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October 01, 2012
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — When a hearing impairment began to affect Leslie Guria at work, she decided to end her career in marketing and focus on one of her other passions.
"I've always loved to cook, and I went online looking for different ideas and came up with the personal chef idea," Guria said.
Nearly two years ago, Guria joined the American Personal and Private Chef Association, earned her certifications and Fresh From Your Kitchen was born.
Fresh From Your Kitchen provides in-home services including cooking classes, small event catering and personal chef services.
The process starts with a consultation with the client where they can discuss preferences, menu options and a budget. This can typically be finalized via email. In most cases, Guria will go to the grocery store of the client's choice, bring the ingredients to her client's home and prepare five meals and a treat. Services cost about $375 per cook date, plus the cost of food.
She said clients with special diets are her specialty. For some, this includes allergies to gluten or dairy, but for others it could be healthy diets to help lose weight or gain strength.
Alpharetta resident Sondra Wood has been using Guria's services for about a year.
"I decided to give her a call because I had been diagnosed with cancer and I was trying to make a change as far as eating better," Wood said.
Since then, Wood has begun to undergo chemotherapy and said Guria's services have been a lifesaver.
"From the time I've gotten sick, she's been the most helpful person in my life," Wood said. "I think she really just goes the extra mile and she really cares about people."
Wood said Guria's services allow her to work part-time and eat healthy at home and at work.
For Guria, helping clients stay healthy is one of the highlights of her job.
"When you helped your diabetic client lose the 20 pounds they need to lose so they can stay off insulin, that's a good day," Guria said.
Guria finds her clients primarily through her website and by using marketing skills she developed through her previous career.
One such client is Carrie Brown, who began searching for a personal chef online after accepting a position as a full-time college professor.
Brown said she has several allergies and dietary restrictions.
"I can't just throw something together, or get fast food, or grab something at work because often it's something I'm allergic to," Brown said.
Brown wanted a chef who would expose her to new recipes.
"I had a really boring diet and I sort of fell out of love with food," Brown said of her life prior to Guria.
Guria typically works three days per week and leaves the other two to build menus and perform her administrative tasks. She enjoys the flexibility of her job because it allows her to build in extra time to spend with her children.
Fresh From Your Kitchen serves North Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.
"I just love to cook and it comes through in what I do," Guria said. "The stuff that I've always loved doing is part of my job now."
For more, visit FreshFromYourKitchen.com.100312