CHEF TAKES MEAL DELIVERY AND MAKES IT GOURMET.Byline: Pam Park Staff Writer
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tr.v. en·crust·ed, en·crust·ing, en·crusts
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v. seared, sear·ing, sears
1. To char, scorch, or burn the surface of with or as if with a hot instrument. See Synonyms at burn1.
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long narrow green beans that are cooked and eaten as a vegetable and warm French bread. If such a meal, prepared by a former Spago chef and delivered to your door, sounds like dinner on the table, that's just what Betsy Bowers Bowers is a surname, and may refer to
Dinner's on the Table is her business.
Bowers, formerly a Chicago printing company vice president, moved to Woodland Hills three years ago because of her husband's job change, but she turned the move into an opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.
``I've always wanted to cook,'' said Bowers, who grew up in a family of good cooks.
After the move Bowers enrolled in the Westlake Culinary Institute and had a job at Spago before she even finished the program.
She loved the work, but the late nights cut into her time with her husband and 7-year-old daughter.
``When you love it, it's not a hardship. But when you love it and there are other things tugging at you, it's a problem,'' Bowers said.
She reasoned that other people who want more time for their families, don't like to cook or are too busy to spend their evenings chopping and dicing could use some expert help. Just over a year ago, she cooked up Dinner's on the Table.
Once a week, Dinner's on the Table delivers three to seven gourmet meals for one person or a whole family. Each meal is packaged in disposable containers and labeled with instructions on how to prepare it, which in most cases involves putting it in the oven for about one-half hour. Some foods can be stir-fried if Mom or Dad want to appear to be cooking a homemade meal, Bowers said.
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``Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when we are all trying to accomplish things, is our busiest time of day,'' she said. ``Dinner's on the Table works very well for me that way, and it's a lot more nutritious than fast food.''
The meals come together quickly, and with a large family's individual tastes, she can even serve different entrees at the same meal.
``I have taken Dinner's on the Table to potlucks before. I can show up with this really nice thing, and people (ask) who brought the paella,'' Gosnell said.
Georgia Mercer of Tarzana appreciates the quality and convenience - and there's no cleanup.
``You take the tins and you put them in the trash,'' she said. ``It's just been such a wonderful opportunity to stay in your own home and feel like you're out at a good restaurant.''
The meals arrive in a cooler with ice packs that will keep them cold for 12 to 18 hours, even in direct sunlight, so no one needs to be home to receive them, Bowers said.
On a schedule of three meals per week, the price is $75 for one adult. Each additional adult costs $50, and each child, $25. That's about half what people pay for a personal chef A personal chef is a chef that goes to a client's home and prepares meals for their client based on their needs and personal preferences. Unlike a private chef that purchases the ingredients, prepares the meal, and cleans up after the dinner, a personal chef will leave meals in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , and without the intrusion, Bowers said.
``This is the invisible personal chef.''
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Personal chefs usually bring the groceries to the client's home, prepare an agreed-upon number of meals, clean up the kitchen and disappear.
Prices can vary widely by region, and most clients request comfort food rather than gourmet food, but the average nationwide price for personal chef services would be about $10 to $15 per plate, he said.
Janet Lowder, consultant for Restaurant Management Services in Rancho Palos Verdes Rancho Pal·os Ver·des
A city of southern California on a channel of the Pacific Ocean west of Long Beach. Population: 42,100. , said there is a market for personal chef services and variations.
``I've seen quite a bit of the personal chef-type services. The key in that market niche is convenience, and everybody is looking for Looking for
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Bowers' customers are located from Hollywood west to Malibu and along Ventura Boulevard Ventura Boulevard is one of the primary east-west thouroughfares in the San Fernando Valley; as it was originally a part of the El Camino Real (the trail between Spanish missions), Ventura Boulevard is the oldest route in the San Fernando Valley. It was also U.S. from Studio City to Calabasas.
In addition to busy families, clients include single people, the elderly and the ill.
Some adult children worry that their elderly parents aren't eating well and order the service for them, Bowers said. She also serves a couple of cancer patients, and that's very gratifying grat·i·fy
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
2. for her because her mother died of cancer.
``It makes me feel so good that I could give something back.''
Customers get a menu each week and choose their entrees for the following week.
Bowers cooks the meals in the kitchen at Spago in West Hollywood West Hollywood
A community of southern California northeast of Beverly Hills. It is mainly residential. Population: 36,600. on Mondays, when it's closed. She uses the same suppliers as the top restaurants in Los Angeles and buys fresh vegetables and herbs from farmers markets.
On Nov. 1, she had 27 clients. Her goal is to have 100 within two years.
``It has been growing at a very nice pace. It has never lost money. It has turned a profit from day one,'' she said. ``I would love to see this in a situation where it's a household name. The sky's the limit.''
(1 -- color) Betsy Bowers personally delivers a meal cooked in the Spago kitchen to Victoria Barrosse of Woodland Hills.
(2 -- color) Betsy Bowers cooks in the Spago kitchen.
(3 -- color) Victoria Barrosse unpacks her special meal.
(4 -- color) Dinner's on the Table delivers to the door.
John McCoy/Staff Photographer