At the end of last year, Ellen Beier, a professional engineer who loved to cook, decided it was time to make the leap and open her own business.
Putting her skills with numbers and measurements to work, she decided to open her own catering business, Engineered Edibles, in the former Doughnut Lounge space in downtown Overland Park.
After four years of working full time as an engineer by day and cooking nights and weekends out of a rented kitchen inside Food Truck Central KC, Beier says she is finally ready to make the jump into catering full-time and is enjoying having a commercial kitchen of her own.
“We signed the lease for our new kitchen space in November and spent the first few months cleaning the kitchen, then we installed two convection ovens and a new stove,” says Beier. “It has 1,500 square feet and a full garage, so a catering van is next on my wish list.”
The space also came with a small retail area in front of the kitchen and a large garage door that can be opened to the sidewalk in front of the space. Beier eventually plans to install a large family-style table and use the room for client tastings, multi-coursed dinners, as a community space and possibly as a culinary incubator for another food business.
She has nicknamed it “The Table.” With the opening of the Overland Park Farmers Market this month, she has started hosting “Rise & Shine Market Breakfast” in her space every Saturday morning from 7 to 10am.
Customers have been lining up out the door for Beier's Saturday breakfast buffets that include one main and one side plus coffee from her ever-changing selection of from-scratch items for only $10.
“I liked the location of this space; we are located directly across the street from the Overland Park Farmers Market,” says Beier. “I just thought it made sense to open up my space and serve breakfast as a way to introduce myself and my food to a larger audience.”
Popular breakfast items on the Saturday morning buffet include Beier's traditional homemade biscuits and gravy. A spin on the classic dish, Colorado Biscuits and Gravy are topped with a gravy made with chile verde, green chilies and ham. Beier also offers a vegetarian breakfast casserole with seasonal ingredients like asparagus and squash. Sides include homestyle potatoes and baked goods like muffins, scones or breakfast bars.
Soon, Beier plans to add a breakfast sandwich served on a bagel with bacon-veggie cream cheese and over-easy eggs to the breakfast buffet. “Strawberries are also in season at the market, so I am thinking about making a fresh strawberry spread without pectin that people can put on biscuits,” she says.
Beier began catering for her family first. She catered her brother’s wedding, and then a cousin’s. She found it relaxing, and a creative outlet from engineering. She believes cooking can tie you to certain people and points in time, and that is ultimately what she is hoping her food can do for others.
“I have always loved to cook, and I know how to cook for an army of people,” she says. “Managing projects as an engineer or as a caterer, at the end of the day, it all comes down to solid project management skills.”
Engineered Edibles & The Table, 7926 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, Kansas, engineerededibles.com