kathleen 1.jpg

Meet Chef Kathleen Wise

>> Chef, Rustic As Cluck

How long have you been cooking?

14 years

What is your cooking style?

I like to keep things simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves. I like to shop the market or go into my garden and pick what’s ready and looking amazing and turn that into dinner. I tend to be pretty rustic, but I can definitely turn up the fancy factor when it’s called for.

What made you pursue a career feeding people?

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but what made me make the move to making it my profession was a restaurant called Region, that closed many years ago. The thing that made this place special was that it really was farm to table. Not how people use the term now, but before it was really a thing anyone else was doing, the chef worked with a handful of farmers and shopped the market everyday and that was what was in the walk in, or not- things didn’t even get a chance to be refrigerated most of the time! I finally landed a job working front of the house, and then soon after they needed someone in the kitchen. My hand shot up immediately. Even from the get go I was able to make decisions about what to do with the ingredients, and I was taught charcuterie making. I can’t imagine a better way to learn than being able to be creative and encouraged, and really being mentored by a family of chefs that had nothing but absolute passion for their craft and love for their guests.

What do you love to cook at home?

I make a lot of soup. I love soup. All kinds, some pureed, some chunky, some with pasta or rice, some vegetarian, some with meat, but soup is the life for me.

What is your favorite restaurant in San Diego?

Right now I think Biga is kicking some serious farm to table, everything made in house but, Las Quatro Milpas satisfies some serious breakfast cravings, Trust totally gets my need to snack on small vegetable plates, Red Moon Noodle House makes some dan dan noodles to die for, The Dumpling Inn is my Sunday fried pig’s ear and craft beer spot, and Coops West Texas BBQ and neighboring fried chicken spot can’t be beat. Hachi Ramen in Bankers hill is great for cold noodles and fresh juice on a hot day and El Comal everything and especially soup.

If you were a piece of produce, what would you be? 

I’d probably be some kale. Kale is really hearty and can withstand all sorts of weather and doesn’t need much but it’s always delicious.

Click here for some sample menus from Chef Kathleen.

Visit RusticAsCluck.com


Photos courtesy of Kalleen Kyle, Deandra Jex and Kathleen Wise.