I met Chef Kat Humphus several years ago when she was a rising star at the Cohn Restaurant Group and had just opened BO-beau in Ocean Beach. I was immediately impressed by her talent and so was the foodie community in San Diego.
She decided last summer to follow her own path and launched Savory Made Simple, a meal kit subscription service that delivers fresh, locally sourced ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions to your doorstep.
I gave it a try and loved the convenience, quality ingredients and her recipes. It’s a fun, convenient way to cook and I caught up with Kat recently to learn more.
You are a San Diego native; tell me about what the food scene was like in your home growing up.
I remember the very first “fancy” restaurant I went to was the Lamont Street Grill (now, the Patio) and I ordered the pasta primavera. I was so impressed when it came to the table, because it was the first restaurant I had been to that “garnished” the plate with little specks of parsley, and it was the first time I had seen baby carrots! I grew up eating burritos on the boardwalk, going down to TJ for tacos, Rosarito for lobster, and Bronx Pizza or El Zarape after class. The fancy restaurants I knew of were the Marine Room and the Prado but I hadn’t been to either, nor did I know people that had been to them, until I started working in restaurants. As far as I knew, San Diego had amazing Mexican food, and I was totally content with that!
Your restaurant experience started in the front of the house, tell me about that experience and how it led to culinary school and your very impressive first gigs after graduation.
I started as a hostess at the Prado at Balboa Park. It was my very first restaurant gig and had no idea what I was getting into. I found that I screwed up more at being a hostess than almost any other job I’ve ever done. I took people to the wrong table, I spilled drinks, I walked too fast, I walked too slow, it was not a good situation. Most of all, people would get so angry with me whether it was because of the amount of time they were waiting for a table, or they didn’t like the table I took them to. I hid in the back of the kitchen one day, avoiding my hostess responsibilities, and that’s where I saw the kitchen dance for the first time. I knew I had to be apart of it. I asked the chef for a job the next day and I was hired right then to start in the kitchen. Two years later, I asked the chef “how do I become you” and he recommended culinary school, but told me to go to New York or Paris, and that was it. I went home and applied for Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and 9 months later was on an airplane to start culinary school in Paris France. After graduating, I didn’t want to come back to San Diego yet, so I flipped through a Michelin Guide looking for restaurants to apply to intern at. I got about 10 rejections, but got accepted to both WD-50 in New York, and the French Laundry in Napa.
You had a great run with The Cohn Restaurant Group. What was that experience like and how did it shape your style?
It was truly the experience of a lifetime. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities they gave me. They gave me creative control over the menu’s for both BO-beau OB and BO-beau Long Beach and also 100 Wines, and allowed me to explore different flavors, different concepts, and see which felt best to me. They shaped me not only as a chef but as a person too.
How did Savory Made Simple come about?
After parting ways with the Cohn Restaurant group, I started a food blog called Kats Kitchen Collective. I posted a ton of recipes every week, but often heard back “looks like an awesome recipe, I don’ have time to prep all of that” or “Wow! Looks delicious! I don’t know where to find that ingredient”. It made me frustrated and I felt as if I was wasting my time, creating recipes that no one was going to use. So I sat down with a friend and business coach, and we realized that I could just ship the ingredients for the recipe to them. And Voila! Savory Made Simple was born.
What would consider your differentiators from some of the other meal delivery services out there?
Savory Made Simple focuses on using premium ingredients from our local purveyors, such as Specialty Produce for all of our produce, Catalina Offshore Products for all of our seafood, Brandt Beef, Mary’s Chicken, Clover Dairy, and more! The recipes are designed specifically to expand both your cooking skills and your taste buds, and we never hold back on shipping fresh produce and herbs, instead of many dry goods, like some of the other services. Last, and definitely my favorite, is that for every meal kit purchased, Savory Made Simple donates four meals through Feeding America San Diego to community members in need. It is our goal this year to donate 20,000 meals, and we have already donated over 4,000!
Give me a few examples of meal kits that you offer.
Every week there are seven new recipes to choose from, and the recipes range from vegetarian, gluten free, paleo and comfort food, and recipes from all types of ethnic cuisine. You get to choose three recipes to craft your own meal kit. Some examples of these recipes are Korean Bibimbap, Smoked Salmon Pasta with Fresh Dill and Cream Sauce, Leek-Stuffed Burger with Fries, Grilled hanger Steak with Chimichurri, Shrimp Boil with Linguica Sausage, Seared crusted Ahi, and more!
For people who want to give it a try, how does it work?
You can visit us online at savorymadesimple.com and select “order a meal kit” to see this weeks current recipe selection! We’ll show you exactly how it works from there, and by the next Tuesday, you could have ALL the ingredients for three incredibly delicious meals waiting for you on your door step — there to help save you time, allow you to spend more time with your family instead of at the grocery store, as well as nourishing your body, and providing you with a joyful, stress-free cooking experience!
David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 395-6905.