Hey, readers! I'm adding a new series on the blog! As you may know, I LOVE food and dining out and think that sometimes I train hard just so I can devour delicious food everywhere I go. I would rarely suggest a client completely stay away from dining out because that would be super hypocritical. That said, I also make sure clients understand that when they make the choice to dine out, they need to ask themselves if the food they order lines up with the goal they're trying to achieve. I KNOW it is possible to watch your weight AND have a social life and I want to prove it! So starting today, I will be highlighting an Evanston restaurant every month where locals can dine on food that not only tastes fantastic but also won't completely derail all of the work they've put into eating healthy at home and training at the gym!
To kick this new project off, I chose an Evanston business that brings restaurant-quality meals right to your door. Obviously, a meal-delivery business is not a restaurant but since ordering delivery is SO easy to do - and is where a ton of people fall off their nutrition plan - I thought it worthwhile to demonstrate that there is a nutritious way to do take-out!
Cooked, owned and operated by Chef Jona Silva and his wife Erin, was founded in 2014. The company's purpose, as you'll read below, is to help its "members" live their most full lives. I was introduced to the company by my client Ruth and since then have gotten a lot of other clients - and myself - hooked on the incredibly yummy meals (seriously: absolutely delicious). Now, I love to cook and pride myself in making nutrient-dense meals but I'm not afraid to admit that sometimes I'd rather spent my time with friends than meal prepping for the week.
So without further ado, read all about Cooked below!
Can you explain what your purpose is and how that translates into the way you put meals together?
My purpose is to empower people to be present in their everyday life. We live in times when there exist many things that demand our attention. By providing tasty and nutritionally balanced meals, I hope to help people have more time to spend in some of their other priorities, either spending time with their family, having time to get a workout during the day, focus in their business etc. My meals are in a way like an insurance policy, something to fall back on the weeks that you do not have time to cook for yourself, but also do not want to sacrifice your health and the impact in the environment.
How do you or your family meal prep for the week?
During the day while I am at work my wife prepares lunch for the kids, sometimes they come visit at the kitchen and have lunch with me. Dinner time however it is a nice ritual, either my wife or I prepares the dinner, we lite candles etc, and as a family we sit down and enjoy that time together.
Do you ever hit “writer’s block” with cooking or just get bored with food? If so, how do you get out of that rut?
My problem with cooking is the opposite, I want to continue creating new dishes every week! This is only a problem because of the time and resources you have to dedicate to that, and also our "members" like to revisit dishes that they like. They often ask for a dish to be repeated.
What is your favorite treat?
I don't really have a favorite treat in particular. Because of my upbringing I sometimes crave some authentic cuisines: Either Mexican, French, Spanish, Moroccan. When that happens I either hit a taco spot in Rogers Park, a Bistro downtown or make it myself.
What do you think the most versatile vegetable is?
One of the most versatile vegetables, and also one of the most underutilized, is cauliflower. You can make a salad by just grating it and adding herbs, lemon and salt. You can steam and blend it with cashew to create a silky and reach cream. You can grilled and use it as a steak that you can serve with a chimichurry sauce. There are several uses for this humble vegetable.
What are the top 3 reasons you hear people don’t cook for themselves?
#1: Lack of time
#2: They don't know how
#3: They live alone and they don't like cooking for themselves
What is your most popular dish?
The dishes that are more popular are the dishes which fit the weather the best. For example on a snow day a braised chicken dish would sell tons while ass soon as we have a couple of nice days, salads start going out the door.
What are the top three things everyone should have in their kitchen?
A heavy saute pan with a lid, a French skillet and a blender. You can make almost anything with those three.
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