C.c. Concalvo is one of a number of Santa Monica based kitchen artisans whose passion and purpose is the creation of natural, healthy cuisine, but with the added focus of individualized client consideration, that, through her fresh cooked food home delivery company, Clean Plate Meals, she is able to create dishes according to precise personal parametric requirements, and desires, that previously was only available through the costly employment of a personal chef.
I recently posed a few questions to C.c. to find out a little more about her philosophy, her ambitions and how Clean Plate meals can work for average Joes like us, and C.c. was more than happy to share about her skills, excitement and passion for what is clearly a vocation rather than a business.
C.c. first discovered that she had a built-in interest for kitchen creativity at the tender age of seven years old when she explained that she had discovered a sour cherry tree outside of her childhood home and immediately became “obsessed with making cherry pie.” She went on to explain that she “I hadn’t even seen a cookbook yet, so I’m not sure where the strong desire to get into the kitchen really came from. Although my Italian Grandmother was a chef, she lived out of state and I didn’t see her before she died, so perhaps it was in my DNA.”
I asked C.c, about Clean Plate Meals and how it had evolved from her years of experience as being a personal chef, specializing in eco-friendly cuisine, and she confidently told me that for her it was a natural progression, “I wanted to reach a broader base of people with my progressive cuisine. Simultaneously I was getting many referrals for high profile clients who wanted meals delivered. The need presented itself and Clean Plate Meals was born,” she elaborated.
Cooking for individual clients is obviously a unique challenge, given that we humans can be fickle about our culinary desires, and C.c. explained that the process is very personal and exact. She initially builds a profile for the customer, based upon health/weight goals and outcomes they would envision by having a personal meal service. Then comes the personal preference aspect, the foodstuffs that they like, and dislike, and foods that they may be allergic to. The next step for C.c. is a trip to Santa Monica’s Farmers Market in order to procure only the best, only the freshest, and only the tastiest ingredients. I challenged C.c. about the notion that healthy food is all well and good, but what about taste, that invisible ingredient in every meal that defines the dining experience. At this C.c. really came alive and made no bones about one of the most passionate considerations of her creativity, explaining that she never compromises with flavor. “ I cook mainly because I love to eat. I think Taste is most important especially with “healthy” cuisine because of three things; there is more pressure to have it be better then something cooked without regards to health, and when you begin ANY dish with farm fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness, you can’t really go wrong. Food just tastes better when it’s picked within days before being brought to market. The same theory applies to wild caught seafoods and free-range organic meats, which is our standard. I simply flavor food with food. I also wish to emphasize that ongoing communication with my clients is essential. Cooking is my language and it’s how I best relate with the world around me. With that said, there has to be a place to meet people, with regards to where they are with food, then build from there. Food is such a sensory experience; therefore it can’t be one sided. Everyone leans toward a particular taste. some salty, some sweet, some hot etc. Most of my clients have been long term and know they can reach out to me with any adjustments or requests.”
C.c. has ambitions to make her sparkling dishes more immediately available by opening a market/café that she would like to name Chestnut Hill LA, “after the little town in Philadelphia, where I began working in restaurants and fell in love with the idea of being a chef.”
I asked C.c. if she would be kind enough to share one of her recipes with Mirror readers to try at home, and far from being coy, she jumped at the chance with joy, and so here is Chef C.c. Consalvo’s Fresh Fish with Heirloom Checca over Forbidden Rice.
Walk over to Santa Monica Seafood and pick up any fresh fish, like the wild-stripped bass. The local halibut is also a nice one.
What you’ll need:
Medium glass or ceramic bowl.
A medium skillet and an oven ready pan.
2 –3 medium tri color heirloom variety tomatoes (Try Coastal Farms on Wednesday)
Some fresh basil leaves (4-5)
1 garlic clove
1 anchovy (if you have it)
1 Half of a lemon zest
Some good olive oil (extra virgin if you have it)
Salt and cracked pepper and paprika
1-1/2 pound of fresh fish
1 Cup of Lotus Foods forbidden rice or a brown rice.
First preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Start your rice. Generally it’s two to one or two cups of liquid to one cup of rice. Try using vegetable stock in place of water and if your using packaged rice, follow directions on the package.
(1 cup of uncooked rice usually yields 3 cups of cooked rice.)
Then chop basil (while your board is dry) chop the garlic and then chop your tomatoes (seed in or out it doesn’t make a difference)
Toss above ingredients into a bowl and drizzle some olive oil, and then drizzle half that amount of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and the zest of a small lemon.
That’s your sauce! You can set it aside.
Now heat your skillet to a medium high heat, while you retrieve your fish.
Make sure to pat the fish dry! Once you do that, sprinkle some olive oil and dust your fish with some salt, pepper and paprika.
Once your skillet is good and hot, place the fish in the pan laying the fish away from you. You should hear a nice sear happening. Continue to sear for about 1 minute and then flip your fish for another minute. (If it’s sole or any other thin filet, then cook on side two for 2 minutes and it should be done)
If your fish is a thick cut (halibut, bass etc) then after the flip, and the one-minute sear on the second side, transfer the fish to an oven ready pan and roast for 10-12 minutes for medium.
Time to plate:
Put some rice in the center of your plate and lay the fish over the rice then top with your checca sauce.
Makes 2-3 servings
For more cooking ideas, visit www.CleanPlateMeals.com