I am a weekly personal chef for a lovely couple in La Grange. They like to eat healthy, with lots of flavor and no processed ingredients. I cook for the with lots of protein and bright fresh vegetables. I make an extra portion of each meal, and pack them up for his lunch, which makes it much easy for him to eat healthy at work, and avoid eating out so often. This week I made Thai Beef Curry with Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower, Oven Baked BBQ Ribs with Bacon Chipotle Baked Beans, Roasted Green Beans with Pine Nuts, Apricot Rosemary Glazed Chicken, Skinny Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus with Fennel Pollen. Eating fresh healthy food is helping him to lose weight and feel great! Eating well is so easy when you have a personal chef!
As a personal chef, I am always on the lookout for interesting seasoning blends, to elevate simple roasted vegetables, chicken or fish. One of my new favorites is Trader Joe’s Onion Salt. I had seen this, and passed it by, because I thought it was regular onion salt. I then realized that it is a really great blend of different onions, including chives and scallions. I have been using it on simple roasted potatoes, on baked salmon filets, on asparagus and roasted green beans. Recently I used it for croutons, which was a nice addition! Dried bread cubes, slowly cooked in butter and olive oil, with some smashed garlic cloves, and a liberal sprinkling of this onion salt. Delicious. This was for my regular clients in Chicago who are a family of four. She’s a busy mom always looking for time saving tips. Having a personal chef helps her keep it all together, with two cute active toddlers!
My longtime clients in Highland Park have used me as their personal chef for many years! They are currently on the Whole30 plan. In a nutshell, that means they are eating lots of meat, vegetables, fruit. Similar to a Paleo diet, the Whole30 plan includes no sugar, no legumes, no processed ingredients, no dairy. On this week’s menu was Balsamic Glazed Vegetables, Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin (tip: Walnuts do not stick to pork without something to hold the there. A sugar-free chutney would be perfect here.) I also made Banger Sausage Patties with Sweet Potato Mash and Caramelized Onions (Delicious! One note: caramelized onions take a long time. Not 15 minutes! They have to be cooked very slowly, on low heat until they are caramelized, which can take 45 minutes or an hour and half or so.) Watermelon Salad, Whole30 Sloppy Joe Bowls, Chia Pudding, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Shepherd’s Pie, Chimichurri Beef Kabobs were also on the menu! I also stocked their refrigerator with Whole30 compliant snacks, such as Deviled Eggs, Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce, Shredded Roasted Chicken Breast and lots of cut up raw vegetables! They always tell me how much easier Whole30 is to follow when you have a personal chef!
I have been blessed to cook for some wonderful retirees in Riverside for several years! They love American standard comfort food: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Apple Pie, etc! On this week’s menu for them, I made Oven BBQ Meatballs, Lasagna, Oven Fried Chicken, and Blueberry Cobbler (I have used this recipe a million times from Epicurious. It’s called “Bill’s Blueberry Cobbler” and it’s really great; probably due to the large amount of butter! It makes it so crispy around the edges!) I always try to make a few nice fresh vegetables for the Mrs. (the Mr. only likes one vegetable: canned green beans! Which I am more than happy to make him!) But for her, I make simple, but unusual vegetable sides like Asparagus with Fennel Pollen and Pine Nuts, Zucchini and Summer Squash with Brown Butter and Rosemary, Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Roasted Grape Tomatoes.
One of my new weekly personal chef clients is a lovely family in Downers Grove. They have an adorable three year old, and are expecting another baby. They love family style cooking. It’s so much fun to cook for an expectant mom with cravings! This week, she had a taste for a sweet and salty dessert. She saw a recipe on Pinterest that sounded good to her: Chocolate Chip Potato Chip Cookies. Her daughter’s special request this week was Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies! Also on the menu were Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Hashbrown Casserole (Yum! To me, this is Christmas Morning kind of food. I love cooking this way to help an expectant mom satisfy her craving!). I have such a great mix of clients, it makes my job as a personal chef so fun! Some are super healthy (Paleo, Whole30, low carb, no sugar…) Some are seniors who need a personal chef to make them simple comfort food and some, like this family just need a personal chef to cook as a time-saver on the nights they would rather relax!
I am so grateful to be able to be a personal chef for one of my newest clients, who is going through treatment for a serious illness. She doesn’t always have much of an appetite, but the first day I cooked for her I got a nice text message from her sister saying she ate all of her dinner for the first time in a long time! On this week’s menu, (She also happens to have Celiac disease, so everything is Gluten-free!) I made Tahini Roasted Vegetables, Venetian Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon and Parsley, Indian Butter Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower with Mustard Seed and Turmeric, Mixed Berry Cobbler, Pan Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary, and lots of healthy snacks like Granola bars and Hummus to help her keep her strength up!
My long time clients in Highland Park told me they had no idea how they would have stayed on the Whole30 program without a personal chef! This week from the Whole30 cookbook, I made for them: Chimichurri Beef Kebobs and Balsamic Glazed Vegetables, which were both big hits. As were the Watermelon Salad and the Grilled Coconut-Curry Chicken. Their refrigerator is now stocked with Whole30 compliant, bright, healthy food!
One of my Burr Ridge personal chef clients who lives in buys her meat at the farmers market, and then has me come and cook with it. She recently bought goat meat; I had never cooked with it before! I have been reading articles lately about sustainable-farming advocates touting the benefits and taste of goat meat. I was excited to get a chance to cook with it and taste it.
I made Stuffed Poblano Peppers, in which I usually use ground beef. The goat meat was delicious. Very mild, delicate grassy flavor! It wasn’t gamy in the least. Goat meat has about the same amount of protein as chicken and more iron than beef, so it’s a great healthy meat to cook with. Next time I use it, I will be a little braver in my menu choice, to showcase the delicate soft flavor, which may have gotten lost in the Stuffed Poblano dish, truth be told. (That is what my client and I kind of wanted, being that we weren’t sure how the flavor would go over with her kids, who are picky eaters!) I don’t know how long it will be before you see goat meat in the grocery store, but I will be on the lookout for it in farmer’s market’s and other meat suppliers. Try it, it’s delicious!
I have a new personal chef client in Hinsdale who is gluten free, and doesn’t eat processed food, flour, sugar or sweeteners. She likes to take healthy snacks to work, along with the lunches that I make her. I have been making lots of healthy balls and bars! Using ingredients like cashew butter, almond butter, Trader Joe’s new Mixed Nut Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter, dates, seeds, nuts, I have been able to come up with lots of different options to keep her snack times interesting!
My Highland Park personal chef clients, who I have cooked for for many years, are on the Whole30 eating plan. In a nutshell, that means no sugar, no sweeteners of any kind, no legumes, lots of protein and vegetables! It’s easy when you have a personal chef making the food for you! It might take some research to see which ingredients are Whole30 compliant. You would be surprised to see where sugar can hide; in places where you would never expect it, such as a well known brand of organic chicken broth! Why add sugar to chicken broth? I haven’t the foggiest idea, but I will not be buying that brand, now that I am so accustomed to reading every label! That’s the genius of this eating plan; it really gets you in the habit of reading labels. The food is bright, flavorful and crunchy! And time consuming! But that’s where hiring a personal chef comes in handy!