Nibbles & Bits

Chef Liz was one of four finalists selected from among hundreds of applicants in the NBC 6 and Little Palm Island Chef’s Challenge. Her original recipe, Sautéed Snapper on a Bed of Grilled Romaine with Salsa Fresca, was featured in a live segment on the South Florida Today show. View the video.


Lucia’s Personal Chef Service received the People’s Choice Award for Best Chili in Miami at the 2007 annual Pinecrest Gardens Chili Cook-Off.



305.388.3536
Contact Chef Liz

In The News


Unleash the feast in your pantry
By Gay Brock
gaybrock56@aol.com
www.miamiherald.com

When the power blows and hunger strikes, hurricane victims searching for satisfying meals need to think outside the box -- and the can.

With a little dose of imagination, those non-perishables in the pantry take on a whole new flavor.

''Good food doesn't have to be complicated,'' says Daphne Nikolopoulos, author of The Storm Gourmet: A Guide to Cooking Extraordinary Meals Without Electricity (Pineapple Press, $11).

In addition to providing recipes for two weeks worth of meals, the cookbook recommends supplies and gives tips for turning those everyday shelf ingredients into great meals.

Nikolopoulos crafted the recipes in 2004, after hurricanes Frances and Jean caused a 14-day power outage in her West Palm Beach neighborhood. When the topic is food, this writer and magazine editor has never been in the dark.

''I'm Greek; it's in my blood,'' she says.

Personal chef Elizabeth Willard, a Miami native, also describes a natural affinity for anything gastronomical.

When Hurricane Andrew devastated parts of Dade County in 1992, Willard was living in Miami Springs and working in corporate communications. But her cooking acumen and skill on the grill kept her family and neighbors well-fed as she turned their rapidly thawing meats into feasts.

''We ate like kings for awhile, not something you normally associate with a hurricane,'' she says.

Two years ago, Willard stoked her cooking passion into a career. After graduating from Miami's Gourmet Culinary Academy and joining the United States Personal Chef Association, she started her own business -- Lucia's Personal Chef Service -- and began cooking meals for clients in Miami-Dade County

Though she has yet to weather another hurricane, she offers some recipes and tips for storm preparation on her website, personalchefmiami.com.

In addition to the traditional shelf staples, Willard likes to stock up on hot sauces, barbecue sauces, spices and condiments that quickly and easily add flavor. In addition to canned vegetables, she recommends buying plenty of bagged frozen vegetables, which are good for keeping other foods cold until they thaw and require cooking.

Eggs already in the refrigerator can be hard boiled before the hurricane strikes, and then added to canned tuna or chicken. Stock up on mayonnaise packets from the bulk food store. Don't forget a supply of hard cheeses, such as parmesan, which can safely withstand room temperature but should be kept covered and moist.

Careful scrutiny of the local supermarket aisles often turns up suitable substitutes for perishable ingredients.

That's what Nikolopoulos did when she decided to create no-cook alternatives to some of her favorite classic recipes, such as tiramisu, gazpacho, vichyssoise and hummus.

One of her most useful finds, she says, was a Nestle product labeled only as ''Table Cream'' and found in the canned milk section of the supermarket. Because it is unflavored and thick, the unsweetened cream can be adapted to both dessert and entrée recipes.

Through trial and error, the recipes evolved.

Tabbouleh, she discovered, can be reconstituted with room temperature water. So can Presto Pasta, a product of Pasta USA in Spokane, Wash., (pastausa.com). It is also organic and kosher, Nikolopoulos says. See bottom of box at right for more information.

As she traveled around the state to promote the cookbook, sometimes offering samples, Nikolopoulos says the taste-testers seemed more impressed with the ease of preparation than anything else.

''They were surprised that food could be that simple and that tasty at the same time,'' she says.


Healthy dining for the time-starved
Miami Herald
April 26, 2007

For those who like to eat well and pay attention to their health, meet Chef Liz. She specializes in personalized meal preparation -- in your home.

Miami Herald Staff Report

Lucia's Personal Chef Service took part in an old-fashioned chili showdown at the recent Springs River Festival to raise money for the Majic Children's Fund, sponsored by radio station Majic FM 102.7.

More than 15 organizations, including restaurants and a Boy Scout Troop, as well as individuals sold chili at the annual Miami Springs event.

''We sold nearly 100 bowls of chili and donated all of the proceeds to the Children's Fund,'' said Elizabeth Willard, owner and chef of Lucia's Personal Chef Service. ``They were still counting the money when we all packed up but I heard that collectively we raised several hundred dollars.''

Welcome to the world of the personal chef -- with home service.

Lucia's Personal Chef Service provides personalized meal preparation. Typical clients are couples and families who want healthy, delicious and preservative-free dinners in the convenience of their home but don't have time to plan, shop and prepare meals.

The service starts with a free, comprehensive interview to determine food preferences and dietary requirements. Whether you're looking to count calories or carbs or just maintain your weight and good health, a personal chef can help you get -- and stay -- on track, Willard said.

After the initial meeting, Chef Liz -- as she is known -- designs a customized menu plan and sends it to the client for review. Then, on a scheduled day, she does the grocery shopping, hand-selecting high-quality ingredients.

''Eating well starts with fresh ingredients and healthy cooking methods. Ripe, fresh produce and lean meats and fish form the basis for most of my recipes,'' Willard said.

On the cook day, Willard arrives at the client's home with the groceries, cookware, and utensils she needs to prepare meals for a week or two. Dinners are packaged and stored in the refrigerator and freezer, ready to be heated at the client's convenience.

''Clients come home to a clean kitchen and a selection of healthy meals to choose from. It's a convenient and affordable way to eat well and add hours of free time to your week,'' Willard said.

Prices for personal chef services vary, depending on the client's tastes, but typically average $15 to $18 a meal, Willard said.

Lucia's Personal Chef Service also offers catering for events, gift certificates and romantic dinners for two.



Personal chef prepares meals for busy couples, families
Pinecrest Tribune
April 30, 2007

By Ann McMaster


Chef Elizabeth Willard received the
People’s Choice Award for Best Chili in
Miami from Naomi Evans at the 2007
Pinecrest Gardens Chili Cook-off.
A few months ago when Palmetto Bay resident Edrea Kaiser looked into her freezer, she saw an assortment of frozen meals from her local grocery store. Veggie burgers, pizza and boxed vegetables lined the shelves. Today, her freezer is full of carefully labeled, microwave- and oven-safe containers from Lucia’s Personal Chef Service.

The difference? These dishes were prepared based on a custom-designed menu, using only the freshest ingredients and no preservatives or chemical additives.

Kaiser, a busy executive and vegetarian, is pleased with the variety of foods and customized meal preparation.

“It is such a pleasure to have a nightly selection of delicious, healthy meals, prepared exactly to my taste and preferences,” she said.

Currently on the menu: risottostuffed Portobello mushrooms, vegetable curry and Spinach Madeleine.

Kaiser is typical of personal chef clients who want healthy, delicious and preservative-free dinners in the convenience of their home, but don’t have time to plan, shop and prepare them.

“These days it’s hard for people to find the time to eat healthy,” said Elizabeth Willard (Chef Liz), owner and chef for Lucia’s Personal Chef Service. “All too often they turn to fast food or convenience foods. They’re
ingesting more calories, fat, preservatives and sodium than they should be.
And, they don’t have time to even think about eating a balanced diet. That’s where I come in.”

The service starts with a free, comprehensive interview to determine food preferences and dietary requirements.

Whether you’re looking to count calories or carbs, or just maintain your weight and good health, a personal chef can help you get – and stay – on
track.

After the initial meeting, Chef Liz designs a customized menu plan and sends it to the client for review. Then, on a scheduled day, she does the grocery shopping, carefully selecting highquality ingredients.

“Eating well starts with fresh ingredients and healthy cooking methods,” said Willard. “Ripe, fresh produce, lean meats and fish form the basis for most of my recipes.”

On the cook day, Chef Liz arrives at the client’s home armed with all the groceries, cookware and utensils she needs to prepare meals for a week or two. Dinners are packaged and stored in the refrigerator and freezer, ready to be heated at the client’s convenience.

“Clients come home to a clean kitchen and a selection of healthy meals to choose from,” said Willard. “It’s a convenient and affordable way to eat well and add hours of free time to your week.”

Prices for personal chef services vary depending on the client’s tastes, but average $16 to $18 a meal. Lucia’s Personal Chef Service also offers on-site catering for events, gift certificates and romantic dinners for two. For a free initial consultation, contact Chef Liz at 305.388.3536 or .

For more information, visit www.PersonalChefMiami.com.



     
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