Catherine New

Chef/Owner

The Clean Plate


In 2011, at the age of 29, Cat New, who was born and raised in San Antonio, found herself reflecting on her place on earth and came to the realization that in order to be happy, she needed to make a serious career change. Taking her stepfather’s advice to heart —“ If you can make a living doing what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life” — Cat decided to pursue the culinary arts.

Although Cat learned to cook by watching her mother —it’s her mom’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes and fried okra Cat would eat as her last meal on earth — Cat had no formal restaurant training when she decided to pursue her culinary dreams. Armed with just her mother’s cast-iron skillet, older than Cat herself, and a whole lot of ambition, Cat started as a line cook at a restaurant in downtown Austin. In Austin, Cat’s home was located between four urban farms which ignited her love affair with locally sourced produce and meats. Soon, she was catering on the side of her restaurant job with her best friend and future business partner Melissa Polinard, and through the catering work, Cat was able to utilize nearly all locally sourced food. As her catering became more and more successful, Cat opened a food trailer with Patrick Fitzsimmons, son of Hugh Fitzsimmons, of Thunderheart Bison. The trailer featured meat straight from Thunderheart Bison Ranch as well as locally sourced produce, bread and spices. Cat decided to move her food trailer from Austin to San Antonio, to provide locally sourced food in a town where she saw it lacking, but also so she could work on her dream: owning a brick and mortar restaurant in San Antonio. In 2013, Cat and Melissa opened The Clean Plate.

The Clean Plate is Cat’s dream come to fruition: an unpretentious, casual restaurant that provides farm to table lunch and dinner fare at affordable prices. The Clean Plate’s mission is to provide clean food that its patrons can eat every day and still feel good. It also is dedicated to not making a profit off the suffering of animals or the land. The Clean Plate only uses meat from animals that were raised with dignity and respect, and the same goes for its produce which is non-GMO and grown in clean soil with sustainable practices. The Clean Plate also prides itself in recycling and composting. And to top it off, The Clean Plate’s food — from its five-cheese garlic mac-and-cheese to its Asian pork belly steamed buns to its roasted fried chicken —is so tasty, you will always clean your plate.