I am so excited to help debut the business of a dear friend of mine, Kristen Mider, called “Cooking for Friends”. Her personal chef service started evolving at the beginning of the year – however I wanted to wait till the perfect moment to showcase her talents! Many of you saw my “Open Gallery Event” at The Artist Framer last month for my “Spotlight on Cranford Teen Artists”. Kristen worked her magic and created such amazing fall appetizers and drinks for this event! I want everyone to know how much they need her services in their life!
My relationship with Kristen started a few years ago with a phone call from her wanting to purchase a particular house in Cranford. She was pregnant at the time and had her heart set on this one particular home. Being one of the quickest transactions I have ever made – the house was sold and Kristen and her husband went from being clients that I barely knew to friends that will last a lifetime! I knew right from the start that she was spectacular – she’s smart, witty, and has a great eye for what she wants!
Kristen is a former high school English teacher, lifelong runner, and mother of three children (twins in the mix)! She has an immense passion for cooking and has finally been able to incorporate this love into her personal and work life now that her children are a little older. A healthy lifestyle and healthy eating have always surrounded her. Being a child of the microwave dinner age, Kristen never touched frozen vegetable in her life while many children were eating canned food and T.V. dinners! Her mother was always preparing scrumptious homemade meals for the family every night and Kristen was alongside her mother helping with every step. Her mother’s love of cooking for others and sharing her meals definitely rubbed off on her!
She’s a busy mom of three and a lifelong runner who makes sure that fitness is a part of her daily routine. “I get the struggle parents face to get healthy, reasonably quick meals on their dinner table every night! But, in truth, this is one of my strengths. I plan my meals every Thursday, get my groceries every Friday, meal prep every weekend, and go into my week with my meals planned and somewhat ready-to-go! As a runner, I care about healthy eating and as a mom, I want my kids to eat well, too. But, as a stressed-out mom, I also need to be mindful of time and expense.”
Everyone wanted to know how she did it – how she managed to make homemade meals every night that looked delicious and was nutritious as well! Kristen found herself sharing her meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes. The emergence of “Cooking for Friends” came from her continuous generosity towards all of her friends! She is always cooking for those near and dear to her heart. She brings them lasagna when they have a baby, homemade soup when they are sick, and a favorite salad for a summer barbecue!
Kristen’s friends inspired her to go into this business – thus the name, “Cooking for Friends”! “They kept encouraging me to do more with my cooking and I took them seriously!” Kristen and her husband began posting their meals on their Facebook page and started generating tons of local interest! She commented, “I am honestly flattered that so many of my peers are interested in what I do and how I do it! I am so lucky to have such supportive friends and family!”
From Facebook posts, to gradual invitations to cater events such as the Cranford Newcomer’s Club “End of the Year” Dinner, to cooking late-night appetizers for my annual girlfriend’s sleepover party – Kristen has shined every step of the way! Her food is impeccable and I love that she was never formally trained – just taking in inspiration from every aspect of her life: her mother’s food, NYC and NJ restaurants, and using local resources to prepare her dishes. Kristen mentioned, “I feel so lucky to have grown up in and around cities with such rich culinary cultures, and these places and people continue to influence my cooking.”
So, what is “Cooking for Friends” and how can you invite Kristen into your home? “In truth, the concept is still evolving…” replied Kristen. For now, the brand is a personal chef service, a recipe share/meal planning service, and a cooking blog (which will go live after the holidays).
Kristen will come into your home and cook for you and your friends! It can be something as simple as appetizers and desserts for a girl’s night in – or as involved as a gourmet four-course meal for a special birthday or celebration! She will also come into your home to cook and leave meals for the week – which has become hugely popular with new moms! For dinner events, she prefers to keep the guest list at 10 and under which allows her to pay closer attention to the details. However, I must mention that she did such a fabulous job catering my gallery event for over 45 people! She can do it all!
Please “Follow” and “Like” her on her “Cooking for Friends” Facebook page at Cooking for Friends. For now (till her new website is up and running) please message her with all inquiries about her personal chef services!
“Cooking for Friends” is definitely my “go-to” service for any small event that I am having in town or at my house. I haven’t met an appetizer or entrée from Kristen that I didn’t like! The best part of this story is that I’m actually the lucky one. It’s not every day that I can say a client turned into a very dear friend that will last forever! I am so proud of her and happy to share her expertise and skills with the community!