Made with love

Mary Chin

Photo courtesy of Mary Chin

Mary Chin is a professionally trained chef who was poised to be promoted to sous chef at Terra, a Michelin-star restaurant in St. Helena, when she found out she was pregnant with her first child. “I kind of had to leave the kitchen scene after that,” she says. After moving to Chico and giving birth to a second child nearly four years later, she decided she could still be a mother and follow her passion in the kitchen. Chin decided to open My Oven’s Meals (aka M.O.M.), a prepared-food-for-order business. Customers order at least three meals for the week, with pickups on Mondays. Check for weekly menus and ordering information. Chin recently chatted with the CN&R about her new venture.

Where did you get the idea for this concept?

I kind of wanted to do something where I’m the boss, I can write my own menu, decide what I want to prepare. A friend had showed me some other prepared-food companies that are here in Chico and said, “I think you can do that.” I’ve been stirring with it for about a year.

How many meals would you say you make in a week?

So far, I’m averaging around 60 meals a week. We have about 10 to 12 orders, and people order multiple meals with that. Some people order three meals, some people order one of each every week.

How does your menu vary?

I change my menu every week. If people have favorites, I try to integrate them back in each month. I try to keep everything pretty seasonal. I have some farmers that tell me what they have available. So, I kind of base it on that. I try to mix chicken and beef and pork around. Some people don’t eat pork; some people don’t do chicken thighs. I try to blend that through the month. I do a couple vegetarian options, and I play around with some vegan options as well.

So you work with local farmers?

It’s probably about 50/50. I get a lot of produce from Pyramid Farms. Then I have a family farmer out in Durham where I get some produce, too. I do the Chico State ag for beef. Currently, I am working with Del Monte to get my chicken and pork. I just made a connection with Massa Natural Meats—they’re going to start doing chickens in the spring, and I hope to use them in our poultry dishes. I also recently made a connection with a cattle farmer out in Glenn County. I am hoping to have a 200-mile radius of all my vendors. Staying local is so important.

Any thoughts of a brick-and-mortar?

At the moment, no. I like what I am doing now. I took this on so I could keep my full-time job as mom, and part-time job as chef.