I have worked closely with Chef Mary for over two years. I can say that her care for nourishing clients is beyond compare. Mary’s professionalism and creativity with food is extraordinary. She puts passion into her menu planning and cooking, where the presentation and flavors meld into an organic whole that stimulates the palate and pleases the eye.
Mary is extremely sensitive to the special dietary needs of the individual, tailoring her menu to enable the best experience possible. All of this adds up to a chef who possesses an exemplary culinary design that stimulates the individual beyond their wildest expectations.
Jacqueline Ernst-Smith, MS RDN
June 14, 2017
I have been a client of Bella Cucina's for almost a year now and I couldn't be happier. Daily food preparation has always been challenging for me. I have to admit that, more often than not, my diet used to consist of fast food and frozen dinners. I know I was making unhealthy choices but I didn't have the time or commitment to spend cooking just for myself. Not to mention how expensive it was to do the weekly shopping, just to throw so much away because I only needed a little for my cooking ingredients.
Well, Mary solved all those problems! Before the first session, she met with me to go over my food preferences and answer any questions. now all I have to do is approve the weekly menu Mary emails me in advance of her visit and eat the food! She takes care of the shopping, cooking, and clean up. And the cost is actually comparable to what I was spending on food anyway - except now I'm eating healthy, home cooked meals. It's also great to know she caters, just in case I need help putting on that holiday dinner or special event.
On a personal level, Mary is a joy to work with. She has this lovely warmth about her and is very easy going. Mary is also conscientious and a true professional, going out of her way to make sure I'm happy with her services.
I highly recommend Bella Cucina - My only regret is that I didn't find Mary sooner!
Alison Cooper, MD
June 9, 2017
While this note of thanks and high praise may be a bit belated, the memory of your delicious meals during our week in Carmel is still crystal clear in my mind! Thank you for being such a perfect addition to an already special week. Delicious, nutritious, abundant, and imaginative are some of the words that come to mind just thinking about your beautifully prepared dinners. We are still raving about the organic salmon with the red pepper salsa and the brown rice and nut salad and the white bean soup. Punctual, intuitive, efficient, organized, and fun are some of the words that describe your warm demeanor.
It is not easy to please so many people with so many different dietary restrictions, needs, and desires — I speak from experience as the mother of 4 and my own (yes, its true) Cordon Blu background — never mind high expectations and the ever changing schedules of two 4 month old infants and their nursing mothers (!!). You handled all of that delightful crazy chaos with calm grace and creative adaptable menus.
Thank you for making sure I never saw the inside of a grocery store, thought about what's for dinner, deliberated over restaurant reservations, or cleaned a single dish!! I've never felt so rested after a week with my family or so glad about giving myself such a gift. As we all joked — but in all seriousness — so many times after one of your dinners, you were the best idea I've ever had!
With much appreciation and gratitude, Jeanne
P.S. I've posted a version of this letter on Thumbtack. Good luck with your business and know that I will be in touch the next time I am in town!!
June 9, 2017
This is a letter of recommendation for Chef Mary Russo, Bella Cucina, as a personal chef.
Chef Mary has worked as our personal chef for approximately one year.
Both my husband and I are working professionals with two small boys. We spend most of our days at the office, running around to soccer games and school events. When we are at home, we help our sons with homework and catch up on all of the normal household responsibilities like cleaning, laundry and running errands. I am sure most of you can relate to never having enough time in the day. As a result, we found our meal time was suffering. We began eating “fast food”, letting the kids eat school lunches and were not spending quality meal time together as a family. We would never host dinner parties nor have friends over because we never had the time to shop or cook! I believe our overall health was suffering too. We are a very active family but didn’t feel very energetic.
I turned to Chef Mary for a solution. The service she provides us has changed our lives and health. Can you imagine walking through your front door at the end of a busy, chaotic day to find a healthy, well prepared meal waiting for you? Bliss!
Chef Mary also prepares healthy, well balanced lunches for our children to take to school. All the ingredients she uses are to our specifications – fresh, local and organic. I found my children were concentrating better and had more energy only after a month of eating Chef Mary’s healthy home-cooked foods.
We are now spending more time sharing meals with family and friends. Chef Mary has catered several dinner parties for us. Instead of being stressed out about what to cook and how to serve and clean up, we are able to sit at our table and enjoy the evening.
Working with Chef Mary is easier than making a grocery list. A meal plan is presented to us each week for lunches and dinners. We review it and make changes as needed. She then purchase the food items she needed for the week, while taking into consideration any items that remained in the pantry or carried over from the previous week. Then on the following day she would bring the grocery items and anything else she needed to prepare the meals to our house and bring it all together leaving us with fully cooked meals, side dishes, salads, and even some deserts if they were in the plan. Items are left and covered in appropriate containers that could be used for storage or re-heating as appropriate.
I feel a bit spoiled having a personal chef, but when I think of how our lives have changed since hiring Chef Mary, I know it is worth it. Our lives are less stressful, our family spends more time together and our overall general health has improved.
June 10, 2014
My wife and I believe that the key to good health is well prepared natural healthy foods. We have appreciated the healthy wholesome food that we have had Chef Mary personally prepare for us. Recently when my wife was recovering from a long serious immune system deficiency we had Chef Mary develop a menu and prepare our food for a three week recovery period. She prepared carefully selected vegetables and meat in soups, stews, and classic dishes. We savored the meals, they restored my wife’s appetite and were the key to nourishing her back to health. In addition we have had Chef Mary cater family gatherings and special parties all utilizing her menu expertise and culinary skills. Chef Mary’s cooking is always the delight of our gatherings. We have also used Chef Mary to prepare meals for us during our busy work schedule. This enables us to have a wonderful respite from the hurried stressful work day and enjoy a healthy wholesome meal recharging ourselves over the evening meal. We continue to use Chef Mary and deeply appreciate her professionalism, warmth, and passion to prepare healthy delightful meals that nourish both our body and spirit. We highly recommend our dear friend Chef Mary.
June 10, 2014