Monday Jul 23 2012
Personal chef provides at-home or at-business meals
By: Margaret Snider, Telegraph Correspondent
Nicole Craine, of El Dorado Hills, and her partner Megan Poppert, of River Pines in Amador County, have been running their catering business, Bleu Rosemary Personal Chef and Specialty Foods, for a year. They are personal chefs who go to clients? homes or businesses and prepare meals that can be eaten immediately or refrigerated and frozen so a busy family can sit down together and enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal. Craine blogs at www.thejunkfreechef.blogspot.com and the business?s Facebook page can be found by searching ?Bleu Rosemary.? For more information, call (916) 606-2613. For Craine, this is a dream job and a passion. Did you ever think you would be a chef? When I was a child I wanted to be a teacher. Being a chef, or even cooking for that matter, never even crossed my mind. It wasn?t until I was a young adult in college, when it became a quick reality that learning to cook was an important skill for my health and wellbeing. I became very interested in cooking healthy meals and started reading cookbooks and practicing healthy recipes using fresh ingredients. I did move into the field of public education and worked for San Juan Unified District in Sacramento County for 16 years. How did your business get started? The idea of cooking in people?s homes was born when friends and family would constantly ask my childhood best friend Megan Poppert and I to cook for parties and special events. Soon friends of friends began to ask if they could hire us to cook for their families and even teach cooking lessons in their homes. Megan and I decided to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts with the intention of graduating and beginning a small personal chef business. We graduated with honors in 2011 and obtained our business license for Bleu Rosemary Personal Chef and Specialty Foods. What are some of your favorite cookbooks? My favorite cookbook is the one my Grandmother made for me when I decided to go to culinary school. She took time to collect recipes from her own collection, her mother?s collection and from every other member of our family from my parents to my cousins and everyone in between. It is a cherished heirloom I feel so lucky to have. My favorite published cookbook is Eating Local by Janet Fletcher. This is such a lovely book that I have literally cooked every dish from it. It focuses on farm fresh ingredients and the execution of simple, fresh and flavorful food. What are some of your favorite restaurants in El Dorado Hills? We don?t eat out often, but every Friday you can find us enjoying the frozen treats at Yogaberry. It?s one of our favorite family rituals. Also, at least once a month we love to bike ride or walk to the town center and go to Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co, where chefs Fredrick and Charles Knight turn out some of the tastiest gourmet hot dogs . . . And finally, when my husband and I want a date night, Sienna is where you will find us, enjoying good food and their fabulous signature cocktails. My favorite is the chilitini. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Provence, France ? the region is so breathtaking from the dramatic coastline to the mountains, and all of the lavender fields and olive groves. Not to mention two of my very favorite things, wine and cheese. I would love to someday visit a French goat dairy in the dry hills around Banon. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? It would be incredible to have the power to heal, for obvious reasons. There is so much sickness and suffering in the world, to be able to provide relief in any way to someone who is suffering would be amazing. What is your favorite meal in the world? I love food with rich Mediterranean flavors and sea food is my favorite. So, I would have to say the classic Provençal fish stew, Bouillabaisse. ... That said, I love our family Sunday dinner of classic roasted chicken and grilled vegetables from our garden just as much.