An old friend sent me a new friend suggestion, via Facebook. Her name was Chef Dawn and her profile photo depicted her with a winning smile and that cute little Chef Boyardee hat. I thought, why not?
Chef Dawn, also on Facebook under Dawn’s Dinners, had a great website for me to peruse before meeting her: chefdawn.com. While navigating her site I found that I could order a fresh homemade dinner for 4 or 6 for generally $22 to $28, check out her reviews, read about her education, find a potluck helper, schedule a cooking class, check out her calendar of events, see what was in her “freezer”, and read, your guessed it, a mouth-watering blog.
I invited her over to chat. She brought one of her client’s favorites: Chinese Chicken salad with all of the crunchy hand cooked crispy noodles, citrusy homemade dressing and plenty of freshly cooked chicken. Come to find out customers request this same salad when they are sick, instead of chicken soup. I was in blogger’s heaven eating and writing about food.
New friend Dawn explained some of the sections from her site: “The reservation page just helps remind people, by first name only of course, what they’ve ordered and what fresh meals are available. The ‘freezer’ section is just that, what’s in my freezer that you may prefer to have in yours.”
“Comfort food, as what some of my clients call my food, simply feels good,” Chef Dawn began. “I can also create low-fat options that would appeal to the entire family, meals for Celiacs, those with dairy restrictions, whatever. I become friends with my clients; more like their ‘personal chef’. They may call my cell, even when I’m not cooking, if they have a ‘dining emergency’.”
At her home, when I picked up my next meal of 4 cheese penne pasta and steamed broccoli, I spied all of the fine fruits, vegetables and spices she uses growing right in her yard. Dawn deftly plucked me a cup o’berries. “I’m pretty particular about my ingredients. I shop for good deals and organics from Trader Joes, Costco, Farmer’s Markets and Bristol Farms. I’ve always done this for my family so now I do it for my business.”
Cooking with Wine
Chef Dawn cooks “with wine that you would drink without spending a fortune.”
“You can use your daily house wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti, Merlot, Port, Sherry…but not a lot of heavy wines. You can reduce Port, known as a reduction, that will go perfectly with fine cuts of meat like filet.”
From here Dawn tried to tell me how to de-glaze a pan with wine: “Brown the meat on medium-high heat and remove the meat from pan leaving the fond, or the browned and caramelized bits of meat stuck to the bottom of a skillet after cooking a piece meat. Pour some Chianti or a nice red wine in the pan and with a spoon, scrape the fond from the bottom. Add some fresh herbs. Reduce the sauce down by 75%, add some butter, salt and pepper and you have a great tasting pan sauce to pour over the meat, once the meat is finished in the oven.”
Dawn had a nice large kitchen cellar for her wines and I would like to watch her cook with wine, and share a bottle, soon.
How you know Chef Dawn cares
Chef Dawn surveys every client after every meal because she’s interested in feedback and building relationships. I had fun filling out mine:
Dinner: Chinese Chicken Salad
How much did you like dinner?
Comment: We all loved it!
How did your family like dinner?
Comment: as above
Would you order this meal again?
Would you try my services again?
Did you think your meal was a good value?
Would you recommend my services to others?
Comment: I will!
Comment to be featured on the website (include your name and occupation if you wish):
I am so happy to have discovered Chef Dawn on Facebook. We’ve just had our first meal at home this week and am ordering a new meal tonight. I love that Chef Dawn made me realize that we don’t have to eat out, each having different meals, to make everyone happy. She can do it for us in the comfort of our home…and our own wine! Eve, your SCV Wine 101 writer.
Thank you so much for your feedback. I really want to make this business succeed so your feedback is important to me.
The Bottom Line
What really sold me on Chef Dawn’s services for myself, were her final words, “We don’t eat at the same table with our kids anymore. Everyone has different tastes so people eat out at restaurants to satisfy the different taste desires of each member of their family. But my meals are tested by my own family of six. They are made with fresh ingredients and appeal to many different palates. I may be in my infancy, after one month in this side of my business, but I think most families want to break bread together at home, and not in a restaurant. My services take the stress out of deciding what is for dinner and also save you money. Where else can you feed a family of four for $22…in a restaurant or even at home?”