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The Dish's Dish: Dinner made easy

September 16, 2010 |  6:02 pm

On the counter in Jill Donenfeld's Malibu kitchen, just across Pacific Coast Highway from David Geffen's sprawling compound: leafy cilantro; wild arugula; portobello, shiitake and cremini mushrooms; a deep purple eggplant; silken organic tofu; gourmet olive oil; sea salt and a food processor. Donenfeld certainly knows her way around the kitchen — she's been a recipe tester, a sous-chef for a catering company and a cookbook author — but on this sunny afternoon she's not doing the cooking. Her "culinista" is.

Four years ago, 26-year-old Donenfeld founded a weekly home chef service called the Dish's Dish, which employs a stable of trained chefs, called culinistas (she's trademarked the word) to shop for, plan and prepare a variety of store-and-serve, mix-and-match meals for busy families and professionals in Los Angeles and New York City. The service made its bicoastal leap to L.A. a year ago.

There are other similar services, such as Rawvolution, Vegin' Out, Freshology, Sunfare and Susan's Healthy Gourmet, that will prepare this kind of food in advance and deliver it to your door. What sets Dish's Dish apart is its level of personalization. It doesn't just send food; it sends a chef who will create a menu based on your personal taste and health requirements, cook a week's worth of food for you, store it in Tupperware and leave it for you along with reheating instructions and nutritional information.

To read the rest of Jessica Gelt's story, click here.

Photo: Personal chef and "culinista" Linda Wong prepares a host of vegan items in Dish's Dish founder Jill Donenfeld's kitchen, including (from top left) chili-spiced baked tempeh, Southwest quinoa and black bean salad, grilled mushroom salad with arugula, tofu in coconut curry sauce and roasted eggplant with basil. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times