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What‘s for dinner? Kathy Rymal

Robert Downes - March 1st, 2010
‘What’s for Dinner?’ Kathy Rymal has the answer -- in your own home
Do you long for the comfort and quality of home cooking, but don’t
have time to spend in the kitchen due to your crazy, hectic lifestyle?
Then relax, personal chef Kathy Rymal offers an in-home service that
brings healthful, imaginative meals direct from your own stove to your
Kathy has been cheffing in the homes of her many clients for over 25
years, specializing in healthful foods and working with families who
either have dietary issues or are just too busy with careers or the
soccer mom lifestyle to be able to spend much time in the kitchen
“It’s a lot of work, but I love it,” she says. “I do my cooking in the
kitchens of my clients and make four or five meals, with each one
usually being big enough to feed the family twice.”
A resident of Cedar in Leelanau County, her What’s for Dinner personal
chef and catering business serves clients as far west as Frankfort and
as far east as Alden -- both about a 45-minute drive.
“I do all of my cooking in my clients’ homes,” she says. “Then I
package, label and date the food and clean up.”
Why not just cook in her own home and bring it to the clients?
“Primarily because I’d need a commercially-licensed kitchen in order
to do that,” she responds. “And I like the personal aspect of
preparing food in the homes of my clients. It’s nice for them too
because then their house smells like home-cooking.”

Clients come to Rymal for a variety of reasons.
“Some are retired couples where the wife, primarily, is tired of
cooking and 40 years of feeding families,” she says. “I also see many
busy families who are involved in a lot of activities and end up
eating pizza or dining out all the time. So my service allows them to
share a meal together at home instead of eating McDonald’s in their
car on the way to soccer practice or whatever.”
She also cooks for people who have special dietary needs. In fact,
that’s how she got into the business of personal cheffing. After a
year-long stint working at The Good Earth restaurant in Farmington
Hills and then four years at the In Season in Royal Oak, which are
both health-oriented restaurants, she met a customer who was
interested in changing his lifestyle through nutrition. “He had some
issues with heart disease and wanted to change his eating habits to
have more of a low-fat diet,” Rymal recalls. “So that was how I got my
first personal cheffing client.”

Rymal moved to Traverse City in 1989 with her husband Mark Cantrell,
who took a management job in the radiology department at Munson
Medical Center. The couple have an eight-year-old daughter, Anna
Margaret, and live in a log home in an idyllic forest setting south of
Rymal was a vegetarian for 10 years and is up to speed on a variety of
veggie dishes. “I’m not a vegetarian any longer, but my orientation
is definitely toward fresh, whole foods and I love that we live in a
region where farmers are providing them.”
For those who prefer meat, she seeks out sources of free-range
chicken, organic beef and buffalo. Plus, she offers traditional,
comfort foods such as beef stew and shepherd’s pie.
So, what’s a typical offering? Last week, Rymal prepared batches of
minestrone, scalloped potatoes and ham, braised chicken with root
vegetables, and mushroom & beef bourgogne for a client.
“There’s a lot of communication involved,” she adds. “I ask people
what they like and don’t like, while trying to keep the meals healthy
in general. I also change my menus every week, so there’s always
something new.”

For more on Kathy Rymal and What’s for Dinner, call 228-7056, or email Watch for her website:

-- by Robert Downes

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