Give a Chef for the Holidays

Give a Chef for the Holidays
Photo by John Anderson

Chez Vous Personal Chef Services, 892-2818

Chef Trish Bales was happily catering Europ­ean-style dinner parties when she began to suffer from gluten intolerance. She ignored her symptoms as long as she could: Being gluten-intolerant simply did not fit in with her career or lifestyle, both of which relied heavily on sumptuous homemade ravioli, baguettes, crostini, and roux-based French sauces.

Bales soon discovered that celiac disease is a serious condition that cannot actually be ignored. She had to learn to cook (and eat) gluten-free. But in a short time, what seemed like an end to her catering business became an asset to it: She found a waiting, hungry market of families who needed gluten-free, allergy-sensitive personal-chef services. In many two-income homes with active, busy children, there was no one to prepare the special meals required. Takeout food, which many such families rely on, is emphatically not an option when gluten intolerance and other food allergies enter the picture.

Bales now works as a personal chef in her clients' homes, coming once a week and preparing a week's worth of meals in one day. Entrées such as beef stroganoff, crispy trout almandine, Texas peach-glazed pork loin, and wild-mushroom lasagna are prepared and stored in the client's refrigerator for easy heating, along with a week's worth of salad with homemade dressing and a variety of side dishes. Salads are as varied as Greek Coun­try Cucumber & Scallions Salad, spinach salad with boiled eggs, turkey bacon and pine nuts, and arugula, chickpea, and miniature toma­to salad. Sides include steamed arti­choke with sauce Louis, mascarpone polenta, Spanish-roasted vegetables, and au gratin potatoes with sage. All of Chez Vous' dishes are gluten-free, and a menu can be created to accommodate a variety of food sensitivities; it is not unusual for Bales to make a week's worth of food that is gluten-free, egg-free, peanut-free, and dairy-free, because that is precisely the kind of cooking that busy parents really need help with. Clients come home to a clean kitchen, a fridge stocked with ready-to-heat meals, and a vase of complimentary flowers.

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