Chefs work the phones for the QED Cooks: Soups and Stews Marathon on November 20, 2010 from 10am to 2pm on WQED.
The members of West PA Chefs understand the importance of spending time at home with your family and friends and a big part of that time is spent on eating. With the ever decreasing amount of time families find in their day to spend with each other, family meal time should still take center stage at home. Local cooking programming on WQED like QED Cooks is an important part of our community, offering useful information and recipes to busy families on how to keep meal time a family occasion and the chapter members are excited to volunteer their time to helping WQED continue to offer this unique and informative programming.
Several members have also contributed recipes to the QED Cooks: Soups and Stews cookbook which will include a variety of recipes from viewers and chefs throughout the region. Be sure to support this type of programming being offered on our region’s PBS station by tuning in and pledging your support!
The West PA Chefs is comprised of several independently owned and operated Personal Chef Services located throughout the Western PA Region, including portions of the Northern Panhandle of WV and bordering counties in Eastern OH.
Each chef offers a variety of Customized Meal Solutions including freshly prepared meals which are packaged and ready to heat and eat as well as offering chef services for small dinner parties, interactive cooking parties and demonstrations! Several member chefs also provide larger catering services, cooking instruction, meal pick up and preparation from commercial kitchen space. Others also provide cooking instruction and demonstrations to area organizations and libraries geared to teach children and adults the importance of proper nutrition and eating habits and doing so while still remaining within the family food budget.
Each of the member chefs specializes in a variety of areas which can include, depending on the chef, organic foods, special diets such as gluten free, weight loss, heart healthy, family meals, locally grown and/or foods for patients of illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. All meals are fully customized to the needs and taste preferences of the client and each chef will work with each client to ensure that any and all dietary, nutritional and taste preferences are followed. Something that you won’t likely find when going out to eat.
The direct tangible benefit to hiring your own chef will be the time saved in the actual meal preparation and the associated shopping while still enjoying palate specific meals at a surprisingly reasonable cost! Those who choose a chef to cook for a dinner party will no longer need to spend countless hours in the kitchen and will have more time to actually enjoy their party and the company of their guests while those choosing a chef to conduct a demo or interactive cooking party will have the fun of watching a cooking show on TV while being able to actually eat the results, all while spending time with friends and family!
The time and money saved as well as the health benefits of having preservative and additive free meals at your fingertips is incalculable!
Our members are also dedicated to providing services using as much locally grown products as are in season and available and several of the chefs volunteer their time and talent to area organizations, including the First Lady’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative (part of the Let’s Move! campaign) which pairs chefs with area schools to help improve the quality of school lunches as well as teach kids and adults the importance of cooking and eating healthier foods. Many of the member chefs were on hand at the launch of the Chefs Move to Schools campaign in June on the South Lawn of the White House along with chefs from around the country from organizations such as the ACF, IACP, USPCA and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.
Earlier this year, the active members of the chapter, each all ready having passed a series of examinations with the US Personal Chef Association and having achieved the status of Professional Personal Chefs, who were not all ready certified took the first step in the process of becoming Certified Personal Chefs®. Each member took an extensive exam which included, among other things, knowledge of cooking methods, nutrition and food safety. Each of the chefs passed the exam and several have since completed the process by accumulating continuing education, experience and volunteer points and becoming Certified Personal Chefs®. Those attaining CPC status must re-certify every 5 years by submitting further continuing education, teaching, volunteer and experience points.
USPCA Members who attain the CPC designation are also eligible to become instructors with the Culinary Business Academy (CBA), teaching others how to successfully operate a personal chef business. We are happy to announce the Chef Tim Hering CPC, president of West PA Chefs, has been selected to instruct 3 Personal Chef Quick Start and 1 Personal Chef Dynamics courses being offered by the CBA in the Pittsburgh Area beginning in March of 2011.
At the annual USPCA National Conference, held in Denver, CO this past July, the West PA Chefs took home the 2010 Excellence in Business award for USPCA Chapter of the Year. This achievement shows the commitment to providing the best services to their clients, their communities, each other and the personal chef industry.
Throughout the US and Canada USPCA personal chefs in a given area assemble and create a local chapter to help other chefs with community service, awareness campaigns and overall business development. Each of the 35+ chapters runs as a stand alone organization with guidance from the USPCA. Web sites, trade shows, community education programs and volunteer duties are all examined and evaluated to determine which chapter truly went above and beyond during the year. “The Western PA Chapter had outstanding efforts in every category” stated USPCA President Chef Gail Kenagy.
“Our chapter is like a well oiled machine with each member dedicated to industry excellence with a sincere desire to insure each chef is operating at peak proficiency” stated Chef Tim Hering CPC, President of the Western PA Chapter. “From educational meetings designed to help each member give the best possible service to their individual clients, to combining resources to market our individual businesses, the USPCA, our chapter and our industry to reaching out within our community to help others, the members of our chapter have gone above and beyond what is expected of them and each member and their clients have been enriched because of these efforts.”
Judges for this annual competition consisted of professional members within the USPCA.
For more information on the West PA Chefs and to find a chef in your area, please visit westpachefs.com. For information on Personal Chef Training options at the Culinary Business Academy, visit CulinaryBusiness.com. To find a Personal Chef in the Western PA region or across the United States and Canada, visit Hire-A-Chef.
President’s note: Since the time this post was written, West PA Chefs members have decided to open the group to all personal chefs in the region and is no longer affiliated as a group with the USPCA. Individual member chefs may still belong to the USPCA but it is no longer a requirement for group membership and national association membership is the choice of the individual chef.
My work with clients who have special diets as well as various health issues has lead me to do more research and coursework in Healing Foods. Recently one of my cancer patient clients was having much difficulty with nausea before eating (a common issue for cancer and chemo patients). In addition to her meals for the week, I prepared a pitcher of Cinnamon and Fresh Ginger Tea. Fresh ginger root is a fantastic natural remedy for nausea and cinnamon is an appetite stimulant. This tea really calmed the nausea and stimulated her desire to eat a bit. If your stomach is having an off day, sipping this tea may be a calming remedy for you. If you haven’t tried fresh ginger definitely give it a try. It is not the same as dried ground ginger. Fresh ginger root can usually be found in the refrigerated produce section of your market.
Cinnamon and Fresh Ginger Tea
Makes 2 cups
2 cups of water
1 slice of ginger root about 1 inch long, ¼ inch thick
½ cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Take off of heat and remove ginger and cinnamon. Add a bit of your natural sweetener of choice if desired; honey, agave, stevia.
Enjoy the warm tea and feel better!
Chef Catherine, Certified Personal Chef®
Catherine’s Personal Chef Service
Special diets, custom meal preparations, dinner parties and more!