Nikki Galea Franz has cooked for others most of her life, and her downtown apartment is ground zero for good eats.
"I basically have a revolving door. Any given day people are eating dinner with us. And I have a Sunday brunch with about 15 people here," said Franz.
Franz, who has no formal culinary training, has been dubbed "Chef Nikki" by friends and family who encouraged her to start her own business over the years.
"They'd say 'You should do a catering business or do party planning.' I thought about it, but didn't take it that seriously," she said.
That all changed after the housing bubble burst. Franz had spent several years in various aspects of the real estate business, but decided to go for her true passion after becoming a real estate agent in this down economy.
"I was stuck in a rut," she said. "My friends said 'You need to cook. Figure out a way to cook.'”
And so Crock of Love was born, a personal crock pot based cooking business where Franz brings flavorful, sometimes untraditional, crock pot meals to individual homes.
"It really was an idea that turned into reality pretty quickly. I've had overwhelming support," said Franz, who launched the business in late October.
Franz runs the business solo and makes a weekly menu. Though she chooses the meals, she will work with customers who have special dietary needs. Meals are delivered to homes Monday through Thursday and include lunch and dinner.
"I bring the crock pot to your house, and put the meal it together. It cooks there and you tell me when you want to eat dinner," she said.
Prices for the service range depending on how many days a week and how many servings you request. Crock of Love has meal packages for two or four days a week, and for two, four or six servings. Meal plans are sold for a month at a time. They come with desert and bread - Franz's 77-year-old Northern Kentucky aunt is the bread maker.
To feed four people, four days a week (64) meals, the cost is $500 or $7.81 per meal.
The meals, which are all made from scratch, aren't just traditional crock pot meat and potatoes either. Previous dishes include Moroccan braised beef with couscous, garlic and herb stuffed tilapia and chicken cordon bleu.
"I try to keep food really delicious and really simple," she said.
Crock of Love delivers inside the I-275 loop and special discounts are available if you live downtown or refer a customer in your neighborhood.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Nikki Galea Franz, owner Crock of Love