Caterer + Chef Katie Peterson Talks about Life with Opal

Opal leans on so many members of the community to keep our organization running smoothly. Making new business partnerships is something we love to do at Opal and each of them holds a special place in our hearts. We are so glad to have such a partnership with our caterer Katie Peterson of Nourish Body Mind. Katie has been with us since the very beginning and we were so excited when she agreed to write a bit about her life with Opal. Take it away Katie!

Katie Peterson Chef and Opal CatererA little over five years ago I met Julie Church, Co-Founder and Nutrition Director of Opal Food and Body Wisdom, at a coffee shop in the University District. Julie and I had been in contact in regards to potential catering needs for her soon to be open clinic. At the time, I was working as the Culinary Director for Portage Bay Café and Catering. We were finally meeting to discuss all. I knew next to nothing about the clinic, where it would be and what her needs were.  As with most things in life, I approached the meeting with optimism and an open mind.

From the moment we sat down, we hit it off. I don’t remember talking about catering at all. I vaguely recall asking a few questions about the clinic and the conversation just took off from there. Nothing about our time together felt like “work”. It felt like two peers talking about life, shared experiences and growth. I openly and uninhibitedly shared my own path of wellness and self-discovery as well as my personal connection to the work that she does.  The concept she was laying out gave me goose bumps. We chatted for upwards of an hour and towards the end of the conversation she asked me if I’d like to see the space. Without hesitation or even looking at my watch (okay phone, let’s be honest, I haven’t worn a watch in over a decade) I said, “YES”! We walked the block and a half down the street and I had my first glimpse at the bare bones build out that is now Opal.

We wrapped up our meeting and I told her I would be in touch. I left feeling what can only be described as invigorated, the invigoration that comes from inspiration and the feeling of meaningful work on the horizon. I went home that evening and emailed Julie from my personal email account. I said something along the lines of “I want to be a part of this” and “I think that I would be a good fit”. Not Portage Bay, me, on my own. I hit send and the rest is history.

Katie is also a yoga instructorLet me back up a bit to help paint a clearer picture of where I was, both personally and professionally, at the time of this connection. I was working full time for Portage Bay and I loved my job. It nurtured both my creative culinary side as well as my structured, organized, ambitious side. I had also just completed my 200 RYT training with 8 limbs. Between the completion of the yoga certification and some really great work with my Buddhist psychotherapist, I was confronting and overcoming some really major (excuse my language here but) shit. Basically, I was beginning to let go of some unhealthy habits and relationship patterns and getting out of my own way. This was great, but it also had me in a place of turmoil. Even though all things LIFE were becoming clearer, I felt like I had to make a choice to move in one direction in terms of a career path. It was Culinary VS Yoga and Wellness.  I could continue on the Culinary path, or I could branch out into the field of teaching Yoga. Neither felt right. Both had tremendous pros and equally tremendous (and complete opposite) cons. Amidst this internal turmoil, I had been silently playing around with the concept of combining the modalities of yoga, food, nutrition and coaching to help people the way they had helped me. Meeting with Julie gave me the courage and confidence to follow my heart. This could work! I could draw from my years of experience, trainings, and certifications to help others in a holistic way.

So I sent that email. I asked Julie if she was interested in exploring a connection with me, to use my personal email and phone number to continue communicating. She did. We stayed in contact and followed up with numerous emails, phone calls, in-person meetings and tastings. Six months later when Opal opened their doors, I was a part of it, catering meals every week.

Since starting with Opal almost five years ago, my business has evolved from a private chef and small party catering business into services designed to help individuals lead balanced lives.  My offerings include Holistic Life Coaching and my Health and Wellness packages. Amidst all of this, my work with Opal continues to tether me to my path of holistic living. Opal continues to allow me to help others, though in a more indirect manner than with my other services. Though I am not often seen, I am around, slipping in and out in the morning hours to fill the fridge full of fresh, made from scratch organic food. I’ve recently started coming onsite Tuesday evening to assist with the Friends and Family meal. It has been such a great experience to feel a more connected to the work that I know is happening. I leave every Tuesday with that similar high I felt after Julie and I’s first meeting. The feeling of inspiration and work being done.

All in all, I am humbled and grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization. I want to take this moment to thank ALL of Opal for their continued support of me, my business and for being the catalyst that got me out on my own to do the work I was meant to do.  And a special shout out to one Julie Church for unintentionally giving me the push I needed to go follow my instincts with courage, confidence, and clarity and do this great work. THANK YOU!!~

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