Hello! My name is Lisa and I am a private chef based out of New York City! I run a thriving catering business - All Good Things that feeds both celebrities and regular folks and I do this with the same consistent commitment since I firmly believe in spreading joy through food. Some of my celebrity clients include Alicia Keys, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Hillary Rodham Clinton (yup!), Hugh Jackman and Gloria Steinem! Gloria even went on to say "I lived in my apartment for a decade before I realized the stove didn’t work. So, I don’t cook, but I do know how to pick up the phone. When I need something more than the basics, I always call on Lisa! For the past eight years, Lisa’s been helping me with lunches, meetings, and large events. When Lisa caters, she often becomes the event, as her menu is fun, delicious, and healthy. She and her staff are professional and genuine, as well" Okay, okay I will stop with all my compliments :P
Other than providing nourishing food to my clients, I am also a blogger and web host! And since I am all about providing sustenance of the mind, body and soul, my platform provides consistent intellectual and spiritual simulations to my readers and viewers. Each week I weave together an observational lesson with a recipe, and share both with love and enthusiasm. Truly food for your soul!
Now that you know enough about me, the following is my day in the life of. For the most part, it’s kind of a strict routine of shopping, cooking, and delivery. My clients are depending on their weekly drop offs to make their lives run smoothly, so I try to adhere to this as closely as possible. But of course there are special catered events, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and random things that work their way into the schedule. I usually record voice over jobs and go on auditions on Wednesday, Thursday, or Fridays when I only have one drop off on those days.
8 AM: I wake up to NPR so I’m greeted with jazz music or a smart worldly interview as I greet the day. I feed my cat, Franklin Tiptoe Armstrong (named for the African American character in the Peanuts comic strip.) And I put water in the teakettle for French press coffee. I’m obsessed with chicory in coffee these days so that’s in the press as well. My first cup is mixed with a scoop of Bulletproof collagen for protein, healthy skin and bones, and to help with joint pain. I’ll eat a bowl of cereal while I scan emails/social media on my phone.
9 AM: In addition to being a personal chef, I’m also a voice over artist, so I’ll normally have an audition or two to record for my agent due by 10am. I have a little recording ‘booth’ in my closet with a microphone and I’ll record into my laptop.
10 AM: Hopefully, I went grocery shopping the night before, so all of my food is in my two refrigerators waiting to be prepared. If not, I make my lists and head out to my neighborhood market. I live in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. It’s primarily a Latin/Dominican area with some great ethnic ingredients and interesting produce. Since my move up here earlier this year, I include cinnamon fried plantains, black beans and yellow rice, as well as empanadas in my menu rotations pretty regularly.
11 AM: I cook for nine families/individuals weekly. Ideally, I get food to everyone at the beginning of the week, but now that I have so many clients, that’s an impossibility. My current roster is 2 drop offs on Sunday (both on Central Park West), 2 on Monday (both in the West Village), 1 Tuesday (in Long Island City, Queens), 1 Wednesday (upper Eastside), 1 Thursday(NYU area), and 2 on Friday(one in midtown and one in DUMBO, Brooklyn.) I cover a lot of ground! A drop off consists of 9 items: 3 main dishes, 3 vegetable/grain sides, and 3 soups/salads. Those 9 items can be broken up into lunches or dinners and mix and matched with their own prepared or purchased food - each family has their own set of dietary needs and routines. My first hour of cooking is probably the most hectic. I preheat the oven and start chopping vegetables for whatever components need roasting. Both racks are in full rotation. One pan comes out and I’m ready to load with another batch of vegetables
12 - 2 PM: I normally have all 4 burners on the stove going as well. One will have pasta or rice going, then one for quinoa or another grain, a skillet with a sauce starting, and another skillet sautéing things. All four burners are on constant rotation too, as one thing is complete, I’m on standby with another dish ready to hit the fire. I keep a scraps bowl next to me throughout the prepping process. Once it’s full of seeds and peelings, onion skins, stems, roots, chicken bones, and unused cores and stalks from greens, I put them in a big stock pot. I throw in a few garlic cloves, a couple of glugs of olive oil, some pepper corns, and a generous helping of salt. I get everything pan roasting on the stove and then cover it with water and turn up the heat. Once it comes to a boil, I reduce to a simmer and I am rewarded with a big pot of stock to use for cooking throughout the week. I go through so much produce, I try not to waste a thing. I feel like I’m doing my little part to take care of our planet :)
2:30 PM: Depending on where I am in the flow of things, I’ll have a bowl of soup or a portion of something I’ve prepared for someone as lunch. I’ll sit with my phone and scan emails/social media during this break.
3 - 5 PM: When I’m cooking for a family, their order is very specific, they’ve chosen it. Cooking for my single clients, I normally have more freedom and they let me choose a menu based on what’s in the farmer’s market that week, (I go to Union Square Green Market every Friday,) what inspiration I might have from blogs I’ve read that week or from Instagram. My last few hours of the work day are making sure my containers aren’t mixed up, that everything is sauced and garnished, labeled, and in the right delivery bag. I’m unbelievably organized and take pleasure in the game of fitting it all together. I’ve been doing this drop off system for almost 20 years!
5: 30 PM: Snack break - a bag of nuts or pretzels or another bar. If I’m doing multiple drops, I’ll call a car to come pick me up. If it’s just one, I’ll take it on the subway. (This transportation time, either subway or taxi, is my meditation and wind down time. I close my eyes and rest. One of my favorite parts of the day.) Some clients have given me keys to their home and I key in and load the fridge. Others, I am greeted by the doorman and he either lets me up or we’ll do a handoff of a bag full of this week's food for a bag of last week's clean containers. My clients pay me with the Venmo or there will be a check waiting. I text them that morning or night before what the total is. I charge them for my time plus the cost of food and delivery.
6:30 PM: I go to the gym for yoga and dance class, my reward for a long day of work. This is my way of recharging my batteries.
8:30 PM: I am a creature of food habit and have a Chipotle chicken salad nearly every night. No beans no rice. Lettuce, chicken, tomato salsa, corn salsa, more lettuce and then their chili lime salad dressing. I'll bring this home, feed Franklin, plop in front of the television, and have a glass of wine or a bottle of kombucha.
10 PM: Phone calls, email/social media, I’ll work on my weekly food blog All Good Things, and then menu planning for the upcoming days.
12 AM: Night time treats for Franklin, brush teeth and wash my face, and go to bed.