Emily Frank hasn’t been to culinary school or worked fancy restaurants. She hasn’t even worked in the restaurant business much. After moving to Boston and Chicago, she worked in the print industry for 15 years, slowly building up a catering business on the side. That side business evolved into a portion-controlled, fresh-to-order meal delivery service.
“That was when I really discovered that I loved cooking and was good at it,” Frank says. “I’m not trained by any means professionally, but it’s just something I picked up and enjoyed doing.”
Frank’s latest venture, C’est Cheese
, is a labor of love that celebrates her close family (who inspired many menu items), her love of cooking and the budding Cincinnati food truck movement. C’est Cheese, which isn’t yet cruising the streets, does have a menu ready to go. That menu is pretty simple: grilled cheese in 20 varieties, tomato soup and a seasonal soup.
Frank especially recommends two sandwiches on the menu, including the Hollywood, which comes with grilled hot dogs, American cheese and pickled vegetables. Frank admits it “sounds so bizarre,” but has been a focus-group favorite. The Bad Girl (three cheeses, a drizzle of honey and homemade raspberry sauce on French bread) is another favorite, and honors Frank’s current status as a finalist at Bad Girl Ventures.
Until the truck is ready, Frank is serving sandwiches for special events, parties, focus groups, office get-togethers and anything and everything else. Her only regret is that she didn’t come home sooner.
“It was a big change. I resisted it for a long time, but now I’m kicking myself. I have a 20-month-old nephew that was a catalyst for me coming back,” she says. “I knew that if I wanted to start my own business, I could afford to do that a little easier in Chicago or Boston where I was before, but it’s also important for me to play an active role in my community, and it was easier to do that in Cincinnati. After 15 years, I was ready to come home.”
By Robin Donovan