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Now you're cooking

Karen Rubin

Now you're cooking She recalled being too frazzled to cook after a long day at work, as well as dealing with the demands of a teenage daughter. But she quickly found a key to household happiness. She hired Bev Kinnaman, 49, a personal chef.

For $325, a family of three can eat for 10 days or more. Kinnaman comes to Noonan's home and whips up dishes like salmon with a pecan crunch coating, apricot chicken bake and apple meatloaf.

Roasted cauliflower, creamed broccoli and glazed carrots accompany the entrees it's your choice.

Kinnaman who markets herself as The Invisible Chef is one of a handful of personal chefs in the East San Gabriel Valley who are moving into the mainstream of average households.

"Everyone thinks this is for the rich and famous,' said Kinnaman, a single woman who lives in San Dimas.

There is another twist to Kinnaman's success. Soon after launching her business, she found herself in the swank kitchen of a Beverly Hills home preparing seven-course meals for the "American Idol' finalists.

During the program's run, she cooked for 25 people, including the finalists, their parents and the show's crew. Kinnaman has cooked for "American Idol' for two seasons.

Kimberly Caldwell, an "Idol' finalist in 2003, called Kinnaman "Mom.' This year's " Idol' winner, Fantasia Barrino, loved the pecan salmon crunch and runner- up Diana DeGarmo raved about her chicken tortilla soup. Kinnaman's boneless fried chicken was the hit of the house.

Kinnaman pampers the harried mom and the busy professional. She does the grocery shopping and cooks the meals. She packs them up and then leaves the place clean. She brings her own pots and pans and cooks with her own home-grown spices.

She accommodates vegetarians and those with food allergies. She provides organic foods, spa dishes and can prepare special diets.

If you long for some peach cobbler or chocolate chip cookies, she can do that too.

Food preparation takes five hours.

"But you really save money,' Kinnaman said. "It cuts out impulse buying and food spoilage. And you don't eat out as much.'

Plus, one cannot measure the cost factor with the time clients gain with family.

"The beauty of this is I don't have to think about it,' said Noonan, 57, whose daughter, Megan, 13, and husband, Mike, 63, sit down regularly together as a family and enjoy a home- cooked meal.

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