June – A Time for Burgers and Donuts?

Welcome June! Here’s to great weather and lots of time spent with family around the barbecue grill! Throw a steak on the grill to celebrate National Beef Steak Month. Or get creative and dream up the ultimate burger with a chance to win $50,000 in the “Build a Better Burger with Sutter Home” contest http://www.buildabetterburger.com/ now through August 18. What could be better with the ultimate burger than a cold glass of iced tea (yep, it’s National Iced Tea Month). If your sweet tooth is calling you, go ahead, have a donut on the first Friday in June – it’s the Salvation Army’s National Donut Day. You may well ask “why donuts?” Back during World War I, the Salvation Army offered its service to then President Woodrow Wilson. They created a War Service League, enabling many on the homefront to assist in the war effort by knitting, sewing, etc. However, some Salvation Army personnel, including women, were sent to the front lines in Europe. They conducted religious services, held concerts, and provided a “home away from home” for our soldiers. From limited rations, they chose to make donuts as a special treat, frying up to 9,000 each day. During subsequent wars, a donut from the Salvation Army has been a comforting treat for many a soldier.

Speaking of our soldiers, let us all remember to proudly raise the Stars and Stripes on National Flag Day – June 14.

Bon Appetit!

Chef Glenn Burgess

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Chef Mark Tafoya on the cover of Personal Chef Magazine

PC Magazine Cover

NY Metro Chapter member Mark Tafoya is on the cover of the latest Personal Chef Magazine. It’s the main magazine for our industry, and Chef Mark is honored to have been chosen for it. The article tells the story and the circuitous way he came into being a personal chef.

More images:

Happy man


Photos by Kelly Shimoda/Veras

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Breaking in a New Kitchen

My brother-in-law just built his dream house 2,000 feet up the side of a mountain in North Carolina. By extension, my sister-in-law just built her dream kitchen. It’s a lovely open design, oak cabinets, sage green walls, brand new stainless appliances. The view across the kitchen sink is of a valley with the French Broad River snaking between two mountains, the sound of it’s rushing water a pleasant undertone to the call of birds, the buzzing of hummingbird wings and the rustling of the leaves. I’m most envious of all the cabinets & counter space that she has (why is it that most people with families make do living in a fairly small home, then when the kids are about to leave for college they upgrade to a home four times the size?) And we won’t even discuss her pantries (yes folks, not just one but two pantries….)

When we visited, they were still in the process of unpacking. While they waited for their dream home to be built, they rented a house even smaller than their home on Long Island, so much of their “stuff” has been in storage for nearly two years. My sister-in-law said it was like Christmas all over again, going through boxes and rediscovering all her treasures, unseen for so long.

You can’t put a personal chef in a brand new kitchen and not think he won’t want to cook, so they quickly adapted to me making dinner. It’s my way of thanking them for letting us stay in their home. The paint in the house is barely dry, and I’m trying to replace that new carpet smell with the aromas of roasted chicken and frying bacon.

Speaking of bacon, a trip to the grocery store in North Carolina provided some fresh perspective on the culinary differences between the North and the South. I have never before seen “hog jowl bacon” for sale, but you can find it at Ingles grocery store. Should you need it, you can also buy “cracklins” in a convenient 1lb package. It’s definitely different down there.

At least my sister-in-law actually uses her kitchen. She cooks, she even bakes cookies from scratch. Even my brother-in-law can hold his own; he used to do a lot of the cooking at his firehouse before he retired from the NYC Fire Department. So I don’t begrudge her a kitchen three times the size of mine. Ok, so I’m insanely jealous of her double convection ovens. I’ll get over it. At least until the next time we visit.

Bon Appetit!

Chef Glenn Burgess

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April Food Happenings

Ah, April. It is the first full month of Spring, so naturally we are very happy to be released from winter’s icy grasp; yet we are warned to expect “April Showers” (clearly “May Flowers” had a better PR agent); of course there is April Fool’s Day and everyone knows April 15th is income tax day…..Ah, April. A dubious month indeed! To foodies, April is National Pecan Month, National Soyfoods Month; we can participate in Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale; and those feeling creative in the kitchen can enter Pillsbury Bake-Off® (this year’s grand prize is $1 million). Here’s a few other interesting food happenings from Aprils long ago. April 1873- The first commercially successful margarine manufacturing process was patented by Alfred Paraf of New York. April 1927- Clarence Birdsye patented frozen fish fingers. April 1931 – The Hostess Twinkie was sold for the first time. Did you know it originally featured a banana cream filling? During World War II there was a banana shortage, so they switched to the now familiar “vanilla” cream filling. April 1938 – Teflon was not so much invented as it was accidentally discovered. Du Pont researcher Roy J. Plunkett discovered the chemical compound polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE for short; later marketed as Teflon) in an apparently defective cylinder of perfluoroethylene gas.

April 1954 – The TV Dinner was introduced by Swanson.


Chef Glenn Burgess

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Spring is Here! Cooking With Herbs

Spring is here! What does that mean for me? Clean up all those empty planting containers from the garage that have laid dormant during the winter and start planting my favorite cooking herbs.

I can think of 2 happy memories that hooked me to use herbs. The first was when my husband and I started dating and he showed up at my doorstep with a bunch of fragrant basil instead of flowers. What a great idea…my heart was instantly taken! The second was when I caught an awful stomach bug and couldn’t keep food down. At the end of the second day I was so desperate that I took the advice of a co-worker to mix equal parts of cardamom, fennel, and mint. It tasted awful but it did the trick in just a couple hours. There are so many useful properties of herbs that go beyond potpourri, aromatherapy or garnish. For cooking, herbs can be used as a tenderizer, coloring, flavoring, and to improve health. It’s a smart substitute for individuals that need to watch sodium, sugar, fat, and cholesterol intake. For home use, an elaborate flower garden can get a bit expensive so herbs can be a wonderful replacement or natural accent. Guests will appreciate the natural look and aromas as they walk up to your front door….and what better way than to just step outside your door and pick your own herbs for dinner!

When it comes to cooking, I use the terminology of herbs and spices interchangeably since both come from aromatic plants. The difference is the botanical composition and culinary use. Spices come from the aromatic part of a woody plant, retain its strong fragrance, and are low in moisture. The fact that it comes from a tough part of a plant makes it more difficult to digest. Spices should be used with moderation because of the strong aromatic and digestive properties. Some examples include ginger, cinnamon, bay leaf, nutmeg, mace, cloves, anise, and juniper. Spices are ideal for recipes that require longer cooking time, marinating, or tenderizing.

Fresh herbs come from the aromatic leaves of a plant and the stems that never develop into tough bark. As a result, it is much more delicate and sensitive to heat. High heat or long exposure to it will cause the herb to turn black and lose its flavor so herbs should be added to a dish at the last minute or toward the end of cooking. Examples of herbs include basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and dill. This applies to fresh herbs. Herbs can also be dried which means that it has a longer shelf-life than fresh ones. Since it is dry, longer cooking time brings out the flavor of dried herbs. It can also be used for dry rubs or marinades.

So now that Herbs and Spices 101 is covered, what recipes would make sense for each one? The answer can be very subjective and challenging. For example, I cannot stand anything floral or even a pinch of sage in ANY of my food. It smells great as a room freshener but I really don’t like to taste anything floral. Also, some people love handfuls of herbs in their dishes where others are fine with just a pinch. Another thing to consider is just like wine pairing, certain herbs and spices fit well with specific ingredients. Oregano and tomato sauce, dill and fish, chile powder and chile con carne. Though these can be typical pairings consider chile powder as a great marinade for fish and scallops while adding a great color to the dish. Sprinkle it over eggs or potatoes. Try to experiment, think outside the realm of traditional dishes and be creative when it comes to accenting a dish.

Below are some herb or spice blends that lend a new level of flavor for various dishes. You can incorporate multiple herbs to one dish depending on what you want to accomplish.

Herb Citrus Blend: reduces the need for strong salt and fat flavors. Good for vegetables, fruit salads, fish, lentil, and grain dishes.

1 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp ground dried rosemary

1 tspn ground dried sage

1 ½ tsp ground dried orange zest

1 ½ tsp ground dried lemon zest

1 tsp ground fennel seeds

All-Purpose salt-free herb seasoning: substitute for salt

2 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried marjoram

1 tbsp dried lemon verbena

1 tbsp celery seeds

1 tbsp dried minced garlic

1 tsp paprika

Herb blend for soups:

½ cup dried parsley

¼ cup dried lemon thyme

2 tbsp dried marjoram 1 tbsp dried rosemary

1 tbsp dried tarragon

1 tbsp dried lemon verbena

Thai Herb Blend

½ cup dried thai basil

½ cup dried lemon basil

¼ dried peppermint

¼ cup dried cilantro

¼ cup dried chives

2 tbsp dried lemon zest

2 tbsp dried minced lemongrass

2 tsp five spice powder

2 tsp crushed dried mild chile peppers

Chef Luella Semmes

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Vegetarian dishes broaden Easter options

Vegetarian options are getting a little more attention this Easter thanks to main course dishes such as Mushroom lasagna bolognese. The dish includes a flavorful combination of porcini, portobello, shiitake and cremini mushrooms. Side options include Smoky Roman beans and Chipotle-infused greens. The Washington Post (3/19)

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March is a time to remember Duncan Hines

March is a great for foodies. This year we celebrate Easter, National Frozen Food Month; the federal government designated the second week of March as National School Breakfast Week. There are “extremist” groups as well, promoting the evils of caffeine during National Caffeine Awareness Month® (those of you who can’t function without your morning cup are most certainly aware!) to a call for vegetarianism on The Great American Meat Out Day (March 20, or the first day of spring).

And you thought there were only St. Patrick’s Day and the obligatory corned beef & cabbage dinner!

However, there is another food-story during March that few Americans know: Duncan Hines was born (March 26, 1880) and died (March 15, 1959) during this month. You didn’t realize Duncan Hines was a real person? Not surprising, considering the attention given Betty Crocker (a purely fictional persona).

The biography “Duncan Hines: The Man Behind the Cake Mix” by Louis Hatchett provides a fascinating look at the life of arguably the most powerful man on the American food scene during the mid 20th century. Although slightly dry and scholarly (it started as Mr. Hatchett’s thesis for his Master’s degree), the book is definitely worth seeking out. It provides glimpses of American life from 1936-1959 that are in many ways still relevant to us in 2008. We still purchase travel guides to help us find lodgings and restaurants (think Fodor’s and Zagat), and we still purchase convenience foods to make our lives easier (think Duncan Hines cake mixes).

Duncan Hines was a salesman and his hobby was seeking out good, local places to eat during his travels. Other salesmen who knew of Hines’ hobby eagerly sought his advice on where they might a good meal. Demand for this information eventually forced him to publish it in the form of a guide book, and in 1936 he self-published Adventures in Good Eating, a guide to roadside restaurants. The success of his book was predicated on the trust people placed in his recommendations. Duncan Hines did not accept paid endorsements from any restaurant, and went to great lengths to ensure that those establishments he recommended had consistently good food and sanitary kitchens. Why should this have been so important? Back in those days, refrigeration and widespread food safety knowledge were not the norm. Travelers who ate in restaurants literally took a chance with their lives; death from food poisoning was not uncommon. (This may sound almost comical to today’s traveler, who typically partakes of chain restaurant food, regulated by public health departments nationwide.) If a restaurant refused his request to inspect their kitchen he not only would not recommend it, he would not even eat there. So great was his influence on public opinion that both the restaurant industry and the hotel/motel industry were forced to maintain his high standards, or risk losing the patronage of his readers, often representing a significant portion of their business.

The Duncan Hines that most of us know, the name on the box of cake mix, did not come about until he was 68 years old. He agreed to lend his endorsement to a variety of food products – over 60 brands ranging from bread to canned pears. The first Duncan Hines branded product to hit store shelves? Ice cream, not cake mix.

In 1956 Procter & Gamble purchased Duncan Hines (yes it was happening even back then), eventually selling the brand to Aurora Foods in 1998. The brand was sold again in 2004 to Pinnacle Foods and the product line is limited to cake, brownie, muffin & cookie mixes; canned frostings, and the new “oven ready” brownies.

Though “big business” appears to have dealt rather roughly with the brand name Duncan Hines, his native state of Kentucky and Pinnacle Foods (as a financial sponsor) treat the memory of the person rather well. Bowling Green, the town he was born & died in, pays homage to their native son with the “Duncan Hines Festival” (August 14-16, 2008), and since 2007 The Kentucky Library and Museum has featured the exhibit “Recommended by Duncan Hines” where visitors can learn about “the man behind the cake mix”.

Bon Appetit!

Chef Glenn Burgess

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A Quick Culinary Feast fit for St. Patrick!

In America, Corned Beef and Cabbage is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition even if you are Irish only on March 17th Ever wonder why it is called Corned Beef? Well, corning is a form of curing and it has nothing to do with corn. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon times before refrigeration. In those days, the meat was dry-cured in coarse “corns” of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. Today brining — the use of salt water — has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name “corned beef” is still used, rather than “brined” or “pickled” beef.

Traditionally, corned beef is braised slowly in either the oven or on the stovetop. If using either method, generally allow one hour of cooking per pound of meat. A quicker method for cooking this traditional fare is to use a pressure cooker and allow approximately 15 minutes of cooking time per pound of beef. Whichever method you choose, be sure the beef reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F to ensure it is safely cooked.

In our home we enjoy this holiday fare with Irish Soda bread, a good mustard made with beer and the wearin’ of the green! Oh, and we can’t forget the Irish coffee for dessert. Enjoy.

Corned Beef and Cabbage – Pressure Cooker method

4 lb. corned beef brisket

1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise

1 onion, quartered

2 TBS. pickling spice

5 whole black peppercorns

3 whole allspice berries

2 TBS. cider vinegar

1 head of cabbage, cut in 8 wedges

8 small red potatoes, peeled and halved

4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

Horseradish or horseradish sauce, for serving

Place the beef brisket in the pressure cooker and cover with cold water, making sure the amount does not exceed the recommended level for your cooker. Add the garlic onion, pickling spice, peppercorns, allspice and vinegar.

Cover and bring up to high pressure. Reduce heat to stabilize pressure and cook 60 minutes. Release pressure and remove meat. Tent beef and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Add the cabbage, potatoes and carrots to the cooker. Bring cooker up to high pressure for 1 minute. Release pressure.

Serve the meat cut into thin slices along with the vegetables. Pass the horseradish on the side.

Serves 6 to 8.

Chef Vickie Kirlick

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Fire Up the Grill for Easter Dinner!

In the chilly fall it’s a nice treat to ‘warm up the house’ by having the oven on all day roasting a big turkey, baking pies and bubbly side dishes, but that’s not the case for spring. Easter Sunday is often a lovely, mild spring day that makes you want to open all the windows and let the sunshine in. Who wants to work in a hot kitchen on a day like that?

A few years ago my husband and I got the notion to use our grill to cook Easter dinner, and now it is a family tradition. We love lamb for Easter dinner and figured out how to grill enough for a crowd of 12 in less than 30 minutes. You can do the same in just a few simple steps.

1. Ask your butcher to butterfly a boneless leg of lamb, allowing about a half-pound per person. For our crowd of 12 we ordered between six and seven pounds.

2. Secure the meat with 4 long metal skewers, running 2 lengthwise and 2 crosswise. Because this cut of meat is not as streamlined as boneless poultry, use the skewers to keep the meat in one piece so it cooks evenly on the grill.

3. Make a marinade of garlic slices, fresh rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Rub evenly to coat both sides and marinate at room temperature for about one hour.

4. Grill the lamb over high heat, allowing about 10-12 minutes per side, flipping once. A six to seven pound piece of lamb will be done in about 20-25 minutes.

5. Remove from grill and place on cutting board, tent with foil, and allow meat to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skewers and cut into pieces to serve.

How’s that for a simple holiday meal?

To round out your menu, prepare light, refreshing side dishes in advance and finish them while the lamb grills and rests. Keep it simple with your vegetables and just steam, grill or roast them.

Here is our favorite Easter menu:

Greek Salad
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce
Steamed Asparagus with Butter & Lemon
Green Beans Amandine
Oven Roasted New Potatoes

This Easter, think outside the oven, crank up the grill, and enjoy the spring weather with your family and friends!

Recipe for Fresh Mint Sauce
An excellent alternative to mint jelly, and especially tart and delicious with the grilled lamb

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup water

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup mint leaves, chopped

Combine vinegar, water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the mint leaves and let stand for at least 1 hour before serving.

Chef Sarah Copeland

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Food Holidays

It’s Leap Year, time for the calendar that mankind created to catch up with “real time”; for that we need an extra day once every four years.

Seriously, who makes up this stuff? Only ONE extra day every four years???? Lord knows I could certainly use an extra day a little more often. In the corporate world we called them “mental health days”, sick days that we used not because we were physically ailing, but rather to prevent complete mental breakdown if we didn’t get away from the grind, or tidy up the house, or do the yardwork. Or, if you’re a personal chef, a “mental health day” might entail organizing all those recipes we cut out of magazines. Or spending hours in front of the computer looking up food-related trivia such as February 29 being “National Surf & Turf Day”.

One might think that when a “holiday” is labeled as “National Surf & Turf Day” that it must carry some sort of government approval. For example, the date for Thanksgiving was established by Congress. Of course in true government fashion it was changed from the fourth Thursday in November to the third Thursday, then finally back to the fourth Thursday.

So then did some Congressman from Maine decree that every Leap Day should be “National Surf & Turf Day”?

As near as I can tell, no. For starters, any Congressman who declares a holiday once every four years would not be reelected by a constituency of lobstermen dependent on, shall we say, more consistent sales?

There are well over 365 “national” food holidays, and very few have the government’s seal of approval. Which frankly doesn’t mean very much. Just because Congress passed a public law (102–468) and then-President Bill Clinton made a proclamation making the fourth week of February “American Wine Appreciation Week” does not mean we get an extra week’s vacation from work. I rather imagine the wine growers in California applied some pressure to their elected officials who spent valuable time and effort making a law praising wine, instead of fixing say, the healthcare crisis?

No, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of a government-sanctioned food holiday. In fact I suspect most of those 365+ food holidays (some days are bestowed with more than one food holiday, hence over 365) are simply marketing tools, created by ad agencies, marketing cooperatives, growers, and manufacturers. The month of March is “National Frozen Food Month”, sponsored by The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association on behalf of its some 400 member companies. As one of the more commercially visible food holidays, it features a $10,000 sweepstakes. And you don’t even have to create a recipe using frozen foods. Nice.

There are also “traditional” food holidays, which are some of my favorites. “Pancake Tuesday”, “Collop Monday” and a host of others mostly taken from religious calendars and celebrating the Saints’ feast days.

So get thee to the grocery store on February 29, buy a lobster and a filet mignon and celebrate “National Surf & Turf Day”.

Or hire a personal chef to cook it for you.


Chef Glenn Burgess

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One Way to Stay Young

In the spirit of the Leap year, which you can read all about from Glenn Burgess’ post HERE, a New York Restaurant with a Leap Day Birthday is having a celebration of it’s own:
Tiny New York Meatpacking District restaurant Jarnac will turn 8-years-old but celebrate just its 2nd birthday on the coming leap-year day of Friday, February 29.

The famous 32-seat French restaurant on the corner of West 12th and Greenwich St opened on February 29, 2000 – another leap-year day.

Owner Tony Powe has only been able to celebrate one birthday for the neighborhood restaurant.

Jarnac has managed to survive 8 years of turbulent market conditions despite being one of the smallest restaurants in Manhattan.

On the leap year day of Friday, February 29, Jarnac is offering the public entrees at a special Leap Year price of $20.08 (2008, 2nd birthday).

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NY Metro Chapter To Continue Spicing Up US Troop Meals with Culinary Donations

NY Metro USPCA Personal Chefs receive recognition from troops abroad for their donations of spices and other culinary tools to help chefs working in Afghanistan prepare better tasting meals for military personnel stationed there.

(PRWEB) February 14, 2008 — The New York Metro Chapter of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) is proud to announce a second donation drive for culinary spices, ingredients and tools as well as personal items to be shipped overseas to bring the taste of home to our active duty troops.

In 2005, the NY Metro Chapter of Personal Chefs collected and sent donations of spices, specialty ingredients, and other items not readily available to chefs in military kitchens to Pat Day, a personal chef out of Houston, TX who put aside her personal chef business to take a position cooking for our troops stationed at military bases in Afghanistan.

In December 2007, the New York Metro Chapter of Personal Chefs received a certificate of recognition from B Company, 2-227th Aviation Regiment 1st Cavalry Division “Nightbirds” along with an American Flag which was dedicated to The New York Chapter of US Personal Chef Association Chefs and flown on a military mission in Iraq on December 10, 2007 in recognition of their support of our troops. Enclosed with the flag was a personal note from Pat Day with her thanks. “We were often under blackout,” stated Pat, “and had trouble getting many of the necessities at that time, so we had to make the magic happen in the middle of the dessert when supplies did not arrive. Thanks to your donations we won several awards for best tasting food in the region and your group helped make that happen. You wouldn’t believe how many soldiers during the holidays said it was the best home cooked meal they ever had…it really brought tears to all our eyes.”

Pat Day is now stationed in Iraq and is “still making the magic happen,” and, says Pat, “it’s all about teamwork for the troops.” The New York Metro Chapter of Personal Chefs are eager to help Pat and her kitchen team again. The Chapter is asking for local businesses along with individuals to join in this second culinary ingredient and tool drive. Specifically, the NY Metro Personal Chefs Chapter is looking for spices, seasonings, non-perishable specialty ingredients, culinary tools and any culinary items that can be shipped overseas. They are also looking for a donor to support the shipment of these donations to the base in Iraq.

“It is such an honor to have received this flag. You can’t imagine how please our Chapter members were find out how what we considered a relatively small donation, in comparison to the 4000 personnel Pat and her fellow chefs fed daily, benefited so many of our men and women serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq,” states Jennifer Urda, President, New York Metro Chapter. “We are eager to continue to support these hardworking chefs with special ingredients that can delight and energize our troops by allowing the chefs abroad cook tasty, home-style meals. Our ability to continue collecting and sending as many ingredients as we can to Pat and her kitchen team is the best way we can show our support,” states Glenn Burgess, Vice President, New York Metro Chapter.

The 2008 Spice Drive begins February 14, 2008 and will continue for as long as the Chapter receives donations. If you are interested in donating or learning more about the NY Metro Chapter of the USPCA, please call 1-800-358-2857 or visit http://www.NYPersonalChefs.com for more information.

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Chef Mark Tafoya featured in AP Article

Chef Mark Tafoya of ReMARKable Palate PCS was profiled in a business feature for the Associated Press. The article, Popularity of Personal Chefs Rises, was picked up by newspapers around the country, including USA Today, Business Week, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury News and the Arizona Republic, as well as ABCNews.com, FOXNews and CNBC.com. The article focused on the accessibility of personal chefs to busy working families, and also quotes USPCA Executive Director John Moore.

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Chapter Members in Westchester Magazine

Westchester Magazine, the leading regional monthly for the northern NYC metro area, featured three of our chapter members in their Fall 2007 Home & Garden issue. Jonathan Taube of Rocky Rill PCS, Jennifer Urda (chapter President) of The Runcible Spoon PCS, and Stewart Goodwin of Dinner by Design were all featured. In the article, entitled Chefs for Hire, one client is quoted as saying “It was just fabulous. It was like being at a four-star restaurant in your own dining room.”

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Members Elected to NAC

Chapter members Vickie Kirlick and Mark Tafoya were elected to the National Advisory Council (NAC) of the USPCA. They are both proud to represent the members of the New York Metro chapter and the membership as a whole to the national organization.

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Chapter Elects New Officers

The NY Metro chapter has elected new officers: Jennifer Urda – President, Glenn Burgess – Vice President, Wendy Collett – Secretary, Lia Soscia – PR & Marketing, Mark Tafoya – Webmaster.

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Chefs in the News 2006

December 1, 2006 – Jennifer Urda, Jonathan Taube and Sarah Copeland were featured InTown Westchester magazine in an article about Personal Chefs.


November 14, 2006 – Mark Tafoya of ReMARKable Palate Personal Chef Service was featured In the Wall Street Journal, on FineLiving’s AskMen.com and on AOL’s homepage as one of YSN.com’s Young and Successful series. AskMen article AOL article

November 1, 2006 – Vickie Kirlick of Traveling Gourmet in River Vale, NJ has recently contracted with Fagor America, Inc. to do demonstrations of their high-quality stainless steel pressure cookers and promote the personal chef industry at Macy’s Herald Square and at Fortunoff’s in New Jersey.

October, 2006 – Jennifer Urda of The Runcible Spoon in Westchster, NY conducted a cooking demo for “Helping Hands” of Westchester to help them raise money to provide much-needed funds to several local organizations that provide services for the poor. Some of the programs they support are: Hope House Food Pantry, Open Door Family Medical Center, Grace Church Soup Kitchen & Empty School Bags.

October 20, 2006 – Vanda Azevedo of Shilloh Personal Chef Service in Westbury, NY is the secretary of the NY Chapter. This year Chef Vanda joined the Williams Sonoma Store in the Roosevelt Field Mall developing recipes to promote W.S. products. Chef Vanda’s services promote a healthy living lifestyle and in support of that focus, Chef Vanda moderated a teleseminar on Health and Energy in October. In addition, Chef Vanda
offers a variety of Asian cooking classes, including the art of making sushi.

September 15, 2006 – Lia Soscia of Home Cooking Consultant Personal Chef Service in Long Island, NY joined the Viking Cooking School at Loaves and Fishes in Garden City, NY as a Chef Instructor for their culinary classes. She is a featured writer for the LongIslandGuide.com with her column “Dinner with Chef Lia” and is a member of the Test Kitchen team at the GildedFork.com. She recently filmed a cooking lesson for a popular TV show on The Learning Channel, scheduled to air in January 2007. Lia serves as Media Director for USPCA NY Metro Chapter.

September 10, 2006 – Sarah Copeland of Sarah Copeland Cuisine has been preparing a variety of delicious, nutritious meals for clients who love to eat but are too busy to cook for themselves. Busy professionals and working families are taking advantage of the free time that this service provides them.

September, 2006 – Wendy Collett of Creative Cuisine By Collett has teamed up with Equinox Gym of Roslyn, New York to help gym members reach their fitness and weight loss goals. Chef Collett works in conjunction with the personal training staff to augment their fine work by providing healthy and delicious meals that are packed with flavor — not calories and fat.

August 30, 2006 – Jonathan Taube of Rocky Rill Foods in White Plains, NY was recently selected as one of Westchester’s Best Personal Chefs by InTown Magazine. In addition, Jonathan recently attained his Certified Personal Chef status from the USPCA. He teaches cooking classes to sold-out crowds at Williams-Sonoma at The Westchester Mall in White Plains.

August 6, 2006 – The USPCA has awarded its annual Excellence in Business Awards at the national conference in St. Louis. Two of our NY Metro chefs were honored. Mark Tafoya was named Marketer of the Year, and Vickie Kirlick of The Traveling Gourmet was awarded the Boiling point 212° award for Personal Chef of the Year! Congratulations to both of them.

July 26, 2006 – Chef Donna Mintz of Basil & Barbells was lauded by Moxxie.com as “The Thigh Whisperer”, and a gal’s secret weapon for helping to stay fit with customized exercise plans as well as help in the kitchen.

Read the entire article at Moxxie

July 2006 – Lia Soscia is a featured writer for the Long Island Guide. Check out her column “Dinner with Chef Lia” on the homepage http://longislandguide.com.

June 15, 2006 – Chef Ryan Brown of Choice Cooking Co. was featured in a Wall Street Journal article about Personal Chefs. The article featured his delivery service!

May 23, 2006 – Chef Mark Tafoya was featured Canada wide on the CBC Radio program Food For Thought. The interview featured his work as a personal chef and his work with the Culinary Podcast Network.

To read more and hear the interview: Food For Thought

March 20, 2006 – Chef Mark Tafoya has created the Culinary Podcast Network, hosted and presented by The Gilded Fork. Bringing together 11 food related podcasts, the CPN is a one stop source for all the best food related talk on the internet, inlcuding Chef Ming Tsai’s Simply Ming Vidcast. In it’s second week, the CPN has jumped to the #2 spot on iTunes Food Podcast listings!

Read more about it at : www.culinarypodcastnetwork.com, or subscribe via iTunes.

March 6, 2006 – Jonathan Taube of Rocky Rill Personal Chef Service was cited in a Hudson Valley Magazine article about Personal Chefs. He was listed as one of the 4 standout chefs in the area for customized personal chef services!

February 1, 2006 – The ReMARKable Palate Podcast was cited in Time Out New York as a notable New York based Food Podcast. “Manhattan-based actor-turned-personal-chef Mark Tafoya combines his two greatest loves, food and performing, in his weekly show that usually runs about a half hour. His episodes have an unpredictable, New Agey vibe: One week it’s an in-depth interview with his neighborhood Greenmarket manager, another week it’s a discussion of Michelin stars or his favorite recipe for broiled salmon.”

Read the entire story here:


January 29, 2006 – NY Metro Chapter featured in the Sunday New York Times! The Long Island Journal section featured photos of Glenn Burgess and Vanda Azevedo, and quoted Cathy Toritto and Mark Tafoya.

Click here to read the full article (expand your browser to full size)

January 26, 2006 – Chef Mark Tafoya of ReMARKable Palate has earned the title of Certified Personal Chef (CPC) by the USPCA. The designation of Certified Personal Chef is the industry’s highest mark of excellence, indicating a recognized endorsement of demonstrated expertise. Personal Chefs honored as CPC’s have earned this designation through education, experience and professionalism. Clients can be assured the Personal Chefs with a CPC designation represent the upper tier within their profession and are committed to excellence.

January 13, 2006 – Chef Glenn Burgess of Supper’s Ready Personal Chef Service has become a contributing writer at the “foodie” website www.sallys-place.com Read his most recent article, “In Praise of Blue M&M’s” here: http://www.sallys-place.com/food/single-articles/blue_mm.htm

January 10, 2006 – The NY Chapter is helping to make Valentine’s Day a little more special for Metro New Yorkers by offering special consultations and Gift Certificates to celebrate this special day of romance. Please see the Chef Directory to find one of our members near you, and we will be happy to craft a special treat for you and your sweetie!

January 5, 2006 – Mark Tafoya has been named Executive Chef of the Test Kitchen for The Gilded Fork, a leading culinary website which celebrates the sensual pleasures of food. Chef Mark will be responsible for recipe development and articles about cuisine from a multicultural perspective.

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Chefs in the News 2005

December 20, 2005 – Jonathan Taube of Rocky Rill Personal Chef Service is now teaching ongoing coooking classes at the Williams-Sonoma store in White Plains.

December 15, 2005 – Bon Appetit magazine touts Mark Tafoya’s ReMARKable Palate Podcast as one of the “early standouts of this nascent medium”.

August 29, 2005 – Chef Mark Tafoya is now the host of a twice a week audio show, The ReMARKable Palate Podcast.  It’s a food and culture show which features cooking tips, recipes, spotlight ingredients, and interviews with purveyors, food producers and other chefs.  You can subscribe, and have the show downloaded directly to your ipod or mp3 player.  The show is linked at the foodblog:  http://remarkablepalate.blogspot.com

August 15, 2005 – NY Personal Chefs Appear on TV! Members of the NY Metro Chapter appeared on WLIW channel 21, the Long Island PBS station, answering phones as part of their regular membership pledge drive on Monday, August 15 from 8-11 PM. The programs was “Summer in Sicily”.

July 25, 2005 – 7 of our members attended the USPCA National conference in Atlanta July 22-25.  Pictured are:  Top Row – Cathy Torritto, Jennifer Urda, Jonathan Taube, Vickie Kirlick, and Glenn Burgess;  Front Row – Mark Tafoya and Vanda Azevedo

May 30, 2005 – Glenn E. Burgess of Supper’s Ready Personal Chef Service, Inc. is doing his part to help the fundraising efforts of the Hagedorn Little Village School – Jack Joel Center for Special Children in Seaford, NY.  At their 14th annual golf tournament on June 6, 2005, held at Tam O’Shanter Club, one lucky auction winner will receive a special four-course dinner for two, which Chef Burgess will prepare in their home.

May 26, 2005 – Mark Tafoya of ReMARKable Palate has teamed with Mersy Productions and StreetLight Pictures to shoot the pilot for a new cooking TV show with an interesting International twist.  The producers will be shopping the pilot to networks, so watch this space for more news soon!

May12, 2005 – Lia Soscia, Owner of Home Cooking Consultant now has a monthly cooking column on http://longislandmag.com/.  Check it out!

May 3, 2005 – Mark Tafoya, President of the NY Metro Chapter, and owner of ReMARKable Palate, was published in the May/June issue of Personal Chef Magazine.  He wrote an in depth article about international cuisines and how Personal Chefs can incorporate them into their service.  He shared several of his Thai and Vietnamese recipes.

April 27, 2005 – Donna Mintz of Basil & Barbells was featured in the May issue of Health Magazine, in an article about personal chefs helping their clients lose weight.

Read the full story here: http://www.health.com/health/article/0%2C23414%2C1047337%2C00.html

April 26, 2005 – Mark Tafoya, owner of ReMARKable Palate, has been named exclusive culinary consultant and demonstration chef for Granoff Caviar, LTD.  “I’m excited to be representing Granoff’s Black Label line at the upcoming National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago May 21-24, demonstrating the many uses of this fine new gourmet product.” says Chef Tafoya.  Granoff is a caviar alternative that is capturing the attention of a growing number of chefs since its introduction at the New York Fancy Foods Show in 2004, where Chef Tafoya created a number of innovative dishes.  An affordable option, this caviar can be used in all of the same ways as traditional caviar. It also has the added benefit of being used with hot foods, unlike caviar. Taste tests place Granoff close to Osetra caviar in flavor and close to Beluga with its buttery texture, with a clean finish and no after-taste.

Read the full story here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/4/prweb232796.htm

April 26, 2005 – The NY Area USPCA Chefs Drive for Spices to Feed our Troops in Afghanistan – Jennifer Urda, Vice President of the NY Metro Chapter of USPCA and owner of The Runcible Spoon, is heading up our first charitable event: Spices to Feed our Troops. USPCA Chef Pat Day from Houston decided to put her Personal Chef business on hold in order to go to Afghanistan as a chef with Brown and Root, cooking for our troops stationed there.  So we at the NY Chapter have organized a drive to put together a shipment of spices for Pat and her fellow chefs to use to feed our troops. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Jennifer at: RuncibleSpoonPCS@aol.com

Read the full story here:http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/4/prweb232460.htm

April 10, 2005 – Donna Mintz, owner of Basil & Barbells was featured on National TV!  Business Week Money Talks interviewed Donna for their Personal Business segment.  Donna discussed her business, and explained how a personal chef service works.  The interview ran on ABC on Sunday April 10.

March, 2005 – Donna Mintz, Personal Chef and Owner of Basil & Barbells, was recently interviewed in an article for American Fitness Magazine March/April 2005 “Pots, Pans and Push-Ups”.
The article discusses how Donna’s busines was born out of the idea that healthy is not about being thin.  A healthy diet is not a weight loss program; It is a way of life. By offering personal chef and personal training services, we help our clients achieve their ultimate health goals.

March, 2005 – Glenn Burgess, Personal Chef and Owner of Supper’s Ready Personal Chef Service, Inc. was published in the March ‘05 issue of Personal Chef Magazine.  He wrote a down-to-earth account of the early stages of starting your own Personal Chef business.  Glenn took time to share his thoughts on obstacles and solutions to those obstacles that can keep you on the right track!

March, 2005 – Lia Soscia, Personal Chef and Owner of Home Cooking Consultant was recently interviewed by Chef Educator Today for an upcoming article about career options for culinary students.  She was also welcomed by her local Chamber of Commerce in Bellmore with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony that included local legislator David Denenberg and Assemblywoman Maureen O’Connell.

January, 2005 – Mark Tafoya, Personal Chef and Owner of ReMARKable Palate Personal Chef Service, was interviewed by a camera crew from Yale University for a television show called “Bulldog Profiles”, which features Yale Alums who have chosen unusual career paths.  He spoke about his circuitous route from the Ivy League to teaching French, to Broadway, and on to the Culinary world.

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NYC Personal Chefs Raise Money for HIV/AIDS Education Program

October, 2004 – NYC Personal Chefs Raise Money for HIV/AIDS Education Program
Three Personal Chefs from New York City (Jennifer Urda, Jenny Bloom, and Mark Tafoya) participated in Tasting Beyond Belief, an international food tasting to benefit the HIV/AIDS prevention education organization Living Beyond Belief, in memory of Wayne Fischer. The event, organized by Mark Tafoya of ReMARKable Palate Personal Chef Service, attracted 125 guests and raised $4,000 for the organization. Their event was written up in Personal Chef Magazine, Sept/Oct. 2004.

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