The Kitchen Mom of Metabolic Meals

by Meghan Kahnle

by Meghan Kahnle

Updated Dec 15, 2023

Reading Time:

Chances are, we’ve all encountered one of those people that make you feel instantly comfortable. Their presence is warm and light, they hold space for whatever is on your mind, supportive listening is clearly one of their superpowers and you always walk away feeling 10 times better and wondering how on earth that magic works! 

Janice, one of the Production Chefs at Metabolic Meals, is one of those people. I had the opportunity to catch up with our famous Kitchen Mom, hear how she ended up at Metabolic Meals, and a little on how she came about that magic.  

Meg: How long have you been with Metabolic Meals and what does your job entail?  

Janice: I do a lot of the prep work for the recipes and other chefs in the kitchen. I can also run some ovens and do a little bit of everything back there just to help the guys and keep things running. 

M: How about the things beyond your job title? I think I heard you were also the Kitchen Mom? 

J: Haha yeah, I am. I’m much older than the rest of the guys, at least 20 to 25 years. So I’m kind of the mom in there and I really enjoy it. The guys are wonderful, you know, they’re just a great bunch of people to work with.  

M: Are there any Kitchen Mom duties that are not in your job description that that come up? 

J: I’m in charge of birthday parties. I enjoy decorating the staff room for everybody, and baking something so the whole building can come back and nibble on whatever. And I’m there to listen to the guys too you know, around about everything. It’s important, some of the guys they need somebody to just listen, you don’t have to say anything, just listen. So I’m there for them. Whatever they need, Janice is there. 

M: That’s incredibly valuable, and when you say you bake things, what do you bring in?  

J: Well, I ask the guys first, “what’s your favorite dessert, and I’ll make it for you.” We’ve had banana pudding, certain cookies, you know, whatever they ask for I’ll look it up and find the recipe and make it for them. I really enjoy baking.  

M: That all sounds delicious. How about any challenges you’ve faced?  

J: Being a woman, physically, I can’t lift a lot of things, so they’re always there to help me. We’re normally lifting several 100 pounds a day each, so that’s a lot. And sometimes there are times when I need a little bit of help. Anytime I ask for anything or for them to show me, they’re willing to do it right then and there. I can’t stress enough what a great crew they are to work with.  

I remember in the beginning, when I came for an interview and Chef took me in the back and it was all men, I kind of thought, “oh boy, the only female, and I’m the oldest” because they were all young–I told my husband “I really have to prove to these guys that I can do this job right along with them.” A couple of them, I have to admit had doubts, but I proved that I could do just exactly what they were doing in the kitchen. I got their respect and I’ve been here almost six years. I think I’m the first woman that was hired back there, so I’m pretty proud of that too. 

M: Oh my gosh yes, that’s fantastic!  

J: Like I said, it’s a good group of guys. You know, you couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to work with, and it just makes all the difference, right? I like my job and I like the people I work with.  

M: I love hearing that, and what led you to Metabolic Meals in the first place?  

J: I worked for 13 years as a supervisor for the sandwich and salad portion of another company and decided I wanted to retire at 62. So I did, and then about a month and a half after I retired, a young lady that I used to work with called me up because she was working here and said they needed help. After that month and a half of retirement, I was kind of bored, so I came in to interview and here we are.  

M: The rest is history, and did I hear Chef say you were going to retire again at the end of the month? What are we going to do without you Janice?  

J: Yeah, at the end of the month, the 28th is my last day. I told them that if they let me, I’ll come up every once in a while, and bring some baked goods and see how they’re doing. There’s a couple of guys that I’m close to and we’re going to meet once a month and have lunch or dinner just to keep in contact.  

I’m also looking forward to working in my yard. I love gardening, planting flowers, tomato plants, cucumbers, just working in the yard. I love to read fantasy, romance, clean the house–I’m kind of a stickler about my house. And at my age, I want to get rid of stuff, I don’t need a lot of stuff and I want to declutter. 

M: That sounds like a wonderful way to spend time. 

J: Yeah, I think so. My husband is turning 65 in August, but he plans on working a couple more years. He loves to work and he’s in the shoe business. He just returned from a factory in India, he’s been to China too, and once he’s retired, we want to do a lot more traveling together.  

M: Oh, what locations are on the list?  

J: Well, my dad was in the Air Force so we did a lot of traveling all around the states when I was younger, but my husband and I would love to go to Yellowstone. There’s a lot we’d like to check out, but that’s our number one spot.  

M: What a solid start to retirement. So, most of your earlier travel was with your family through your dad’s work?  

J: Yes, my dad was in the Air Force for 25 years, and my two brothers and brother in-law as well joined the service. There’s six of us kids, I was the oldest, so I did a lot of babysitting and I guess that was my thing in life– to take care of people and offer up support.   

M: Sounds like you do a great job. How about any parting thoughts or advice for the youngins here at Metabolic Meals?  

J: Gosh, just keep doing what they’re doing, you know, that’s all I can say–because they’re such a great group of guys and they do such a good job.  

Extra big thank you to Janice! There is no question we have been lucky to get to work with her, share the time, enjoy all the treats, and experience the magic she has brought to the kitchen.  

Pin It on Pinterest