OSUIT Student Starts Business

SALSA MAKER: Catherine Churchill began attending OSUIT’s School of Culinary Arts in January after starting her own salsa business.

Courtesy OSUIT

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,” says Catherine Churchill.

So, she decided to make her own cilantro-free salsa, developing the recipe when she was just 16 years old.

After Churchill 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,” she remembers.

Not long after, Churchill found a local manufacturer who could re-create her recipes for her mild, medium, and hot salsa and package it 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 directly to customers when she receives requests.

Churchill also has developed recipes for super-hot and ultra-hot varieties of her salsa.

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

Churchill lives in Dewar, about 13 miles south of Okmulgee, so the Oklahoma State University 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 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 says, but she understands that she has to work for that dream. “I want to start in a restaurant and build up my experience first.”

Churchill started at OSUIT’s culinary school in January and is the newly-elected president of the Future Chefs Association.

For those interested in more information or in ordering a jar of Catz Salsa, they can email catherine.churchill@okstate.edu.

Updated 07-26-2016

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