Pixie Dust Gourmet personal chef service is the brainchild of Chef Beth Beard, who blends her passion for cooking fabulous gluten-free creations with her love of bringing people together around food. The result? Amazing meals, made with care, prepared in your own home exactly the way you like them from the freshest local organic ingredients available!
Testimonial: “Beth’s food is creative, delicious, and affordable. My husband and I work full time, have a baby, and have opposite food needs (vegetarian vs. dairy-free carnivore). Beth has allowed us to eat together as a family without spending our limited free time shopping and cooking. When my husband decided he wanted to try out macrobiotic cuisine, Beth worked with us to design new menus to meet our needs. So far we have lost a collective 13 lb. without even trying, while eating food so tasty that we forget how healthy it is.”
-Margie, Jamaica Plain
Cooking with love provides food for the soul.
For me, food, family and friends have always gone together like peas and carrots. I think my love affair with food may have taken hold in the womb; having an Italian mother might have played a small part! From the time I was a little girl, the kitchen was never just a place to prepare meals, but a place to create, to explore, to take risks and most of all, to have fun! Whether making one of my home-cooked favorites (chicken noodle casserole and beef broccoli pie jump to mind) or rolling extra pie crust trimmings and cutting them into fanciful shapes, I have many fond memories of the smells, tastes, textures and colors that only come with cooking at home.
My friends and family are my inspiration, my greatest supporters and my most honest critics. From my maternal grandmother, Nanny, I inherited my tendency to “wing it” and improvise with whatever I have on hand. A classic direction in her recipes reads, “put it in the oven and cook until done”. From my friends, I have learned about cultures and cuisines from around the globe, expanding my horizons as well as my palate. They know the best birthday gift ever is a cookbook from a new region of the world. An invitation to dinner and recipe tasting is a treat they will rarely pass up.
I was first introduced to the world of personal chefs when I worked as a private chef for a number of families while I was in college and through my mid-20’s. In addition to a background in cooking, nutrition and celiac disease, I have spent the last 20 years working with nonprofit education and youth organizations as a manager, strategy consultant and most recently leading marketing and communications. I hold a Masters of Education degree in Narrative Family Systems Therapy and have been working to improve the lives of children and families for almost 30 years.
As a late teen I decided to omit meat from my diet and spent the next 15 years eating a lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian diet (for the uninitiated that means plant-based with dairy, eggs and seafood). By my late 20’s I began having increasingly troubling bouts with stomach pain and reflux, which eventually landed me in the hospital with a diagnosis of recurrent ulcers and GERD.
At the time none of the doctors and specialists even hinted that my culinary predilections – heavy on the bread and beer side – could be the cause. But after talking with a whole-food nutritionist friend, I decided to take her suggestion of an elimination diet, removing all potential allergens and gradually reintroducing them. And after just two weeks without wheat, my whole world changed. My symptoms, which also included frequent migraines, fatigue, brain fog and joint pain, were almost completely relieved. I found myself feeling better than I had in years.
So after a brief period of trying to reintroduce wheat into my system and feeling horrible, I gave up gluten for good. Since I put chicken, beef and pork back on the menu at around the same time, I felt like it was more than a fair trade. I also decided that “dosing” myself long enough to have the antibodies required for a positive celiac test was additional confirmation that I did not need. And I don’t miss gluten one bit.
For the past 10 years I have been cooking gluten-free creations for everyone from fellow chefs and colleagues to friends and family, young and old. I strive to make the most nutritious, delicious and flavorful healthy creations that skip the gluten without compromising even a tiny bit of the taste, texture and flavor. Because “good for gluten-free” is never good enough for me!
Food, Glorious Food!
For some folks its scrap-booking. For others, football is their passion. For me, its cookbooks. I read them like novels and then prop them up within eyeballing distance and create. There is nothing more exciting to me than cracking open a new tome, filled with gorgeous pictures and tantalizing descriptions of cultures and cuisines from such far-flung locales as Oaxaca, Mexico, Yunnan, China, Punjab, India and Jerusalem, Israel. I think I enjoy learning about the people, the climate and the preparation techniques of local dishes as much as I enjoy creating and sampling cuisines from around the world.
On the weekends if I am not pouring over my latest culinary volume you are likely to find me poking around the many local ethnic markets in Greater Boston in search of interesting whole spices, fresh produce and dry goods. During the summer, spring and fall I haunt 4 or 5 local farmers markets every week in the quest for the best organic chicken thighs (Chestnut Farms), sausages bursting with local flavors (Stillman’s Farm for Moroccan and Jamaican), the tastiest fresh pressed cider and the crispest organic greens (Grateful Farms). And nothing makes me happier than to start with your favorite gluten-ful home-cooked classic and transform it into a gluten-free masterpiece that is even better than you remember! Chicken Parm? No problem! Mac and cheese? Yup- I make that! Banana bread, scones, pies and even apple fritters have emerged from my kitchen. And with Pixie Dust Gourmet now you can have them all too!
What’s in a Name?
As my mother will be the first to tell you, I am not the neatest cook who ever graced a kitchen. I can recall her familiar refrain when she would walk in on me while I was in the midst of whipping together some new culinary treat, “It looks like a bomb went off in here!” (Not to worry – your kitchen will be neat as a pin by the time you return home to a fridge full of your favorite dishes, and my instructions will have a bit more detail than Nanny was fond of!) When I started baking in my late 20’s the kitchen often resembled an encounter with a particularly enthusiastic fairy <read: flour sprinkled from floor to ceiling>. So in early 2015 Pixie Dust Gourmet was born!
The only exclusively gluten-free personal chef service in Massachusetts, we serve the following cities and towns: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Medford, Natick, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Weston, Wellesley, Winchester, Woburn and other towns by special arrangement.