by Jennifer Sierra
Kate’s Catering & Personal Chef Services was founded in 2013 by executive chef Katelyn Banks. She quickly outgrew her one-person kitchen in Anderson Township and after exploring “at least 25 spaces” for expansion, she found a home in Dayton, Kentucky in the former St. Vincent de Paul building at 702 Sixth Avenue. Banks chose this location because it puts her in the middle of the greater Cincinnati area—it is central to both corporate clients in Cincinnati and personal clients in the suburbs. The building’s large picture windows are perfect for her vision of bringing her kitchen out into the open. Banks says, “I want people to be able to see where their food is prepared. Most kitchens are hidden away in some basement or back room without windows.”
Banks graduated from the University of Kentucky and the Midwest Culinary Institute. As a personal chef, she specializes in working with clients in order to teach them how to make healthier food for themselves. However, she also makes prepared meals that anyone can take home and heat up on their own. (She includes heating instructions with the take-out meals that she prepares.) Katelyn’s establishment won’t be like anything else in Northern Kentucky. She will post menus online and clients will be able to call in advance to place an order to go—every night of the week, a couple of times a month, or even just once. There is no minimum requirement for an order, just call 24 to 48 hours in advance and she will get it ready. Banks also caters events of all kinds, such as weddings, corporate lunches and banquets, showers, and private parties. In addition to meals-to-go and event catering, Banks’ services include weekly meal preparation, cooking instruction, and nutrition/dietetic lifestyle advising. Her signature dishes include southern eggs Benedict, braised Osso Buco, peanut butter mousse, clementine chocolate cupcakes, chicken & dumplings, and a health-conscious seared chicken.
While Banks currently employs a part-time staff, she is eager for the chance to move everyone up to full-time status as her business flourishes. Her new kitchen will be finished in May, 2015. She will be replacing the large window panes on the Sixth Avenue side of the building with new energy-efficient glass. Her contractor is recycling the old panes by using them as walls inside the building to create a conference room where she can meet with clients. The entrance to the building will remain in the same location, but new doors will be put into place. A walk-up counter where clients can pick up their take-out orders will also be installed in the entrance. (Please keep in mind that this is not a dine-in restaurant, so there will be no seating inside and no wait staff to serve you.) The tile mural on the side of the building is being covered up with Banks’ new sign—unfortunately, the mural was too expensive for St. Vincent de Paul to remove and reuse.
When asked about fuel tanks rumored to have been under the property, Banks said that the location was once a mechanic’s shop, not a gas station, as some had suggested. Radar imaging—the same technology used to locate utility lines—was used to look under the existing cement floor, but no tanks were found and the location has since been approved for food service. Katelyn is anxiously waiting for her new space to be completed by her contractor, Phil Banks, from Cincinnati Interiors, and her open kitchen should prove to be a fresh light to brighten up the Dayton business district.