It’s been an exciting culinary roller-coaster ride for chef Colin Murray and hostess Jamie Compton, partners in life and in business. “We’re the prince and princess of the pivot,” she says with a laugh. Together, the Culinary Institute of America graduate and University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business alum, respectively, have a combined 30+ years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Feeling it was time for a change, the duo struck out on their own in 2012. Wandering Kitchen was born out of a vision for a different kind of catering company. “We have evolved from our first vision for the business to our second and now we’re somewhere on our fifth,” notes Murray. “Adapting is key to success in this industry.”
Those visions have led Wandering Kitchen to its current focuses: private chef services and healthy meal deliveries. And with the company’s brick-and-mortar shop at St. Paul’s Keg and Case market (a shared space with their family’s gourmet dog treat company, Barkley’s Bistro), hungry customers can grab chef-prepared breakfasts, salads, entrées and vegetarian options. Wandering Kitchen has officially found its niche in catering to the whole family.
“Our catering is really unique; we allow our clients to be in charge,” Murray says. A Wandering Kitchen event delivers an affordable, restaurant-quality experience that allows the hosts to sit back and enjoy. They also throw the dog a bone when a four-legged foodie is afoot.
While the company has landed coveted catering gigs like the NFL commissioner’s private tailgating party during the Minneapolis-hosted Super Bowl, it is increasingly being tapped for in-home entertaining, from milestone events to family gatherings. “Our menus are very custom, and we truly make everything from scratch,” explains Murray.
As if they didn’t already have enough plates spinning, the pair recently teamed up with the YMCA to provide scratch-made meals to promote children’s health across the region. They also raised more than $84,000 for charities and donated more than 200 pounds of food to the Salvation Army last year. And this may just be the most rewarding pivot for Wandering Kitchen. “As we always say, everyone deserves a seat at the chef’s table,” notes Compton.