Growing up poor meant no exposure to restaurants. To Rose, restaurants were magical places where everyone got to order what they wanted. After listening to a recruiter for the Western Culinary Institute at a high school job fair, she decided that was the way in. Rose moved to Portland at 19. Living off student loans, she graduated with honors and recommendations from the director.
Once back in the States, finding a job wasn't a problem-she just had to figure out Bend and got the pastry chef job at Broken Top. "It was an ideal job. I had total creative freedom; I loved my boss, David Able, had great benefits, but I felt as though I had taken the job as far as I could. I was dying to sink my teeth into a new challenge," says Rose about her decision to leave Broken Top after three years. While brainstorming with a friend, Rose came up with the concept "amazing lunch online" and 12 O'clock Tart was born.
Rose describes it as " a unique niche, a streamlined way to order fresh, seasonal food without leaving your office, recruiting others for a bulk order, or having to time your lunch break with others in the office." The entire system runs through her website (12oclocktart.com): menu choices, orders, and payments. It is a seamless system that allows the diner to have more freedom than conventional delivery services or ordering take-out food.
The only caveat is that orders must be placed by 10am, which has been the biggest obstacle to the expansion of the business. "It's a process of rethinking ingrained behavior. Instead of pulling the paper menu out of the drawer at 11:45, it's getting people to plan ahead for lunch."
Not to say Rose isn't busy. An unexpected part of her business has taken off: traditional corporate catering. Orders for business lunches, conferences, seminars and brokers' open houses are so abundant that she turns down as many as she takes.
But that's not the part of the business she really wants to succeed - it's the online lunch delivery feature that she's most focused on. She now knows that there is a learning curve for customers to start thinking about lunch right after they eat breakfast, but she believes her product will turn people around. She prepares inspired seasonal food, which changes monthly. Things like a strawberry, turkey and brie sandwich; a cobb salad with big chunks of turkey and peppered bacon; roasted green onion soup, and cream brulee are just a few selections from the 12 O'clock Tart menu. And to reward your conscience, Rose uses all green products: compostable cutlery and paper products from corn, potato and sugar cane fibers; she composts all food waste, and gives all leftover prepared food to Neighbor Impact and also donates her facilities to the organization for sanitizing their food storage bins.
To further help the communities' needy, Rose is hosting "Network Blankets Bend," a fundraiser to benefit Project Homeless Contact, a group that takes blankets, tents and warm clothing to folks living without permanent shelter. Through the Network of Entrepreneurial Women, the evening of music, wine and food will be staged at the 12 O'clock Tart location, 147 NE Olney Ste. 2, dressed up in "industrial chic". The event is Dec 3 and the price of admission is a $25 ticket (available on www.networkwomen.org) and a warm blanket.