Dinner is served

Cathie Groesbeck, seen in her Longview home, runs her own business, The Gifted Kitchen. She teaches cooking classes, helps clients with their grocery shopping and cooks meals for private clients.

Roger Werth, The Daily News

While Cathie Groesbeck was raising her two sons in North Carolina, she dreamed of a life as a chef. She’d been baking since she was a little girl, and cooking was always a source of joy.

But Groesbeck married young and promptly moved with her husband to North Carolina for his work. Then, she raised her two sons.

In 2004, at age 40, her dream came true when she began studying culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And two and a half years ago, after several jobs in the food and hospitality industry, Groesbeck started her own business, The Gifted Kitchen, through which she does personal catering, grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking classes.

In August, Groesbeck, who was raised in Castle Rock, and her husband, Bruce, moved back to Longview. She brought her business with her. Groesbeck, 53, said she’s searched the area for services like hers but hasn’t found any, so she considers herself something of a local pioneer.

“I thought I wanted to branch out,” she said of starting her own business. “I’m such a creative person. I just had this dream come into my mind. I wanted to share my passion with people.”

It’s a delicious life.

In North Carolina, her clients favored her mini barbeque meatloaves with garlic mashed potatoes. For her birthday party on Sunday, she cooked an Italian spread with pasta and bruschetta, and her husband, a corporate travel planner who works from home, baked her and her twin sister a German chocolate cake. She bakes anything you can dream up – cakes, cookies, muffins, rolls.

Within her business, Groesbeck does most everything involving cooking. She hosts cooking classes for adults and children (including one-on-one sessions), meal plans and grocery shops for clients, and caters private events.

As a personal chef, she generally charges $25 per hour plus groceries. For an additional fee, she can open up her home to clients who want to entertain guests.

She said she’ll soon host cooking classes with a local chiropractic business and its clients, and may start lunchtime cooking demonstrations with companies. She’s also working on securing her cottage food permit through the state Department of Agriculture so that she’ll be able to sell the baked goods she makes in her home.

While she loves German chocolate cake and anything with salsa and cheese on it, she’s also passionate about cooking healthy.

“I love teaching, and if I can do it to benefit the community, then that’s beautiful,” Groesbeck said of teaching people to cook healthy.

By hosting private lessons, she said she can zero in on what a client is most interested in learning, whether that be a recipe, a type of cuisine or a cooking skill.

“It’s a wonderful thing about this business: it’s open to your creativity,” she said.

Contact Daily News reporter Lauren Kronebusch at 360-577-2532.

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