"I grew up in the days of the food pyramid, where six to 11 servings of bread was recommended,” says Katie King, using the old standard to show how far she’s come to become the health-focused Krunchy Kate of The Rhode Show acclaim. These days, her focus has shifted to eating holistically while maintaining delicious flavors and adding unique spins on classic foods, and she has been on quite the culinary journey.
As a native Rhode Islander who grew up in North Kingstown, King’s career actually began in a very different field. After five years of studying and earning a degree in architecture, she realized that path did not afford the type of lifestyle she wanted. “I could not sit in a stuffy office for a living,” she admits.
Throughout her youth and into early adulthood, she held various jobs at restaurants, kitchens, and cafes. “Food has always been in my background,” she says. “For a long time, I thought I wanted to open an eclectic coffee shop with homemade syrups and non-dairy options, like The Nook in East Greenwich.”
But King’s desire to cook came from creative dates she and her husband – then boyfriend – would take to the grocery store. “It was like our own version of Chopped,” she explains. “We would get a bunch of ingredients and try to create a meal from them.” At that time, her expertise revolved around chicken: lemon chicken, pineapple chicken – “barbecue chicken and rice was my go-to,” King recalls. Her husband thought it would be wise to expand her repertoire.
Rachael Ray was an early source of inspiration, and soon King started experimenting with different flavors, creating healthy meals that her family and friends could feel good about eating. This passion was backed by experience with the RI Community Food Bank’s Community Kitchen, a culinary job training program preparing adults for careers in the food industry. The purpose was twofold: not only did King take a deep dive into nutrition, acquiring new skills and earning her ServSafe certification, but she also found purpose through the program’s dedication to cooking meals for children at the Boys and Girls Club in East Providence and the West End Community Center. She thought about teaching the culinary arts herself, but she quickly learned that was not her calling. “I have so much respect for teachers,” she relays.
Like many people, when the pandemic hit, King pivoted. Inspired by chef Haley Rego of The Holistic Trick, she stepped into the world of food blogging, and thus Krunchy Kate was born. Fueled by a passion for wholesome comfort foods, nutrition, and wellness (on the fitness end of things, she’s also a Poliquin Certified Personal Trainer), she created an LLC and, in 2022, threw everything into becoming a personal chef. She attended networking and wellness, catered small parties, joined the Professional Moms of New England group – anything to put herself into local hubs and meet new people. Her big break came when she made her first (of now six) appearances on The Rhode Show. “I feel like it really legitimized my business,” she says. Inquiries poured in and her business exploded.
As an in-home personal chef, she never creates the same menu twice. She works one-on-one with clients to learn about their specific dietary needs and preferred flavor profiles. “I’m lactose intolerant,” she explains, “and I learned that changing eating habits changes how you live, how you move, how you feel – it changes everything.” This is what she loves to bring into the homes of her clients.
For the new year, one small but significant piece of advice she offers for those who are hoping to shed a few pounds is to change the size of their plates. “Instead of using a dinner plate, use a salad plate – and don’t go back for seconds.” This helps with portion control, and filling a smaller plate actually means you’re getting a more appropriate portion for that meal.
“I also recommend adding or exchanging ancient grains into your diet instead of traditional grains [like bread]. Quinoa or barley make great roasted veggie bowls.” Novice chefs will appreciate the step-by-step instructions of her easily digestible recipes. She recommends the Roasted Beet Salad, otherwise known as the “Show Stopping Salad,” posted on her blog. “It’s a crowd favorite and the most requested dish for any party or get-together.”
Although King and her husband no longer embark on grocery store dates, some things never change. “I still make barbecue chicken, but it’s a lot better now. I make my own barbecue sauce, for one,” King says. “It’s one of his favorites.”
401-474-4647 • KrunchyKate.com
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here