Article originally appeared in Wilson County News.
When was the last time you sat down to a relaxing, home-cooked meal?
If you’re like most average folks, chances are slim it’s been any time recent.
In today’s fast-food climate, home-cooked meals have become a thing of the past. Always on the go, families eat on the run, depending on pizza parlors, fast-food restaurants, and microwaved or prepackaged meals.
If you love fresh, home-cooked meals, but time is a precious commodity in your life, we’ve got just the solution: a personal chef.
You might think a personal chef is only for the rich and famous, but that’s just not so, says Nancy Falster, owner of Southern Grace, a personal chef service.
Falster, an experienced gourmet chef, has been traveling to clients’ homes throughout South Texas, bringing back the joy of home cooking without all the hassle, time, and mess.
“With today’s busy schedules, many people are choosing to hire a personal chef much like they hire a housekeeper or lawn-maintenance crew,” said Falster. “Two-income families are beginning to realize they need help to maintain the family dinner hour — and their health as well.”
Falster travels far and wide in her business. She has traveled to homes in Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, and Wilson counties, to name a few.
Clients have hired Falster for holiday cooking, special anniversary or birthday events, business occasions, or even for everyday meal planning and cooking.
Recently, Falster was in Poth, cooking a romantic dinner for two for Darren and Karrie Dziuk.
A gift from Karrie’s sister, DeAnn Gawlik — who hustled off the Dziuk’s children to grandma’s house — the couple came home from a long, tough day at work to find a hot, delicious meal waiting and a personal chef to serve them.
The menu included marinated shrimp kabobs and hot, freshly baked bread for appetizers, Italian seasoned salad greens tossed with raspberry balsamic dressing (organic, no less), Bavarian pork sirloin smothered in ale and mushroom sauce, sautéed fresh vegetables drizzled with lemon butter, golden potatoes Anna, and deluxe cheesecake topped with cherries. Falster capped off the meal with a fine red wine.
For this particular dinner, Falster decorated the table with romantic candles and rose petals, compliments of the Floresville Flower Shop.
But romantic dinners are just one aspect of Falster’s personal chef services.
In addition to creating and cooking nutritious, tasty meals for special occasions, Falster caters to clients who depend on her to prepare dinners for a week or more.
It works like this: Falster sits down with each client for a personal consultation. Falster plans the menu specially designed to meet individual clients’ needs, based on their particular likes and dislikes or dietary requirements. A “cook day” is then scheduled.
On the morning of the cook day, Foster shops for all ingredients she needs for your particular meal — “to have the freshest available,” she notes — and comes to your kitchen. She even brings all her own equipment.
Meals are then prepared, say for a week, and placed in individual containers, marked carefully with heating instructions. Clients can then heat up a meal any time they please or have Falster serve it up, if they prefer.
Menus range from simple down-home cooking, to elaborate gourmet meals, depending on a client’s particular tastes.
Seasonal examples of menu items include mouthwatering gourmet choices such as pecan-crusted baked salmon, pumpkin bisque with crusty croutons, or bouillabaisse with homemade French bread, to the simple but delectable meatloaf, beef stroganoff, chili and corn bread, and much more.
All meals are carefully planned according to the specific palate of each individual client, and Falster herself handles all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. All her clients have to do is sit back and enjoy.
“I am not selling food,” said Falster. “I am selling a personalized service … to those who recognize the value of their time.”
Falster, whose interest in culinary art stems from her younger days when she cooked for her mother, is a member of the American Personal Chef Association. Previously working at Earl Abel’s and Crumpets in San Antonio, Falster once operated a mobile kitchen called The Biscuit Basket.
She and her husband, Karl, own Falster Farms in Cibolo, where they practice organic farming methods with their beef, poultry, and fresh produce.
If you’d like to learn more about personal chef services, contact Falster at 210-658-9437 or visit her Web site, www.SouthernGrace.biz