Chef service's delicacies taste Just Like Mom's do
A mother-daughter team started from scratch and have created a personal chef service with tastes to suit everyone.
Special to The Miami Herald
Nancy Livingston has always been a good cook. Her life has revolved
around food, bringing her family together. So it seemed natural to
share her food with other people.
Five years ago, Livingston and her daughter, Ginger, who live in
Plantation, opened Just Like Mom's, a personal chef service that offers
meal preparation, personalized menu planning and private cooking
''I'm a really good home cook who wanted a change,'' said Nancy
Livingston, a former Broward schools employee. ``In my family, food
fixes everything. It's a comfort.''
After seeing an ad for a personal chef network in a magazine, Nancy
and Ginger decided to give it a try. They learned the business end and
started slowly by networking and cooking in clients' homes.
Ultimately, the duo wanted to cook for more people, which meant they
needed a commercial kitchen. They wanted the feeling of a home kitchen,
but it needed to be professional. In April, they opened a storefront
commercial kitchen in Plantation, where they do all the cooking for
''We wanted clients to be able to come in and feel warm and
welcome,'' Nancy Livingston said. ``The food still feels like it's
coming from home.''
The Livingstons do all the cooking at the store. Customers have the option of picking up their meals or having them delivered.
The Livingstons start by having a detailed consultation with a
client before preparing menus. Every special dietary need and personal
taste are addressed before menu items are proposed. Some clients have
favorite recipes they want included. Others are taken from the Just
Like Mom's database of more than 700 recipes selected from a variety of
sources including magazines, cookbooks and websites. A weekly menu
usually includes food for three to five days.
''We are very honest about where our recipes come from,'' Nancy
said. ``Some clients give us theirs. They want their comfort food.''
Cooking lessons can be taught at the store or in the client's own
kitchen. Recipe and menu planning can be done anywhere in the world
Once the women know the client's tastes, they know what kinds of
food to suggest. Some people want to consult on every meal, while
others want to be surprised. In either case, they are careful not to
repeat dishes too often.
''Some people have real issues getting dinner on the table,'' Nancy
said. ``The challenge is in the menu planning to keep the clients
The two women clearly enjoy working together in the kitchen. Each has her own preparation area, staple items and oven.
''We have a lot of fun together,'' said Ginger, 26. ``We laugh a lot.''
Special requests are common for Just Like Mom's. They have done
romantic dinners for two, including the table setting and candlelight,
and have even taught clients how to set a table.
''People want regular home cooking,'' Ginger said. ``They don't want
gourmet food every night. They want food they can raise a family on.''
Just Like Mom's is at 5209 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. Call 954-581-5346 or visit www.justlikemomspersonalchefs.com.