Nancy Hucks grew up loving good food — specifically bleu cheese salad dressing — because of her mother's affinity for it. Her parents, Claude and Dora Little, opened a steakhouse in Mooresville called The Little Kitchen in 1968. Mrs. Little had been working on her own bleu cheese salad dressing recipe for some time, and it came into fruition as it was served for the first time to the public at the restaurant.
Nancy, along with her husband Cliff, started up Kathryn's Cottage Kitchen in 2009 after a year of preparation. It is based upon her mother's original recipe of bleu cheese dressing. The husband and wife team perform all of their own marketing and distributing. They have five local vendors that supply their products in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties.
After a year of seeing sales consistently increase, they have carefully added to their product line. It now includes a cookbook, aprons, an olive and cream cheese spread, Thousand Island dressing and her mother's original recipe for chicken salad which is hand-pulled and made fresh every Thursday.
While deciding on business name Nancy chose the family name of Kathryn, which she shares with her sister and her maternal grandmother, along with cottage from her background in real estate. Her usual occupation is as a real estate agent in the Lake Norman area.
In 2008 the last restaurant that was still serving the now famous salad dressing closed, and left many wanting and wondering what would become of the area's most celebrated food topping. Nancy saw an opportunity arise.
Creative Loafing: What is your favorite childhood memory with your family?
Nancy Hucks: In the restaurant business you don't cook a whole lot, so we would go to the restaurant (Little's) at night and have dinner (alone). I would have a salad with bleu cheese dressing and a piece of prime rib.
What is the process of making your mother's home-made salad dressing like?
My husband and I make it. We make five gallons at a time, once or twice a week. It's an upper end dressing — very expensive to make it. We use all of the finest ingredients. We do not cut corners. We use exactly what Mother used — the same amount, the same spices. Everything is the same as the way she made it.
Where did your mother get her love for bleu cheese?
We loved to eat out once a week in Charlotte at Swain's steakhouse across from WBTV. They had the best bleu cheese dressing and Mother just loved it. Every time we would go she would ask them what's in it. She finally figured out what she thought it had and made up her own, and it sold like hotcakes in our restaurants.