Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dishing Up Spring

I got a chance to catch up with my very busy friend Sheri Davis, who is the executive chef and owner of Dish Restaurant in the Virginia Highlands.
We were giggling like school girls in anticipation of the lovely produce that comes with this time of year. She said the strawberries grown regionally have been particularly beautiful this spring, and that she’s been enjoying the wild baby arugula brought in from local growers like Neil Taylor over at TaylOrganic Farm and other Georgia farmers and co-ops.

"In fact,” she said, “We’ve been running the strawberries and arugula as a salad special with gorgonzola from Sweet Grass Dairy, spiced pecans which also happen to be Georgia grown, and an aged-balsamic vinaigrette.”

That set my mouth a-droolin’ and I asked her about her favorite spring time ingredients. Dreamily she said, “Soft shell crabs, English peas and morel mushrooms – what a great combination that is.” A great combination that sure to be a special one night soon if it’s not tonight.

Sheri said due to the big nor’easterners and other ugly weather up north the cold water fish from the North Atlantic has been particularly gorgeous. “We’ve been getting beautiful halibut. It’s been screwing up the lobster but the fish is gorgeous,” she said, adding that the plump diver scallops and snapper have been beautiful as well.

Dish is open nightly at 5:30 p.m. and has been serving up delightful food with an always-relevant and pairing-friendly wine list for over eight years. The all-seasons patio is a fantastic place to sit and enjoy the best weather Georgia has to offer while dining on locally grown produce and watching the beautiful people of the Virginia-Highland district drift by. Call 404-897-3463 for more info and tell Sheri I sent you!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Life Chef™ celebrates May as
National Older Americans Month

Food for Life: The Mature Woman’s Guide
10 Tips for Health and Wellness Age 50 and Beyond

Everyday ingredients that can:
* Protect Your Heart
* Fight Cancer
* Cool Hot Flashes & Mood Swings
* Strengthen Bones
* Nourish Skin & Hair
* Relieve Joint Pain
* Boost Energy & Improve Sleep
* Ease Reflux & Heartburn
* Improve Digestion & Elimination
* Protect Your Teeth

This class is now being offered to groups in an effort to spread healthy living throughout the community!
* 10 person minimum for group rates of $25 per person
* Discounts for groups of 20 or more
* Discounts for non-profits

Ask about how you can get a FREE 1-hour lifestyle analysis when you book a group of 20+!
Session will be scheduled after the presentation date.

Food for Life: One Year of Healthful Living

Life Chef™ presents a new class

Food for Life: One Year of Healthful Living©

* Trade in your old habits for a permanent healthy lifestyle in one year.
* Learn delicious and nutritious ways to create a healthier you.
* Get a year’s worth of practical tips that you can start using right now.

You Will Receive:
1. “Food for Life: One Year of Healthful Living”© which includes 52 tips – 1 for each week of the year -- backed by science, industry and research that you can begin implement into your life immediately.

2. Cooking demonstrations and recipes illustrating nutritious, flavor boosting techniques taught by a classically trained professional chef.

3. Articles on health and wellness written by a veteran food and health journalist, and compiled from experts in holistic health, the food industry and the medical field.

4. Practical, no-nonsense information that you can use today regardless of your current health or diet to begin making permanent changes for a more healthful life.

5. References so that you can see the facts for yourself as you tailor your diet to fit your personal goals and make long-term improvements in your lifestyle.

This class is now being offered to groups in an effort to spread healthy living throughout the community!
* 10 person minimum for group rates of $35 per person
* Discounts for groups of 20 or more
* Discounts for non-profits

Ask about how you can get a FREE 1-hour lifestyle analysis when you book a group of 20+!
(Session will be scheduled after the presentation date.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Super Bowl Dip Recipes

Super Bowl Dips Recipes
Posted Jan 25th 2007 5:24PM by AOL Living Editor
Dip, Baby, Dip! by Chef Asata Reid

Host the "big game" without missing the play-by-play action (or the commercials) when you use this fantastic spread of dips. Choose party pleasers that will appeal to the wing dunkers, the celery crunchers or both. To keep your guests happy, and yourself out of the kitchen, call your local deli before game day to order a crudités and cheese tray and a couple of assorted wing platters. Pick up an assortment of breads, crackers and chips for dipping and you'll score as the reigning MVP of good grub.

Warm Crab, Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Good enough to eat with a spoon, this creamy crab, artichoke and spinach concoction will please the most finicky gourmet in your group.

Bacon Ranch Dip
Bacon is the best thing that ever happened to ranch, and this dip is the best thing that ever happened to a crudités or wing platter.

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Dip
Give plain, old hummus new life with the tangy sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh parsley.

Smoked Salmon Mousse
Use high quality smoked salmon, fresh dill and lemon juice to make this delicate mousse irresistible.

Nuke It Chili Cheese Dip
Can't cook? No problem as long as you have a can opener and a microwave. Turn up the spice on this cheesy chili dip with your favorite brand of salsa or hot pepper sauce.

Seven-Layer Cheese Dip
This Super Bowl classic won't weigh you down like the store-bought versions, which can be impossible to sink a chip through. The secret to seven penetrable layers is lightening the load with sour cream.

Roasted Red Pepper and Olive Tapenade
This Mediterranean-inspired mouthful explodes with flavor. Top the tangy tapenade with crumbled feta cheese for full taste overload.

Curry Lentil Pate
You'll never miss the meat in this vegan one-pot wonder.

Chocolate-Orange Fondue
Use chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa and break out the good liqueur for the classic flavor pairing in this fondue. Don't have a fondue pot? What did you think that slow-cooker was for?

Cheesecake Dip
This light and creamy dessert dip is great for dunking fresh fruit like strawberries or apple slices.

This article appeared as "Dip, Baby Dip!"on AOL Living before the 2007 "Big Game"

Life Chef's "Six Week Healing Foods Plan"


This original program is customized for each individual to analyze, maximize and implement better eating for better living. In six weeks, you will be empowered to optimize your food choices for better living and achieve personal goals that you determine in health, weight management, time consumption and more. You will have Print Materials, Coaching Support and Practical Application Tools to put your lessons into action for the rest of your life. The steps of the Plan include:

DIETARY ANALYSIS:Food should fit your lifestyle! What are you eating and why? How can you optimize your eating times and choices for optimum performance? I’ll show you how to CHOOSE THE RIGHT FUEL FOR YOUR SYSTEM so that you can fire on all cylinders in every aspect of your life. We’ll assess your health history, current state and ultimate goals and develop a plan to get you there and KEEP YOU THERE.

RECIPE & MENU DEVELOPMENT: You’re not like everyone else, so why should you’re meals be like everyone else’s? I’ll develop recipes and menus that fit your HEALTH GOALS, LIFESTYLE and FOOD PREFERENCES. And I’LL TEACH YOU how to develop your own recipes and menus. The DAILY DIETARY CHEAT SHEET makes eating well simple and fun.

MEAL PLANS: A little planning goes a long way. Armed with my QUICK PLAN techniques and FLAVOR PROFILE CHEAT SHEET, you’ll have less last minute stops to the grocery store, the answer to “What’s for dinner?” will be easily answered and you can spend less than 30 minutes on a meal that will healthfully and flavorfully sustain you and/or your family.

SHOP & COOK: We meet at the grocery store with a PREPARED SHOPPING LIST and take a GROCERY STORE TOUR where I show you what to get and where to find it, and then we go home and prep and/or cook meals that can be stored for easy heat-and-serve convenience. Most people go right for what they normally buy and have no idea of all that is available at their regular market. I will teach you how to SHOP LIKE A CHEF for great deals and ultimate freshness, which will increase the diversity of your diet and BREAK THE “FOOD RUT.”

COOKING CLASS: A few basics will give you a new relationship to food and cooking -- a healthy relationship. The BASICS CLASSES include: Vegetables, Grains 101, Soup and Salad 101, Fish and Shellfish, The Food Pyramid and Serving Sizes, The Pantry Makeover, Tools and Techniques, Soup 101 and Fresh Frozen and Fast Meals. Like all services, the Basics Classes are customized to your specific needs.

WEEKLY CONSULTS: Once a week we’ll spend on hour checking what works and what doesn’t to make sure your Healing Foods Plan works for YOU.

EMAIL/PHONE SUPPORT: To keep our goals active and achievable I am available via phone and email any time, and I will reach out regularly to lend support and answer any questions.

REFERRALS: An entire team of physicians, dieticians/nutritionists, chefs, masseuses and fitness instructors/trainers are available to ensure you meet your health goals and maximize your six week plan.

Life Chef Services


It's like bringing your favorite cooking show into your own home. Get hands on, one-on-one or group instruction with a professional chef who has a decade of industry experience. A wide range of cuisines, themes and techniques are available: Easy Entertaining, The Ultimate Cocktail Party, Elegant Cheese Boards, "Build Your Own" Parties, Great Starts and Finishes, Fantastic Finger Foods, Soup and Salad 101, Power Plant Eating, Five Meals-One Ingredient and more!


I analyze your diet and nutrition, health history, fitness goals and overall well-being. Then I develop recommendations to maximize your health. A full range of specialists are at your disposal to further your education about the greatest investment you can make -- your health: Physicians and specialists, dieticians and nutritionists, counselors and therapists, fitness instructors, body workers, vegan/vegetarian chefs, alternative healing practitioners.


Whether your party consists of 2 or 200, I'll make sure you are utterly catered to. No preprinted menus and services here. Every catered affair is custom designed to fulfill your tastes and preferences. Present food that will leave your guests speechless, or at the very least, talking about your event for a long tome to come. Nearly a decade of special events has given me the experience to create a culinary delight for any occasion.


Food is fun, and changing your relationship to food can save literally save your life. Information about good nutrition can set young people on a healthful path for the long haul, and even give people battling health issues a second chance at living well. Offices, schools and various groups all benefit from learning how to eat to live. And what's better than an easily digestible informational seminar complete with delicious examples? Education and health awareness never tasted so good!


Fad diets are unhealthy, but in order to make permanent healthy changes to your diet, you may need support. The same holds true with entering and exiting fasts. Quick fixes and sudden rapid changes can be detrimental to your body and actually reverse the benefits of fasting or dietary changes. As your Life Chef, I can help you maintain a dietary shift, fast or cleanse by supplying you with the appropriate foods/juices/broths, recipes and non-judgmental support.


Personal Chef services offer many benefits beyond the convenience of having a fridge stocked with delicious food. It's a good way to introduce healthy meals to the entire family, a delicious and luxurious reward for working out and working hard, and an excellent way to support a diet or make a dietary shift. Having a personal chef can ease preparation woes and boost your overall nutrition while diversifying your diet and bringing fun back into meal times. A personal chef can even make fasts and cleanses hassle free.


Shop like a chef and plan like a pro by choosing the freshest most delicious and cost effective ingredients, developing weekly menus in minutes and maintaining a well-stocked pantry. Save time, avoid the dreaded "What's for dinner?" question and actually enjoy mealtimes by taking the Shop & Cook class. The class can be used as a template to simplify shopping and cooking 52 weeks a year, or tailored so you can learn how to pull off entertaining a large group, elegant multi-course dinners and special gatherings like kids’ parties or anniversary dinners.


As a health reporter and food writer, Chef Asata Reid (a.s. reid) has published articles on health and food-related health issues. Copies are available, as well as a variety of helpful tools such as the “Cheat Sheets” on Flavor Profiles, Planning, Shopping and more. Inquire for a detailed listing.


This original program is customized for each individual to analyze, maximize and implement better eating for better living. It includes: Dietary Analysis, Recipe & Menu Development, Meal Plans, Shop & Cook Session, Cooking Classes, Weekly Consultations, and regular Email and telephone support. It may even include Personal Chef Services and Referrals as needed. In six weeks, you will be empowered to optimize your food choices for better living. You will have Print Materials, Coaching Support and Practical Application Tools to put your lessons into action for the rest of your life. For details see the enclosed sheet.

Life Chef FAQ

What is a Life Chef?

A Life Chef is your personal culinary consultant. As your Life Chef, my goal is to help you make food choices that fit your lifestyle, while maximizing the health benefits and empowering you to eat to live. My services will educate and empower you to make the best food choices for your life. Some of your Life Chef services may include: showing you how to plan menus and shop to free up more time; lead fun classes and cooking demos that show how easy eating better can be; and support healthy dietary changes or ease the transitions into and out of fasts.

What's the difference between a Personal Chef and a Life Chef?

Personal chefs prepare foods in clients’ homes or for delivery to clients’ homes. It's a service that is available to you as your Life Chef, but also I offer a wide range of services that will educate and empower you to improve and maintain your health, break out of the “Food Rut” and save time with convenient shopping tips, tools and techniques. Most importantly, everything we do together is tailored to and for you, to fit your lifestyle so that you can actually maintain good habits without depending on me, and without falling "off track" like so many diet and exercise fads.

Why do I need a Life Chef?
Just like a car your body needs top quality fuel to operate at peak levels. Food is the fuel for your body and your life, and regular assessment of that fuel is necessary to see if the food you are eating is actually working for or against you. What do you eat? When do you heat? How do you eat what you eat? And how do all of these factors impact your health, vitality, ability to concentrate and your overall performance. Food impacts how you feel, which can affect how you do what it is you do. As your Life Chef, I not only optimize your diet so that you're getting the best fuel for your life, but I will also teach you how to maintain your "machine" and alleviate potential or existing physical, emotional and spiritual problems that may be tied to food by referral to my network of professionals.

How does this work?

It starts with a phone call so that we can have an understanding of your needs. I may ask you to keep a “food journal” for a week because I need to know how, when and what you eat. Or I may ask a lot of questions about food preferences and dietary habits in order to customize an exciting menu for a special event or dinner for two. Before you know it you will not only be eating healthfully, but you will be able to prepare meals with confidence, or enjoy more free time as you get out of the kitchen, or improve the quality of your life with improved energy, vitality and health.

How much does it cost?

Just like your diet, your services are customized to suit YOU, so after an initial free consultation we’ll have a better idea of what you need and what I can offer.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Let the Gardening Begin

It’s spring! Which is exciting in itself, but even more so because spring is the seasonal gateway to summer harvests. And though I love the comfort and complexities of my winter root vegetables, and the heartiness and fantastic health benefits of winter greens, nothing gets my mouth a-waterin’ like the offerings from those small, tentative first-crops in the spring.

I think those first pickings are probably the most anticipated by gardeners and cooks alike. With my burgeoning green thumb, I find it invigorating to get out there and break the dirt for the first time since last summer (I don’t do winter gardening yet). My creative juices get flowing as I map out overly ambitious garden plans and fantasize about opening my own curb-market with the overages that will spring forth from my inner-city back yard. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Even Michael has the bug. His big thing is manure and dirt -- at least once a week he’ll give me a report on the lowest price of soil and such from sundry locales. More than once I’ve cleaned out the car and found little baggies of seed packets for melons, dinosaur kale and other items that I know he palmed when I wasn’t looking.

Since our two-year old Zen loves being outside anyway, joining us in the warm weather and plentitude of fresh-turned dirt is a little slice of heaven on earth for him. Armed with a wee plastic pail and shovel, and an impressive fleet of little construction trucks, he can play for hours in that Georgia red clay. Here's an elegant shot of said dirt as pictured on Kicking the Gourd. Now the stuff in our yard is a lot less cultivated but still has the same lovely warm ochre and staining power. White socks? What are those?

We have an interesting mix in our yard/garden of some really rich soil. The natural landscape is rolling and sloping so the garden area gets a lot of run off water, and with it silt. That makes for a nice mix with the clay-heavy dirt typical of this region, and I suspect years of dormancy and natural composting have helped enrich the soil. Now if we can just keep it at this quality as we attempt our urban-agriculture experiment.

The down side of city living mean I can’t show you what I’m talking about at the moment because my camera has been pilfered by someone I can only assume needed it more than I. Imagine an expanse of dirt... with wild clover slowly taking over. That's it for now. I’ll be taking pictures of our undertaking soon and I’m sure I’ll have much to share as we blunder our way through our gardening experience.

Awaiting Georgia's spring harvest

Spring has sprung!
Typically I know spring is officially when:
1. the tax deadline has passed
2. the robins are back
3. I have to crack the seal over my eyelids each morning that formed overnight due to the astronomically high, record-breaking pollen count in and around Atlanta. (Counts of 150 are considered very high, and we top out well over 700. Yikes)

But once I’ve supplicated at the feet of the IRS, defended by way-too-late-planted grass seeds from the invading red-breasted hoard and built up enough antihistamines in my system to be able to stop sneezing for five minutes, a certain giddiness kicks in and I realize…

Spring has come to Georgia where a crop of seasonal produce will soon be jaw-droppingly abundant. Specifically this means it’s fiddlehead fern season! Yeah baby!
Bring on the ramps from up in them thar hills, those plump garden peas and the deliciously delicate sweet pea tendrils that make for a stunning salad or garnish. In-coming are the first squash blossoms of the year begging to be stuffed with all kinds of goodies like herbed crab salad and artisan cheeses from Sweetgrass Dairy down in Thomasville.

On the way are tiny tender pinky-sized zucchini and patty-pans the size of popped popcorn that are just begging for a quick pass in hot pan with brown butter and fresh herbs – how’s that for fast food? And in a few months time, fresh (swoon) chanterelles (which many don’t know are grown here in Georgia) will be available. But I’m jumping ahead…

As I encounter discoveries of the season I’ll share them with you. I know there are some farmer’s markets that I’m going to making myself a regular at this year. And I’m planning on touring some of the local organic farms. There are a ton of them within an hour’s drive of the city which my friend Sheri Davis, chef/owner of Dish Restaurant, turned me on to by pointing me to Georgia Organics. She uses a lot of seasonal and locally grown produce at her award-winning restaurant in the neighborly-swank Virginia-Highland district.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What is a LIFE CHEF?

"What is a Life Chef?" you may ask.

Basically, I'm a personal culinary consultant. My job is to make the food you eat fit your lifestyle. I offer services that can help you live and eat better.

Doctors and nutritionists know what you should be eating but can they cook? Do they discuss the seasonality of foods, cooking techniques, and efficient shopping and preparation methods?

That's where I come in. Being a chef is more than cooking food; it's about planning menus, examining food cost, thinking of seasonal harvests and drawing upon the freshest, ripest, most delectable ingredients.

It's science and art. And I will show you how to plan and shop like a pro, cook like an artist, and eat like royalty without putting a major crunch on your lifestyle.

Food should be fun, easy, delicious and good for you. So let's get in the kitchen and play!