Photo by Kerry Brett
Courtney Doyle, owner of Clandestine Kitchen, is a wife, mom of 3 amazing kids, a Hingham resident and activist for our community. Originally from Seattle, Courtney then moved down to San Francisco and finally landed in Hingham 14 years ago. A lifelong lover of food, Courtney began making family meals around age 10 and realized it was her passion in her early 20’s. A self-taught home cook, working downstairs from the uber-inspirational Chuck Williams at Williams Sonoma, Inc in the Bay Area, was the catalyst to igniting a future culinary career ambitions and love of healthy, natural and organic foods. In addition to her love of cooking, Courtney loves sports (football and basketball are personal faves), enjoys the outdoors and being active, and has an intense love for the ocean, beach and all things “summer” (we also hear that Courney is along a lover of wine, sweatpants and Netflix which makes us adore her even more).
Hingham, Meet Courtney.
What inspired you to start Clandestine Kitchen?
When I moved to Massachusetts, one of the hardest adjustments was the lack of available healthy and clean food sources. Though organic farms did exist, they weren’t well-publicized, no one was talking about juice bars, wheatgrass, avocado toast (nope, that’s not a new phenomenon), meditation, organic wines or “cleansing”. Total body wellness was a way of life out on the west coast and I knew I wanted to help raise awareness, bring accessibility, and fit the pieces together for our community to embrace the concept and experience how awesome your body can feel when it runs on clean nutrition.
What is the mission of Clandestine Kitchen?
Clandestine Kitchen is a “total body wellness” brand, fusing together clean nutrition with other important facets of healthy living such as fitness, beauty, fashion and surrounding oneself with good, positive vibes. By bringing community leaders together to provide a one-stop resource for complete and total health and wellness, CK’s mission to promote a healthy and positive lifestyle is applicable to all people, in every town, that seek to embrace a lifetime of nutrition and wellness while staying true to the “everything in moderation” mantra that allows for the moments in life to live freely and indulge. CK is not a diet or a quick-fix – it’s a commitment to fostering total body wellness including mental health, self-care and to give the body the opportunity to recover and heal itself through clean eating and nurturing the body, mind and soul.
What are your goals for the future of the company?
We are in the process of growing our home and corporate meal delivery programs and establishing our “community blueprint” - our Wellness Tribe series of workshops, blog posts, community events and support - so that we can grow CK beyond Hingham, throughout the south shore, and eventually to all communities both home and abroad. Finding our own brick-and-mortar space(s), growing our team and expanding our offerings is on the horizon for the near future. Launching our CK “CLEAN EATS” cookbook is also an ongoing project and I am thrilled to work with amazing chefs all over the country and capture our journeys and passions with stunning photography by local artist, and friend, Kerry Brett. Our ongoing partnerships with local organic farms (Holly Hill Farm and Garden to Garnish Farm, just to name a few) inspire us to use local, seasonal products and our new partnership with Ralph’s Hingham Wine Merchant is another stepping stone to expanding our “table” to include selections of organic and low-sugar wines to pair with our fresh, local offerings.
What is your favorite meal to cook for your family?
My family’s favorite meal is tacos! Grilled chicken tacos, marinated shrimp tacos, grass-fed beef tacos and, my personal fav, vegetarian tacos, are happening at our house on a regular basis (we have an awesome clean & spicy margarita recipe on our website that pairs perfectly with all of the above, too!).
What is your favorite restaurant in Hingham?
My favorite restaurants in Hingham are Crows Landing (the new greens & grains bowls are awesome when I need a need a night off but want to keep it clean and fresh), Trident for the Ahi Tacos (seriously - have you tried these?!) and Alma Nove because it feels like home when sipping a cocktail at the cozy bar right on the water. My favorite south shore brunch spot is the Rivershed (acoustic Sunday brunch showcases awesome local talent), favorite south shore spot for local cuisine is The Corner Stop (obsessed with their local, organic salads and housemade dressings) and my fav spot in Boston is Neptune (part of the experience is having to kill the hour wait walking in and out of all of the little bars, coffee shops and stores in the North End!).
Who do you find to be the most inspiring person in Hingham?
I am so fortunate that I have 15 inspiring people surrounding me every day. Our CK team and Wellness Tribe is just a giant melting pot of the most thoughtful, talented, strong, capable, loving and kind-hearted people in this town. How lucky am I?
If you could pass along one message to your 21 year-old self, what would it be?
If I could pass along a message to my 21-year old self it would be to believe in yourself and never compromise. Its tough to embrace when you are just starting out, learning more about who you are and what you need to be happy. I suppose it now is less about going back in time for myself and more about raising my daughter to be strong, proud and confident.
When presented with two options, when did you make a choice that totally changed the course of your life?
Throughout my life, there have been many cross-roads but the biggest fork in the road for me was choosing to pack a suitcase, drive down to SF at age 21, sublet an apartment all by myself, jump into the deep end at an international “dot com” and just go for it. It changed my life and I can’t imagine who I would be without that experience - or where my heart would be without the canopy of Muir Woods and the shadow of the Golden Gate bridge.
What is the most memorable moment of your career?
The most memorable moment of my CK career (so far) was hiring my first employee, Cathy Reilly, and our late nights and early mornings in our commissary kitchen. I remember thinking how much I loved her passion for CK and being in awe of her commitment to the vision and the dream. Now, I get to be inspired and motivated by Cathy, my sister Brittany, Kate (LaVigne) and Court (Ruccio) in the kitchen every day. Our inside jokes and laughs are what it’s all about - if you aren’t having fun, what’s the point? We practice what we preach and all of our food is made with positive vibes in a positive environment.
What do you love most about Hingham?
I love Hingham so much for the opportunities my children have to thrive in this town. The education, the sports, the community service opportunities, and the fact that we are all here to create that “village” that raises healthy, happy kids together. I couldn’t do what I do without my awesome network of friends, colleagues and the support of the community.
Favorite local spot?
My favorite spot in Hingham is the Shipyard. I am lucky enough to be able to walk out my door and hear the sounds of the harbor, the fog horns from the ferries, watch the sunrise and steal a few quiet moments alone, with my dog, or with my family and truly recharge for a even just a few minutes each day. I really do pinch myself and say “I am so blessed” pretty much every day.
Favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot is anywhere tropical (Hawaii, St. John, etc) and I will take heat and sunshine over snow and cold any day of the year (though, I do still feel pretty lucky to live here even on the days covered in snow and ice). We often hop a flight out to Arizona to visit family and the desert has a magical vibe all it’s own that speaks to me as well (and….tacos).
What's one thing people may not know about you?
One thing people may not know about me is that my childhood revolved around playing basketball/sports and my dad actually played football in the NFL. I played basketball in China one summer and it was one of the most challenging, and life-changing, things I have ever done. Sports speaks it own language and you don’t have to come from the same place on the globe to have an immediate bond with total strangers. It is so much fun to see my own children loving their experiences with team sports - the bonds and friendships they are forming, the challenges, the celebration, the disappointment, the lesson about what “sportsmanship” truly means - it will shape their lives and inspire them, like it did for me. Plus, it’s pretty sweet being able to “drain 3’s” with your kids in the driveway when you get home from work 🙂