Haute Stuff Catering Co. started out as a pipe dream. You know, one of those things you love to do for free, but never imagine that you could possibly make a living off of it.
The spark was lit when a dear old man in our church passed away. The pastor called Betty, who had cooked almost every funeral dinner for the last 50 years, but Betty was done. She told the pastor that she was retiring as of that moment. I know I wasn't the first call he made or even the second, but I was the first one to say yes. I figured I knew how to cook, I just needed to multiply my recipes and give myself extra time to prep all the food. I made lasagna, garlic French bread, and salad. It turned out great, and everybody enjoyed the food. (Thank goodness, because we ended up with a lot of leftovers). Over the next twelve years, I continued to cook most of the meals at church and for friends, anything from intimate gatherings to plated 5-course meals for over 100 people.
For any person, getting paid to do what you love always starts out as a pipe dream. Friends and family, especially my mom, encouraged me to start my own catering business, however, I was busy running another business at the time. When I made the very difficult decision to close my business, I was left with the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up.....again?" My husband encouraged me to go back to school and finally finish the last quarter I needed to earn my AA degree. Going back to college was scary. I was a mediocre student the first time and I didn't know if I would be successful or not, nevertheless I needed to feel a sense of accomplishment again. I needed to heal and move on to the next chapter of my life. Thankfully, I was advised incorrectly and my history class didn't meet the social studies requirement I needed to finish my degree. I was forced to complete another quarter of college. I took a few select business classes to fill in credit requirements for my financial aid and the pipe dream started to feel a little more real. My new business teacher, Anne loved my idea, wholeheartedly supported me and let me do all of my class projects specifically for my business. She met with me every other Friday and walked me through the process of writing my business plan. Mike and I found a used catering trailer - we love projects, and the dream became a reality.
All of the sudden, I had direction again. I was moving toward a goal, but not just any goal, my dream. I finally finished my AA, and continued my education to earn an AAAS in business management. I have been working as the catering coordinator for the college for the last year and a half and received invaluable first-hand experience. This job made me realize that I love front of house service just as much as cooking so I went on a search for just the right chef to create delectable dishes while I took care of customer service.
Chef Jen Munkers grew up in the pacific northwest. Jen always loved cooking but never dreamed she would combine that love with a blossoming career. A graduate of the Wine Country Culinary Institute, Jen obtained her Associate's degree in Culinary Arts and began making a name for herself. Throughout and after the program, she gained extensive catering experience and furthered her passion for providing delicious and beautiful food using local ingredients. With her family's background in raising beef cattle, Jen recognizes the time and effort that goes into producing quality meats and produce. Her food showcases her talent for taking your favorite comfort food and giving it some flair, enhancing the culinary experience. As well as catering, she also provides personal chef services and is a breakfast chef for the top-rated bed and breakfast in Walla Walla.