Category Archives: www.justin-thyme.com

Welcome!  Below are a few photos of some new small plate ideas I’ve been working on including: chili crusted tuna tataki, bobwhite quail w blue corn arepas, vanilla spiked foie w barrel aged burbon and 24 hr sous-vide short rib w syrah redux. Ultimately, the goal here will be to post easy recipes of dishes like these along with plating notes, a step by step photographic guide and wine pairing suggestions. I would love to hear any requests for specific dishes from our readers and of course, #wine pairing suggestions are always welcome. Hope you enjoy!

foie gras, lady apple, tahitian vanilla, barrel aged bourbon maple syrup

foie gras, lady apple, tahitian vanilla, barrel aged bourbon maple syrup

Tuna Tataki, Fennel Slaw, Florida Navel, Chili Syrup

Tuna Tataki, Fennel Slaw, Florida Navel, Chili Syrup

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Salted Caramel-Pretzel Brownie, vanilla bean gelato, chocolate dipped "cocoa puffs"

Salted Caramel-Pretzel Brownie, vanilla bean gelato, chocolate dipped “cocoa puffs”

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Recipe: Key Lime Tartlets

Recipe: Key Lime Tartlets.

Key Lime Tartlets

Personal Chef Media – Personal Chefs in the News

Written By:
Scott Joseph
Sentinel Restaurant Critic
Orlando Sentinel

Too busy for the kitchen? Special diet? A pro can slice and dice for you — at home.

Tampa personal chef

Tampa personal chef in the kitchen

The busier we become, the more we look to others to help us simplify our lives. Services that might seem a luxury become easier to justify as a necessity.

We’ll hire a lawn service, maybe have someone come in to clean the house regularly, and even drop the laundry off with the dry cleaning.

Now there’s a growing sector of service professionals available to help out with one of your most important daily duties: dinnertime. They’re called personal chefs, and they come into your home and cook your meals.

Oh, right, you’re thinking, I can have the chef bunk with the chauffeur in the rooms over the carriage house. But a personal chef is different from a private chef, and the cost is a lot less than you might imagine. And for some people it’s a service that not only is cost-effective but also a provision that is even more essential than having someone mow the grass.

Eric Kunichika, a Longwood physician, and his wife, Deanne, a dentist, have used Justin of Justin Thyme for about 21/2 years. Kunichika admits that for two doctors the cost isn’t a factor, but he says he has referred friends who are laborers to Justin Thyme.

“It isn’t cost prohibitive,” he says. “The cost to go out to eat is fairly substantial, and I have wines at home I can open that are more economical.”

The client pays for all the food and seasonings the chef purchases, and any items unused are left in the refrigerator. The cost of hiring a personal chef varies from one chef to another and depends on the situation — for instance whether it involves cooking for a special occasion or with special ingredients. Dale Pyle, a part-time personal chef, says $15 to $20 per entrée per person is typical.

And as Pyle says, “If you add up all the times you go out to eat, order in or stop at the drive-through, and the food you buy and throw out” because you never got around to cooking it and it spoiled, the cost is comparable to an average restaurant meal.

“You can get the same meal at your house and eat it in front of the TV in your underwear.”

A measure of independence

A personal chef differs from a private chef in that the latter is someone who is employed by one client and cooks exclusively for that individual or family. A private chef might very well live at the client’s home, though it’s doubtful one would agree to share accommodations with the chauffeur.

A personal chef works for several clients and is an independent contractor who owns his or her own business.

Justin-Thyme and Pyle are among the 10,000 personal chefs estimated to be working in the United States, according to the American Personal Chef Association.

Justin-Thyme has worked as a private chef and also did time working the lines in the kitchens of well-known restaurants in South Florida. But he likes the independence — and the more reasonable hours — of working as a personal chef. When he was working in a restaurant, he says, he never had weekends or holidays off. Now he works only weekdays, 9 to 5, and finally has time to spend with his fiancée. He’s happy he made this career move.

“Quality of life factors into it,” he says.

More chefs are coming to that realization, according to Candy Wallace, executive director of the San Diego-based American Personal Chef Association. She says that when she started her organization 10 years ago, she knew of about 30 personal chefs. Those numbers are blooming. Her Web site, she says, gets about 1 million hits every month.

Of course, some of those hits are from potential clients looking for someone to do the cooking. According to Wallace, consumers will hire a chef for a number of reasons. Foremost is the convenience factor, the dual-income working couple who don’t have time to prepare good food after a day of work.

Some people hire personal chefs for medical reasons. If a physician recommends a special diet, a personal chef can assure that regimen is followed. And seniors will contract the services of a personal chef to maintain their independence instead of moving to a care facility.

Pyle, whose company is called At Your Service, says he often gets calls from out-of-town adult children to hire him to cook a week of meals for elderly parents. Pyle’s last job in a professional kitchen was in a retirement village in Lake County, so a lot of his clients choose him because he knows about proper nutrition and the special needs of the elderly.

Have knives, will travel

That was the case with Lake Mary residents Ed and Phyllis Lower, who found Pyle after doing an Internet search for personal chefs. They wanted someone who could cook meals that fit into Ed Lower’s diet for diabetes. After interviewing three chefs, they decided to hire Pyle.

The chef goes to the Lower house with everything he needs, including pots and pans. He has a large Rubbermaid bin, a smaller plastic container, his knife roll and a cooler with meat and fish on ice. Pyle even brings his own cutting boards, including a separate one for the meats.

It would be convenient for the chefs to do some of the prep work at home, slicing and dicing the vegetables for the dishes. But the licensing restrictions don’t allow that unless the chef’s home kitchen is approved for professional cooking. It’s an odd technicality because the clients’ kitchens aren’t licensed for professional food production either.

Pyle, who also teaches at the Orlando Culinary Academy, says he isn’t looking to build a huge client base. He says his average client will have him cook 20 meals at a time, two portions of 10 entrees plus side dishes, to be refrigerated or frozen for reheating at a later date.

Except for the occasions when they’re hired to cook for a dinner party, all the personal chefs fix multiple meals that are fully or partially prepared for the client to finish later.

And here’s the drill

Each meal begins with the chef doing the shopping. Before heading to a client’s home, justin-thyme makes trips to Publix and Whole Foods, where he purchases fresh fish, poultry and produce. Just before he goes inside he changes from his “civvies” into a crisp white professional chef’s tunic, even though he says it isn’t unusual for him to go to a job, spend his 21/2 to three hours cooking and cleaning up after without ever seeing the client.

A personal chef will usually schedule an interview with a new client to assess likes and dislikes. There’s no sense in hiring your own chef if he or she makes food you don’t like. The Lowers keep a file in a bright yellow folder labeled “Chef Dale” with notes on past meals. A note next to the stuffed pork loin notes it was good, but next to the chicken cacciatore they’ve written “bad.” Pyle says it doesn’t hurt his feelings to receive the negative feedback; he’d rather be cooking the things clients like.

The Lowers have Pyle come in to cook several times a year to prepare multiple meals that he freezes. They say they eat out at restaurants often, but when they stay home, they heat up one of Pyle’s frozen dishes, following the typewritten directions he leaves behind.

Phyllis Lower says she used to cook a lot, but now that it’s just the two of them, it doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

“I like to cook,” she says, “but some of the meals that took a long time to prep . . . why bother?”

And, she says, there’s one other big advantage to hiring a personal chef: “He cleans up so well.”

Scott Joseph can be reached at sjoseph@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5514.

Copyright © 2004, Orlando Sentinel

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1916&dat=20040602&id=mw0hAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3nQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4675,185634

Recipe: Mango Salsa

The mango is a very common tropical fruit usually found in Southern Asia, especially in Eastern India, Philippines, China, Burma, Andaman Islands and Central America. It is cultivated and grown vastly in many tropical regions and widely distributed in the world.

Mango is one of the most extensively used fruit for food, juices, flavor and coloring making it as the most functional fruit. The ripe fruit is variable in size and color, and may be yellow, orange, red or green when ripe, depending on the cultivar. When it is ripe refreshingly sweet taste that varies from every variety. Its flesh has its fibrous and some are soft and pulpy texture.

One of my favorite uses for mango is fresh salsa. It makes a great accompaniment to all sorts of grilled fish and chicken recipes.

Ripe Mango

cubed Mango for salsa

Ingredients for Mango Salsa:
  • 2 peeled, pitted and diced small
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 /2 small european cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chopeed scallion
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted mustard seed
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions:
  1. Chop mango, red pepper, cucumber, scallion and red onion and combine in a bowl.
  2. Mix lime juice, olive oil, sugar mustard seeds & salt and pepper in a small bowl, whisk together.
  3. Mix into salsa.
  4. Add chopped cilantro and stir until combined.
  5. Enjoy with fresh tortilla chips, on grilled fish or chicken or as an accompaniment to a fresh green salad

mango salsa

History of Mango:

Native to southern Asia, especially eastern India, Burma, and the Andaman Islands, the mango has been cultivated, praised and even revered in its homeland since Ancient times. Buddhist monks are believed to have taken the mango on voyages to Malaya and eastern Asia in the 4th and 5th Centuries B.C.

The Persians are said to have carried it to East Africa about the 10th Century A.D. It was commonly grown in the East Indies before the earliest visits of the Portuguese who apparently introduced it to West Africa early in the 16th Century and also into Brazil. After becoming established in Brazil, the mango was carried to the West Indies, being first planted in Barbados about 1742 and later in the Dominican Republic. It reached Jamaica about 1782 and, early in the 19th Century, reached Mexico from the Philippines and the West Indies.

Ripe Mango on the vine

Source: Julia F. Morton’s “Fruits of Warm Climates”: Mango

Note: There are a few vari­eties of mango that are com­monly found in Amer­i­can gro­ceries stores. The most com­mon are the Haden, Tommy Atkins, and  Kent vari­eties, all of which have yel­low or green skins with a red­dish blush to them. If you do find an Ataulfo or Cham­pagne mango, it will have a smaller, kidney-like shape, yel­low skin, and small pit, so use 5 or 6 for this recipe. To choose a ripe but firm (com­mon) mango make sure it has a red­dish blush and firm skin. The mango should give slightly when squeezed and be fra­grant. If you acci­den­tally peel a mango that is too green, no wor­ries, cut it into small slices, sea­son with lime juice and sprin­kle with salt. You’ve just made man­goviche! Deli­cious!

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Tampa Personal Chef Services

Full Service Dinner Parties

personal chef tampa

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area!

Do you love fine food and wine but dread a long night out at a fine dining restaurant? In today’s dining scene, people are taking advantage of another option! If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant, you could think of it this way: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance that your server is having a good day, and if you have allergies or special requests you don’t always have the guarantee that they will be honored, since most entrees are “assembly line” ready in the kitchen.

After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home. If you have a Personal Chef Service, you can eat a wonderful entrée that has been prepared specifically for you palate and requirements, and eat it in the comfort of your own home.

How it works:
Chef Justin will help create a delicious gourmet menu suited to your particular tastes for any special dining event in your home. He consults with you about what kind of party you’d like to give, how many guests you plan to invite and any other special detail to make your party perfect. He will then design your special custom menu of four or five courses suited to your particular tastes as well as help you pair up the best wines with the cuisine. We are also happy to make changes to the menu to accommodate a guest’s special requests or restrictions. Once menus are finalized, we print up custom copies detailing your event for your guest

Chef Justin will take care of all the shopping, arrange for any rentals needed, schedule his highly professional and personable wait staff as requested and arrive a few hours before the first guest to set up the kitchen and start cooking.

He brings his own utensils and all the cooking equipment and begins the set-up for the night’s festivities. The wait staff will arrive at least an hour before your dinner, finish any last-minute arrangements and then cheerfully greet and serve your guests.

You’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and our high-end four-star service, and then, while you’re savoring dessert, we’ll scrub your kitchen spotless as you bask in your guests’ praise at what a clever host you are for bringing in a private chef to create such a delicious and memorable experience!

view our sample dinner menu!

personal chef tampa

Service includes:
An intimate, 3-5 course seated dinner party in the comfort of your home. Custom menus, menu shopping, table service, seated amusé, intermezzo (if 5 or more courses), kitchen clean up and a delicate washing of your servingware.

If you any have questions about our Tampa cooking classes or would like to book a dinner party or purchase a customized gift certificate, please contact us today at: Justin-Thyme.com

Additional Personal Chef Services Available to the Tampa area:
Personal Grocery Shopper
While we are out shopping for your menu or picking up supplies for your cooking class, we can pick up some of the extra household items you may need for an additional charge. (pet food, cleaning/laundry supplies, etc.)

Hors d’oeuvres Soiree-
A cocktail party for 20 guests with a variety (8-10) of seasonal hot and cold hors d’oeuvres.
$325 + Groceries: Prepared, packaged & left for you to serve your guests in your home
$975 + Groceries: Prepared & served with wait staff during a 2-hour cocktail party in your home

Holiday Prep
If the hassle of preparing for the holidays is wearing you down, let Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service come and prepare all your culinary delights for you. Then all you have to do is heat and eat!

Date Nights
One of the key elements to keeping a relationship interesting and exciting is the unexpected! Incorporating a “Date Night” with unique and special activities does wonders! Call us today for more details!

‘Secret’ Chef Service
If you want your friends to think you’ve been cooking over a hot stove all day in preparation for your party, let Justin-Thyme Personal Chefs take care of all the details! We will prepare your menu from soup to nuts then sneak out the back door prior to your guests’ arrival so you can take all the credit. No one will be the wiser! We also provide you with all of the recipes of the day to share with your guests!

In-Home Dinner Parties/ Corporate Luncheons
Want to create a memorable event that your guests will be talking about for a long time to come? Whether it’s a holiday party, family BBQ, a sit-down multi course meal or a corporate event, Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service can accommodate your needs, providing that WOW factor you seek.
See our sample dinner menu!

Interactive Dinner Parties
Love to host parties but dread the thought of shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning? How about having an interactive dinner party where Chef Justin provides a hands-on cooking demonstration with you and your guests. Chef Justin will help you plan a dinner menu and will bring all the ingredients to your home for the party. Once the cooking is done, you enjoy your meal with your guests while we clean up the mess in the kitchen!

Kids/Teen Cooking Classes
Kids/Teens are taught healthy/delicious cooking techniques, sustainable cooking/shopping and basic knife skills with every class! Cooking classes can consist of learning how to make healthy after school snacks to an entire dinner! ‘Kids in the kitchen’ is a 2 hour cooking class for ages 5-12. ‘Teens in the Kitchen’ is a 3 hour cooking class for ages 13 and up, call for details!

Personal Chef Tampa Justin-Thyme

© 2003-2010 justin-thyme personal chef service. Tampa, FL USA

Justin-Thyme Food Photography 2011

A collection of some of our favorite and/or signature dishes from the past year. Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area.

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area!

Do you love fine food and wine but dread a long night out at a fine dining restaurant? In today’s dining scene, people are taking advantage of another option! If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant, you could think of it this way: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance that your server is having a good day, and if you have allergies or special requests you don’t always have the guarantee that they will be honored, since most entrees are “assembly line” ready in the kitchen.

After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home. If you have a Personal Chef Service, you can eat a wonderful entrée that has been prepared specifically for you palate and requirements, and eat it in the comfort of your own home.

How it works:
Chef Justin will help create a delicious gourmet menu suited to your particular tastes for any special dining event in your home. He consults with you about what kind of party you’d like to give, how many guests you plan to invite and any other special detail to make your party perfect. He will then design your special custom menu of four or five courses suited to your particular tastes as well as help you pair up the best wines with the cuisine. We are also happy to make changes to the menu to accommodate a guest’s special requests or restrictions. Once menus are finalized, we print up custom copies detailing your event for your guests to keep.

You’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and our high-end four-star service, and then, while you’re savoring dessert, we’ll scrub your kitchen spotless as you bask in your guests’ praise at what a clever host you are for bringing in a private chef to create such a delicious and memorable experience.

We service the following areas:  Tampa, Clearwater, Dunedin, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Mango, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, South Tampa, St. Petersberg, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs, Tierra Verde, Orlando Fl

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Tampa‘s Premier Personal Chef!

Full Service Catering in Tampa

tampa caterers

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service provides elegant full-service event catering to the to the Tampa Bay area!


We offer a complete selection of catering services intended to make your party stress-free! Whether it’s a wedding, an intimate dinner for two, Sunday brunch, a cocktail party, a bridal shower, a casual backyard party, a holiday celebration or a charitable fundraiser…Justin-Thyme can provide you with an occasion to remember! We can also help you with service referrals including: servers, bartending personnel, equipment rental, party decoration, entertainment and floral arrangement. We’ll help take the stress out of planning you event. And, unlike traditional caterers whose line cooks may prepare your food in an off-site kitchen hours before the event and transport it to your location, chef Justin prepares the majority of your foods hot and fresh right on premises.

Please call us at (407) 493-6065 or e-mail us at chefjustinthyme@gmail.com and we can discuss your specific catering needs.

personal chef tampa tampa catering

Please call us at (407) 493-6065 or e-mail us at chefjustinthyme@gmail.com and we can discuss your specific catering needs.