Meet APPCA's Chef of the Year - Carol Borchardt

Chef Carol Borchardt, Owner, A Food For Thought Personal Chef Service, Memphis

Candy Wallace, founder and executive director, is pleased to announce Carol Borchardt, chef and proprietor of A Thought for Food in Memphis, Tenn., as the APPCA’s 2010 Chef of the Year.

“We are delighted to recognize a chef with as much experience, professionalism, skill and charisma as Carol for this year’s Chef of the Year Award,” says Wallace. “She is the epitome of ‘today’s culinary entrepreneur,’ and a shining example of everything a personal chef can achieve, even in the midst of an economic downturn. She’s an inspiration to all who aspire to become successful chefs and business owners.” Wallace will present Borchardt with the 2010 APPCA Chef of the Year Award at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago on Feb. 19 during the 2010 APPCA Summit.

Borchardt’s background in the culinary arts began with instruction from her mother, a prize-winning cook who developed original recipes while feeding her large family.

Cooking was Borchardt’s creative outlet while living in Wisconsin and working in various areas of business there for more than 20 years. She honed her skills through self-instruction, classes for the home chef at Jill Prescott’s Ecole de Cuisine in Mequon, and practical experience working for a local caterer on weekends.

Borchardt moved to the Memphis area in 1995 and opened A Thought For Food Personal Chef Service in April 2002. Through this highly personalized service, she seeks to bring thought and care back to the home meals of our time-starved society and bring people back to the dinner table. Her passion for travel—especially Europe and the heart-healthy Mediterranean region—is reflected in much of her cooking, including training in Italian gastronomy at the Academia Barilla in Parma, Italy. Her specialties include vegetarian and ethnic cuisine, and her menu also has fun, healthy items designed to appeal specifically to children.

Borchardt trained in the personal-chef business by the American Personal Chef Institute. As an active APPCA member for many years, Borchardt helped write the Personal Chef International Code of Ethics and has served on the organization’s Executive Advisory Committee. She is certified as a food-protection manager through ServSafe™ and the Shelby County Health Department (the same certification required of restaurant managers).

“Without a doubt, what I love most about being a personal chef is having a client tell me what a positive difference I have made in his or her life,” Borchardt says. “Second on the list is being in control of my own time.”

Borchardt has now followed in another of her mother’s footsteps with award-winning recipes. She was the only APPCA chef to place in two categories in a 2005 APPCA recipe contest in New Orleans. Her End-of-The-Week Vegetable Barley Soup won first place in the soup category, and her Orzo and Black Bean Salad with Spinach and Roasted Yellow Squash won honorable mention in the vegetarian category. Her Smokin’ Chipotle Chili recently won an award in a local community chili cook-off. Five of Borchardt’s original recipes are included in The Fresh Market and Friends 25th Anniversary Cookbook.

She also realized a lifelong goal recently by completing a self-published cookbook, a compilation of recipes from four generations of her family in A Recipe Portrait, The Ramczyk-Platta Collection of Recipes.

What is Borchardt’s chief source of new ideas for her business? “Anyone who reads the APPCA forums already knows I’m an avid cookbook collector; I have around 700 now,” she says. “I also use the Internet and food magazines a lot. However, what seems to happen is I seldom make a recipe from start to finish as it is written; I put my own touches to it, and by the time it is finished, it is something entirely new. A good cook should use a recipe as a guide and add his or her own touches. I have a lot of fun creating simply by opening the pantry or refrigerator / freezer and trying to use what is already available.”

For more information on Borchardt and her successful personal-chef business, visit www.athoughtforfood.com.

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