A Visit to Union Square Greenmarket with Private Chef Charle Boshoff

When new acquaintances learn that Cathy is married to a CIA graduate, their eyes widen with amazement and intrigue. Don’t get too excited…it’s not THAT CIA. We’re referring to The Culinary Institute of America. This premiere culinary college has a track record for turning out some of the best executive chefs, restaurant owners, top-tier hospitality executives and personal/private chefs.

Honestly, here at ethical muse we feel that a personal or private chef who creates a customized meal plan, shops for groceries, prepares the meal and cleans up the kitchen can be just as important to our everyday lives as analyzing international security information. However, we don’t  live at the White House so our daily priorities may be a bit different. But, in addition to the protection of the CIA that all Americans take for granted on a daily basis, we are pretty sure the First Lady also has the helping hand of a private chef in the kitchen too. Unfortunately, just like Michelle Obama’s husband, Cathy’s now spends more time on an airplane than in the kitchen. 

Personal and private chef’s are no longer just synonymous with wealthy families and celebrity clients. An industry expected to grow by 9% between now and 2024 (faster than average), they are becoming more and more attainable and common especially for busy families, professionals and for those needing or wanting a special diet.

Whether hiring a chef to help with a one time dinner party, to prepare meals a few times a week, or to work for you exclusively on a daily basis to assist with a lifestyle that is too busy to stand the heat in the kitchen, personal/private chefs are still considered a luxury no matter who you are. If we team that with a visit to the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC, we definitely have a sustainaluxe (Sustainable Luxury) combination to share with you.

Over the next few months, we will be featuring two personal/private chefs focusing on either their style of cooking or throwing them into a local farmer’s market and watching what culinary delights they produce for their clients. This week private chef Natalia Charle Boshoff had vegan guests to cook for…

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.34.16 AMKnowing that your clients were vegan, how did you decide what to cook? When cooking for a special diet such as vegan I focus on fresh recipes and produce that don’t have any additives or potential toxins. In this case, I thought of making a vegan Shepherd’s Pie. I have made it successfully in the past so I opted to tackle it again. Plus, a great fresh seasonal salad** made from peaches, corn and radishes was on the menu since I was going to the Union Square Greenmarket that morning.

Shepherd's pie and Summer seasonal salad with fresh peaches

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What is the Union Square Greenmarket? The famous Union Square Greenmarket started in 1976 but it has grown by leaps and bounds since then. You can find farmers, bakers and fishermen selling everything from fresh fruit and produce to cheeses and breads; flowers, jams and even wine and maple syrup. When visiting New York City you must plan a visit to this great public space. Come prepared to taste because there are cooking demos and plenty of samples to savor.

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How does seasonal produce at Union Square Greenmarket affect your decision regarding what to prepare? The market definitely affects my decision about what I will use in my salads. This particular week peaches and fresh corn inspired my recipes. I like to stick with seasonal produce since it is much more flavorful when in season.
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What advice can you give our readers about how to approach farmers markets and knowing which vendors to purchase from? My advice is to get there early so you can take your pick of the best produce, then have a walk around looking at all the stalls first. And, don’t be afraid to take a sniff! You can tell alot about the quality of fruits and veggies by the smell. Observing this way,  you can get an idea about what vendors you would like to buy from. I like going for the organic produce as I don’t mind having an imperfect tomato – marks or cracks don’t put me off. I know if it smells good it tastes even better, just like a tomato should without the added “perfecting” hormones.
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Just remember this: touch and smell are important when deciding what to buy. Farm to table is the best you are going to get!
Here is the list of farms that Chef Charle purchased her produce from.
1. Eckerton Hill Farm, Hamburg PA
2. Oak Grove Plantation, Pittstown NJ
3. Paffenroth Gardens, Warwick NY
4. S&SO Produce Farm, Goshen NY
5. Windfall Farms, Montgomery NY
6. Wood Homestead, Stamford NY
(**We’ll be sharing Charle’s fabulous summer salad recipe in our Look Who We Met interview next week…)