With today's hectic schedules, many people find it difficult to fit in healthy meals. Frozen or takeout is convenient but not always healthy. Sit-down restaurants can be time-consuming —- and pricey — for a family.
For some in the South Hills, the answer could be a personal chef.
Kimmers in the Kitchen is a new personal chef business that grew from a recipe blog started by Kimberly Smith of Upper Saint Clair in 2010.
As a personal chef, she does the grocery shopping, cooks the food in a commercial kitchen, and personally delivers the meals to clients within a seven-mile radius of Upper Saint Clair. She said her goals are to save her clients time, reduce their stress, and help people eat better. “I want to help them gain time and relaxation,'' Ms. Smith said.
She acknowledges that her culinary background does not include formal education but said she has been cooking and baking for as long as she can remember.
“Kim’s a really great cook and she makes a lot of stuff from scratch … the vegetables are all fresh and everything that she uses is excellent quality,” said Janet Moskal of Collier. She described Ms. Smith’s meals as well-rounded and nutritious. Working full time, Ms. Moskal said she sometimes buys convenience meals for her family of five “… but a lot of the stuff is really processed, whereas her food is fresh made with fresh ingredients, so it is more nutritious.''
The appeal of Kimmers in the Kitchen reaches beyond just the busy family, Ms. Smith said.
"You also have busy professionals, couples, singles,'' she said. "There is also a segment of the population unable to cook – the elderly, people who might have a physical disability, or people that just don’t like to cook but want to eat healthy.
Anyone interested in placing an order can visit the Kimmers in the Kitchen website to see the upcoming week’s menu.
“I typically post two poultry dishes, two vegetarian dishes, maybe a beef and a pork dish, and one or two seafood dishes,” Ms. Smith said. Clients can choose two to eight servings of each meal and no weekly commitment is required. After clients pay a grocery deposit, Ms. Smith will confirm the order, purchase the groceries, cook the meals on Sunday, and deliver them that Sunday evening at a prearranged time. She transports the food in a cold box to a limited delivery area for food safety purposes.
All meals are packed individually in vacuum-sealed bags and include reheating instructions.
“If someone decides to freeze the food, it is very storage friendly,'' Ms. Smith said. If the food is not going to be frozen, the vacuum-sealed bags help keep it fresh longer because it is exposed to little or no air.
When Ms. Smith conceptualized her business, she wanted to make it more attractive when compared to going to a restaurant. Kimmers in the Kitchen meal prices start at $6.67 per portion, plus groceries, which start at $2 per portion.
“For instance, groceries for chicken noodle soup with ciabatta averages around $2.50 per portion, while the cranberry portabella beef brisket with fingerling potatoes averages $8 per portion,” she said.
Susan Mammarella of Upper Saint Clair said all of the meals she has ordered have been elegant, well-prepared, plentiful, tasty and are kid- and husband-approved.
“Her food is different because it’s got those unique flavors you are looking for when going to a better restaurant, but it’s something that you can come home and quickly heat up without racing around,” Ms. Mammarella said.
Ms. Smith said she buys locally and if a family prefers all organic meals, she can accommodate.
"My basic desire is to just provide good, wholesome meals. … Nothing I buy is prepackaged,” she said.
Details: 412-879-0546 or www.kimmersinthekitchen.com.
Marsha Morgenstern, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.