Salsa Business Only the Beginning for Culinary Student

Salsa Business Only the Beginning for Culinary Student

Sara Plummer
Salsa Business Only the Beginning for Culinary Student

Like a lot of recipes and innovations, Catz Salsa was born out of a need to change the status quo.

“I have an aversion to cilantro, a salsa staple. It makes me nauseous. So it was hard for me to find a salsa I liked,” said School of Culinary Arts student Catherine Churchill, so she decided to make her own cilantro-free salsa. “I came up with this recipe when I was 16 years old.”

After she got married in 2000 and was working in Tulsa, she continued to make her salsa in her own kitchen.

Someone at work asked me to make some. I ended up getting 160 orders, Churchill said, so not long after she found a local manufacturer who could recreate her recipes for mild, medium and hot and package her salsa to sell.

Her salsa can be found in Henryetta on the shelves of Homeland Grocery Store, Rocky’s Grand Central Station and Midway Grocery. She also sells her salsa on her own when she’s contacted by a customer. Churchill also has developed recipes for super-hot and ultra-hot varieties of her salsa.

“I’ve always had a passion for cooking,” she said. “When my youngest son started school, my husband encouraged me to go back to cooking and try culinary school.”

Churchill lives in Dewar, about 13 miles south of Okmulgee, so the OSU Institute of Technology’s School of Culinary Arts was a perfect fit for her. She could attend classes during the day while her children were also at school.

“I like to promote my salsa, but I have other recipes I want to share, and ultimately I would like to have my own catering business. With catering you get to choose what you do. I like the idea of being my own boss and moving around,” she said, but she understands she has to work for that dream. “I want to start in a restaurant and build up my experience first.”

Churchill started at the Culinary school in January and is the newly elected president of the Future Chefs Association.

I’ve loved it. I’ve loved the challenge, I’ve loved learning new terms and skills and techniques, she said. I do a lot of cooking so it wasn’t all completely new, I just didn’t know all the techniques there are. The instructors were great at explaining things to us.

If you would like to order a jar or case of Catz Salsa, contact Catherine Churchill at catherine.churchill@okstate.edu.