and at lunch talking about dinner. They had farmer friends who would bring over bushels of various things, and there were homemade baked goods around almost all of the time. I really wish they were alive today, I think they’d be really proud of what I’m doing.

As far as my personality goes, I was friends with everyone, the popular kids, the kids that were into the books, jocks, and artists. I was fairly outgoing and had a ton of interests. I played some sports, did a bunch of public speaking, was class president the last three years in high school and of course had the rebellious side too that snuck out, stole my grandma’s car and drove to Chicago.

Pricing:

  • Eat My Box, a vegetarian meal for two delivered Wednesdays $25 San Diego/$30 North County

Contact Info:

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