With 20 years of cooking healthful yet tasty food, chef Jill Evans has been mastering the art of making a real meal. As a personal chef with a service area ranging from Boca Raton to Wellington, she emphasizes a proper diet with her clients. And as a colon cancer survivor, Evans understands the importance of living a healthful lifestyle.
Before becoming a personal chef, Evans owned a successful and award-winning restaurant, Culinaria Gourmet Café in Boca Raton. “It was the first non-smoking restaurant in Palm Beach County,” she said. “I decided that I wanted a healthy environment to work in since I was a colon cancer survivor from the age of 35.”
Evans spent many years cooking for her family as a stay-at-home mom, which prepared her for her current business, Jill’s Healthy Cooking. “I would always look for different diets for health restrictions for my child, who had asthma and allergies,” she said. “And I was a vegetarian at that time for 15 years, so I have always been into health and wellness even before I was diagnosed with cancer.”
Although Evans was extremely health-conscious for many years, having cancer dramatically made her rethink what she did with her body. “I decided that everything that I was going to put into my body would be healthy and my environment would be healthy,” she said. “And because of this, we became noted as a healthy and nutritious place to eat in Boca Raton.”
After running the restaurant for seven years, Evans needed a break. “It takes so many hours running a restaurant,” she said.
Evans developed an interest in becoming a personal chef after reading an article on the profession. “It piqued my interest, so I decided to go back to school to get my accreditation to become a personal chef,” she said.
Evans received her training from the Culinary Business Academy in Atlanta, Ga. “It was not about teaching you how to cook but more about teaching you how to start a personal chef business,” she said.
The training was also a requirement for Evans to gain essential certifications. “I needed these certifications in order to become a national member of the United States Personal Chef Association, which is a very prestigious association,” she said.
In 2005, Evans began Jill’s Healthy Cooking, focusing on home-cooked meals that taste good and are good for you. “I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m just very knowledgeable, and I do a lot of research,” she said. “I can work with a client’s physician or nutritionist if they have one, because it’s more of a team effort.”
Evans meets with clients for a free initial consultation to find out what their needs and wants are through a questionnaire. “If they have a list of things they can or can’t eat, I can tailor my recipes to accommodate them,” she said.
Her clients range from people with health conditions such as diabetes to busy families who don’t have time to make dinner when they get home but are tired of ordering out. Evans goes to the homes of her clients and cooks from their kitchen. “I do all the groceries, and when I get to the client’s house, I start what I like to call ‘power cooking,’ where I make all the food for the week,” she said. “And when they come home they smell the delicious aromas.”
To ensure order and freshness, Evans packs the food into labeled containers and puts it in the refrigerator. When the client is ready to eat, all he or she has to do is heat it up.
For more information about Jill’s Healthy Cooking, visit www.jillshealthycooking.com or call (561) 376-6424.