Chandler chef brings haute cuisine to homes SanTan Sun News

Chandler chef brings haute cuisine to homes

Chandler chef brings haute cuisine to homes
Business
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By Coty Dolores Miranda
Contributing Writer

There was a time when only the wealthy employed housekeepers or landscapers, yet now they’re the mainstay for many working families.

Chef Noon, of Chandler-based Chef Noon Culinary Services, believes that having a personal chef is a new trend joining those services once considered the province of the well-heeled.

“We’ve set our prices so families can afford to have a personal chef,” said Chef Noon, an Army veteran who saw action in Iraq before mustering out in 2010.

The Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts graduate, whose given name is Rafael Colon — “Noon” is a childhood nickname — has been in the personal chef business for three years. He and his wife Jenny Colon, co-owners of Chef Noon Culinary Services, reside in Chandler with their 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.

The couple believes busy families who eat out several times a week can probably spend less procuring a personal chef.

And there’s the additional benefit, they say, of eating nutritious meals based on their tastes and dietary needs and made with quality ingredients.

Moreover, the personal chef does the shopping for all ingredients needed for that week, and then prepares the dishes in the client’s home — and even cleans up.

Besides the convenience, it’s the nutritional and taste-packed varied meals that are most valued by their clients, many of whom require special diets like gluten-free or dairy-free.

“We customize menus for our various clients’ wants and needs; we even have paleo or keto (ketogenic) clients. And if anyone in the family has allergies, we prepare meals to keep them safe,” explained Colon.

“We see that more and more people are discovering food is fuel for the body, and they want to eat mindfully. All our foods are made from fresh ingredients, there are no additives,” he added.

One of the unique aspects of his company is their partnering with other personal chefs, said Colon.

“We’re definitely an anomaly in the personal chef business because we partner with other chefs who may want to be in the business, but don’t want to own their own business,” she said.

But they don’t come aboard just because they want to join Chef Noon Culinary Services.

“We have a proven process in selecting our chefs,” Colon said. “This consists of us inviting potential candidates to cook for us — a chef tryout. We give them a menu and production list which is made up of a basic service, and then have them cook for us in a home kitchen.”

The candidates prepare a chicken dish, seafood dish and one with red meat, all of which cover the various menu items provided by the Chef Noon Culinary Service.

“This gives us the opportunity to work together and get to know the chefs better. It gives us a view of their knowledge of food safety and handling, timing and efficiency and of course, the overall food quality, taste and presentation,” he said.

His three current chefs — Chef Katarina (Kat) O’Shaughnessy, Chef Dean Artman and Chef Mark Hughes — are, like Colon, members of the United States Professional Chef Association and are covered by a liability insurance policy.

“This offers our clients peace of mind that they’re inviting a trained professional into their home,” said Colon.

The culinary service begins with meal planning, one that involves Ahwatukee resident Kasey Croxton, client relations manager for the company.

She assists the chefs in customizing the menus to meet the client’s dietary needs and preferences.

Croxton is a mother of three who formerly was rentals manager for Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

The client’s preferences are paramount, she said, and a menu is sent for review and approval a few days prior to the in-home preparation. Seasonal items and fresh ingredients are used in the planning process.

The personal chef then arrives every week on the day and time agreed upon, bringing all ingredients needed — and for which they shopped for.

Each of the meals are prepared in disposable cookware and can be packaged family-style or by individual servings. Heating instructions are included.

“We reserve the same day and time each week, as well as the same chef, for our clients,” said Colon “We don’t have contracts, yet we keep that day and time reserved until we’re told otherwise.”

Ahwatukee clients Andrew and Jessica Gattuso are well satisfied with their weekly service by Chef Noon Culinary Services.

“Andrew and I have lived in Ahwatukee for 17 years and both have full-time careers as a lawyer and an engineer,” said Jessica Gattuso. “We’ve been using Chef Noon for six months, and with two kids, ages 7 and 9, the service has allowed us as parents to spend more quality time with our kids.

“We no longer have to spend the weekend meal planning and prepping. And during the week we have more quality time as a family.”

The Colons empathize with the value of spending more time with family.

After three years in the U.S. Army and four in the Army Reserve, Chef Noon said he was ready for quality time with his family, and a career allowing him freedom to choose when and where to work.

It was the same for his wife, who had spent 18 years in the high-pressure marketing field, working for big name corporations headquartered in Chicago, where the two met.

When Noon was deployed to El Paso before heading for Iraq, Colon relocated to be with him. Their daughter was born two weeks before he shipped out.

Being together and working together their priority upon moving to Arizona in 2012, when they started a business producing all-natural dog and cat treats that they sold at area farmer’s markets and festivals.

It was successful, but they wanted a more solid business.

After Noon graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, the couple knew they were ready to launch their own personal chef business.

Besides the in-home personal meal prep, Chef Noon Culinary Services also hosts private in-home dinners, either family-style, or fancy, multicourse seated dinners for two to 10 people that also includes servers.

“We also offer gift cards,” Colon smiled. “It’s a perfect gift for the person who has everything.”

Chef Noon Culinary Services currently serves all of the East County and much of Greater Phoenix.

Information: ChefNoonCS.com, or find them on Facebook.

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