Some dreams are conceptualized at childhood. Others arrive in the adolescent and formative years, when a better understanding of “how the world works” is gained. Yet others arrive in adulthood, when we re-ask ourselves: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Enter Valerie Kukahiko, a Utah mother-of-three who dreamed of helping other families, doing what she loved: cooking.
No matter what your kitchen looks like, or how skilled you are in it, most understand that life’s hectic nature can impede on family dinners. Through her own experience, Val understood the appetite for homemade meals that could be ready in minutes, and, better yet, that she could provide them. It all began with a favorite chicken pot pie recipe.
“I created an Instagram page, took some pictures and started selling pies,” Kukahiko explained on her blog, Recipes by Val. “I had friends, family and complete strangers coming to my house to buy dinner, dessert and baby pies.”
In a mere few months the demand outgrew her kitchen, and Crust Club was born. That was in 2016. Two years after opening their shop and commercial kitchen, Kukahiko doubled the square footage, and in February 2020, she and her husband Tyler signed the lease on their drive-thru. The increased business also inspired a recycling program, where customers can leave their boxes, liners and ice packs on their porch on the morning of a delivery, and Crust Club will pick them up.
Kukahiko reflected on her journey in a blog post, saying, “Starting Crust Club has been the hardest, most amazing thing I have ever done. It has pushed, pulled and stretched me in so many ways that I will never be the same. I have learned and grown more than I ever thought I would.”
And grown she has. In June 2020, Crust Club sent out its 200,000th meal, expanded to over a dozen employees and increased their menu to include crustless dinners, soups, sides, cookies and, of course, the pie that started it all.
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