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Palate Pleaser: Home-cooked meals for your enjoyment

Palate Pleaser: Home-cooked meals for your enjoyment

By Mark Abramson -- Staff Writer

7/26/04 Vandenberg Village entrepreneur Katie Jimenez has an idea to turn people away from take-out food and get them more into sit-down dining in the comfort of their homes.

Jimenez's new business, The Palate Pleaser, utilizes her 24-years experience of taking care of three children to whip up home cooked meals. She said she grew up in a family that was well versed in cooking. One of her sisters was a chef.

Jimenez got the idea for The Palate Pleaser after she read articles about personal chefs on a Internet site.

"I've been cooking for 25 years and I grew up in a family that cooks," Jimenez said. "I've always enjoyed it, and I thought I needed to do something I really know how to do well."

Jimenez sees commuters, perhaps seniors, and singles who shy away from the frying pan and anything more complex than punching in some numbers on a microwave as her clientele. Her idea is to develop a menu with her clients, do the grocery shopping to prepare the food, cook the grub in the customer's home, pop it in the patron's fridge or freezer for them to heat up later, and then clean up after herself. All of that could be done before the people get home from work, she said.

She wants to cook for folks in the Lompoc Valley, Santa Ynez, and Santa Maria. The prices start at $250 for 20 individual servings of five entrees and up to two side dishes that feeds up to four people.

The Palate Pleaser may be still in the preheating stage as a business, but one person who has sampled her food said it's worth whetting one's appetite over.

"She used me as a guinea pig to see how I liked it," said Barbara Klinedinst. "It was wonderful. She made me a really awesome asparagus and chicken dish."

Jimenez also cooked up a helping of breakfast burritos for Klinedinst.

The food prepared for Klinedinst is just a few of the dishes Jimenez can make. She has her own recipes, but joined the American Personal Chef Association to get hundreds of more recipes and tips for getting the business started.

Some of the other tasty treats Jimenez can make includes coconut shrimp; ginger chicken; garden stuffed potatoes with onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and scallions; marinated salmon with a herb-anchovy sauce; and roasted vegetable lasagna She has over 50 items on her menu.

"I would say my spinach manicotti and tequila basil shrimp kabobs are my specialties," Jimenez said.

When it comes to publicizing the fledgling business, Jimenez has relied on word of mouth, but she will soon be listed on the web site www.personalchef.com.

"The hardest thing is just getting the word out," she said. "People don't think they can hire a cook."

The Palate Pleaser can be reached at 733-4907, 588-3325, and by e-mail at palatepleaser1@aol.com.

Staff writer Mark Abramson can be reached at 736-2313, Ext. 126, or by e-mail at mabramson@lompocrecord.com.


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