Renowned chef Derek Ronspies and designer/marketer Cat Biggar recently moved to North Kitsap and found there weren’t too many fine-dining and locally sourced options in downtown Kingston.
So they took it upon themselves to provide that niche to the community.
“Ever since Mossback closed, there’s a strong following of people that are looking for locally sourced and quality made food,” Biggar said.
Ronspies added: “When we came to Kingston, we noticed a lack of food in the area. I think there’s a lot of new people moving out here. I think change is always on the horizon. I think there’s a little bit of a market for it. There’s a lot of people that love our food.”
The duo, who live together in Miller Bay, started Black Goat Supperclub during COVID-19 to provide private dinners for small groups. They do not have a storefront so they bought a food truck called the Black Goat Test Kitchen where they make food and then hold supper club events outside during the summer, typically partnering with a local brewery, distillery, winery or cidery. The supper clubs are held a few times a week and consist of about 12 people, and they have to reserve their spot on the business’ Instagram page.
“It’s a dinner where everyone gets together and meets new people,” Ronspies said. “It’s a communal table.”
The grand plan is to open two storefronts in downtown Kingston — a market/hotel where the Old Kingston Hotel used to be, and another at the old Kingston Mercantile & Marine building.
They hope to have the market open this month while the hotel is still in the works. The other location is being put on the back burner. The market will consist of their products, products of other local conveyors, along with local beer, wine and cider. It will also be the new location where the supper clubs will be held.
“My background is designing boutique hotels,” Biggar said. “I was in Amsterdam for four years before coming back to the states doing the same thing. Considering that’s my background and first love, I would love to make it something really special.
“They can come to a supper club dinner at the hotel and stay there. The hotel is our main project and eventually, we’ll move our food truck over to the hotel. Two brick-and-mortars and one food truck.”
One of the ideas for the old mercantile location is to offer special niche charcuterie.
“Everything he does is nose to tail, farm to table,” Biggar said of Ronspies. “He uses every part of the animal that he can. A lot of it is about educating the consumer that we don’t need to be wasting so much of the meat in animals, and you can actually make it taste beautiful.
“We want to do that on a larger scale and offer the meat to the public. It’s an old bank building so we want to convert the space into charcuterie chambers.”
While their vision is ambitious, they are the only two employees and are looking for help to get their business going. Biggar does the design, marketing and is the pastry chef. Ronspies has been in the food industry since he was 14 and became a chef when he was 25. He has worked at numerous restaurants nationwide, most recently as head chef of Le Petit Cochon in Fremont, which closed in 2018.
“I’ve always been in kitchens or restaurants. I’ve pretty much worked every position,” he said. “School didn’t teach me much. I would never advise going to culinary school. If you work under the best chefs, you’ll learn how to cook.”
Ronspies described his cooking as “global cuisine. I’m always doing different stuff. I don’t do the same thing twice. It’s all, as much as it can be, from local farmers … I play a lot with textures and flavors. I always want all the components: sweet, salty, sour, bitter. Pork is definitely a number one protein in my opinion.”
Since moving to Kitsap, Ronspies said the positive feedback about their food and supper clubs “has been more than expected. It was the best move we’ve ever done,” Biggars said.