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LETTER JANUARY 2018 Meet the Men Behind Your Meals B efore October Kitchen, I spent 10 years as a personal chef. Cooking in clients’ homes demanded I go to the grocery store every
www.OctoberKitchen.com | 860-533-0588 | 309 Green Rd, Manchester, CT 06042
Remembering the Potluck Supper Club HUMBLING BEGINNINGS
in to help us, but for the first several months, he and I did everything ourselves.
We fleshed out the concept of October Kitchen completely from scratch. It was daunting, and sometimes we thought there was no way we could make it work. But we never failed to cook great food and make our deliveries. For a year and a half we worked through blizzards, power outages, and everything that could possibly go wrong in that tiny church kitchen. Our client list grew and we pushed that four-burner stove to the limit. Then, the other chef renting the church kitchen gave me a call. She’d been offered the opportunity to buy a beautiful catering kitchen nearby. It wasn’t something she was interested in at the time, but she knew I wanted to set up shop in a bigger space. I went out to take a look and discovered the perfect kitchen did exist after all. The kitchen offered plenty of space and was near a dozen of my current clients. I’d driven by that place for months and never realized it was there. When we moved into the new kitchen, we served around 40 clients. Seven years and two remodels later, we prepare meals for 3,500 active clients. Instead of two guys with a pickup and a Cadillac, we have a fleet of three delivery vehicles, four drivers, and 13 employees. We’ve come a long way and it’s been a real mission of faith. The work we do, helping people stay fed and nourished, is important. I’m proud of what October Kitchen has become and I look forward to what will come next.
day and lug all my equipment around. When I was done, I had to leave the kitchen cleaner than I found it. It wasn’t a routine I loved, and for the longest time I wanted to set up home base in a commercial kitchen. I searched for a decade but never found a location that was a good fit. Eventually, I realized the perfect kitchen didn’t exist. If I wanted to see if this idea was feasible, it was time to fish or cut bait. At the time, I had access to a little commercial kitchen located in my church hall — the same church kitchen where I grew up having pancake breakfasts and potluck dinners. Another professional chef was renting out the space, but she didn’t use it on Mondays. I carved time out of my schedule and convinced the church leadership to rent the kitchen to me on Mondays. To test my concept, I reached out to a few families and asked them to let me provide meals for them, free of charge, so I could get some feedback. These early testers included my own grandma, who had just moved in with my parents while she recovered from a bad fall. A buddy of mine agreed to help me out and we called ourselves the Potluck Supper Club. It wasn’t just the meals I needed to figure out. How were we going to package all the food? What would we do about reheating instructions? What was the best delivery method? I remember many a late Monday night using Yahoo maps to print a route with 20-30 addresses on it. After cooking all day Monday, my buddy and I came in on Tuesday, packed up my truck and his Cadillac and hit the road to make deliveries. My wife would eventually step
“Eventually, I realized the perfect kitchen didn’t exist. If I wanted to see if this idea was feasible, it was time to fish or cut bait.”
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