We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeremy Evans and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jeremy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
This is a question I think about on a daily basis. Before starting my business, Kitchen-Man, I was working 60 or more hours a week in one restaurant day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking and, if I were still single, I’d probably still be on that grind. However, when I first met my wife, she already had a 2 year old daughter and I fell in love with both of them instantly. Long story short, I became a family man practically overnight. We got married in August of 2020, then found out in December that we would be adding a baby boy to the family. Obviously, we were super excited and I couldn’t wait to spend as much time with my family as possible. Unfortunately, running a restaurant was making that balance difficult to maintain. I couldn’t just quit my job either, so inspiration struck at just the right moment. I realized I was working twice as much as I used to, because staffing was at an all time low. It also occurred to me that I had experience in almost every type of restaurant. Fine dining, pizza joints, sandwich shops, fast casual, you name it, I’ve spent time behind the line. “Why don’t I just sell myself as a freelance cook to all these hiring restaurants?”, I thought. As soon as that idea hit my brain, I was designing business cards.

“Kitchen-Man: Culinary Hero For Hire”. It was perfect for me, but would it pay the bills? I told a few of my chef friends, and within a month, I was contracting part-time slots in some of Billings most highly rated restaurants. I also had a long-term position at Hilands Golf Club, but they understood my plan and allowed me the flexibilty to continue being Kitchen-Man on the side. By the time my son was born, I was working half as much, but generating more income. I had the time to start taking catering gigs, taught myself how to make macarons and began selling those, and even scheduled some regular cooking classes. Because I was doing all of this on my own, I had the freedom to spend all that extra time with my wife and children. Now, a year later, I’m a stay-at-home dad 3 days a week, side-hustles have become my main source of income, and I’ve discovered talents I never knew I had. Thanks to this wild idea I had a year ago, my work life balance is now in my control and my priority will forever be my family.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I grew up idolizing comic book characters and wanted to be a superhero.

Obviously, that’s not possible, so I decided to follow the family footsteps into law enforcement. After a few years, I realized my personality was a bit too laid-back and goofy for such a serious profession. I sort of stumbled into the kitchen and immediately felt like I had found my second home. Cooks are a bunch of weird, foul-mouthed, hysterical goons and I fit right in. I started in chain restaurants, but as my passion continued to grow, I wanted to learn as much as I could about all the different ingredients, techniques, and styles of cooking that were out there. Over the years, I worked my way from dishasher to line cook and eventually to Executive Chef. Even though I had achieved the ultimate title, something was still missing. I was always associated with a restaurant, but I wanted to make a name for myself. I didn’t have money to open a restaurant, nor did I want to. Then, I noticed every restaurant was always hiring, which opened up a new possibility. I had the experience and I had the connections, so I began selling myself as a fully trained, freelance cook for hire. Suddenly, your friendly neighborhood Kitchen-Man was here to save the day!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve spent my entire life in Billings, Montana, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to find all the hidden gems in my hometown. Obviously, we would hit all my favorite restaurants. Elegant comfort food at the The Marble Table. Quality cocktails and casual fine dining at Walkers. A hot bowl of Pho at Samurai. Custom Poke bowls from Ohana Poke. Then stop by my friend’s, Insieme by Ada, for some authentic, handcrafted, Italian food on the go. I don’t party much anymore, but we’d have to spend one night at the Grandstand for some cold beverages, friendly service, and the best wings in town. Once we ran out of spending cash, we’d head up to the top of the rims and get a look at the entire valley where the city of Billings rests. Day or night, it’s a beautiful view. I love to know where my ingredients come from and meet the people who produce them, so I’d get us a couple VIP tours to some of my favorite local farms and ranches like Swanky Roots, Lady Kate’s Garden, and Miller Ranch Beef. On the last day, I’d probably just take them for a drive around town, like I used to do in high school, and share stories of some of my favorite spots. All the houses I grew up in. The street corners where we’d set up lemonade stands. The empty lots that used to be home to my favorite stores. The rocks behind Skyview High School where my buddies and I used to hangout after school. I think the best way to learn about someone is to hear those stories, visit the places, and meet the people they spend most of their time with.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have tons of shoutouts, but I’ll group them up. First, my wife, Amy, and all of my family for always being on my team. Next, the Billings Social Collaborative, the supportive network of local industry professionals who inspired me into entrepreneurship. Previous chefs and co-workers who have shaped me into the cook that I am today. Lastly, Trevan Sparboe, who is a close friend, business partner, and the dude who mentioned my name for this interview. Without all these connections and interactions, there would be no origin story for Kitchen-Man

Website: fnkitchenman.com

Instagram: fn_kitchen_man

Facebook: Kitchen-Man

Yelp: Kitchen-Man

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.