In February, I sat down with our very own Kate Rench to find out what drives her career and fuels her spirit. For those of us who have already had the pleasure of dining at her restaurant, Café Diva, we have tasted her success for ourselves. But I wanted to introduce the real person that is Kate with our guests. Behind her decadent dishes and formal chef attire lies a female powerhouse determined to make her day to day life as exciting as her menu.
Occupation: Co-owner and chef at Café Diva
Birthplace: Darien, CT
Pets: Two black labs, Milo and Makita
Last Book You Read: “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
Favorite Album: “The Wall” by Pink Floyd
Perfect Day: An entire day of bike riding with my husband, Craig..
Race Day Breakfast: Eggs and toast
Backpack necessity: Honeystinger
What did you want to be when you grew up: An artist
Bucket List Item Still to Be Checked Off: I want to spend time eating my way around New Orleans.
One thing most people don’t know about you: I have a tattoo of a spatula.
What is Food to You: Family. It brings people together.
Around town, she is Kate Rench, chef and co-owner of Steamboat’s most successful bistro, Café Diva. But to her closest friends, she is simply “Cheffie” a pint sized bundle of energy who lives every day to the fullest and encourages those around her to do the same.
Growing up in Connecticut, Kate developed her love for cooking very early on. While some were pretending to be princesses or superheroes, Kate preferred to role play as Julia Child in her mother’s kitchen. Though a passion for food was an integral part of her childhood, Kate earned her BFA in ceramics at Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire before studying at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. When asked to compare her culinary style with an artistic movement, Kate replied, “Impressionism.” She enjoys taking slivers of inspiration from multiple dishes and combining them to create something unique which contains a mere echo of its former self.
Arguably the most surprisingly delicious creation Chef Kate has constructed for the Diva menu is her Peanut Butter and Bacon sandwich, a spinoff of a childhood treat. “I grew up making peanut butter and bacon sandwiches with my dad…It was our Sunday treat.” Unlike her father’s version, Kate’s is lavishly prepared by layering rich raisin toast, Thai peanut sauce, braised pork belly, and Sriracha. The result is an amalgam of flavors that leaves food connoisseurs curiously anticipating their second course.
When she isn’t in the kitchen, Kate spends her free time outdoors. An avid skier and cyclist, she continually challenges herself and those around her to go further, faster. Kate Rench is the epitome of what it means to live the Steamboat lifestyle. She works hard and plays harder. Her energy is intoxicating, matched only by her brilliant laughter.
The next time you are in town, make a date to visit Cheffie and the rest of the crew at Café Diva. You won’t be disappointed.