Wouldn’t it be great if you could know the chef of each of your meals? Wouldn’t it also be great if that chef knew where every ingredient came from and how the farmers grow and raise all ingredients in each of your meals? This is exactly how Linda, owner and operator of The Smart Simple Gourmet thinks the masses should eat. The Smart Simple Gourmet, purveyor of home cooked meals that are “real food” sets up shop at local Los Angeles farmers markets for shoppers to sample her fare.
How does one get into the business of providing home cooked food for the busy masses? Linda has always had a curiosity for making food from scratch and she started out baking cookies for her friends in college. After graduating to a desk job of 10 years she got tired of working for others cooped up in an office. Linda wanted to do her own thing, helping others in the process. She explored becoming a dietician, but something didn’t feel “right” to her. That not “right” feeling was the types of diets that were being promoted like low carb and low fat. After taking one baking class at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (I highly recommend it as well) Linda decided to apply and was accepted to culinary school at The Natural Gourmet Institute of New York. After an amazing learning experience leading up to graduation, she became a personal chef focused on cooking specifically for health improvement. Having a desire to reach a larger audience, The Smart Simple Gourmet was born.
Only the highest quality organic ingredients are utilized in every recipe. “Nutrient dense real foods, I use organic produce, pasture raised chickens, meaning chickens that are raised outdoors.” Linda explained that her beef is grass fed, in fact, it is fed four different types of grasses. “My focus is on traditional authentic food.” Linda takes real recipes from across the globe, “whether it is from the South in Louisiana to Chinese or Japanese to classic French to a great shepards pie from England. . . then I go back and tweak them [recipes] to make it healthier. . .”
The menu changes every week and includes, but not limited to, vegetarian and vegan soups, sauces, pasture raised chicken, grass fed beef, grain and bean dishes, “all made from scratch and it is just real food.” If you are lucky, you will find pâté or Beef Burgeon which takes 4 hours + to prepare and it is imperative “. . .you get the perfect seer in the begining.” Some other fan favorites are her Lentil Salad and Curry Chicken. For those vegetarian and vegans out there, Linda has a balance of dishes catered to your dietary needs.
What is the prices for homemade and home cooked, ready-to-eat “real food” crafted from the highest quality local, organic and free roaming ingredients? They range from $4-$16, dependent upon what you buy. One the lower end of the spectrum are the sauces and vegetarian dishes moving on up to the chicken and beef dishes. As a regular customer and sampler of The Smart Simple Gourmet fare, I can tell you that it is worth the price for admission.
At GreenUp! Solutions, we are always concerned about how a business impacts the environment, tackles sustainability and helps the community. The Smart Simple Gourmet buys as local as possible from organic farmers that follow sustainable and healthy practices. The food offered is based on seasonality by following what is being offered at the farmers markets. All of the food is sold in mason glass jars. You will pay a $1.50 glass deposit and when you bring back your glass jar that amount will be refunded or credited on your next purchase, and this is a lot like the “. . .old school way of getting milk where you have to bring the milk bottles back to get more.”
Exploring LAs farmers markets, I can tell you that there is a lot of competition in the prepared foods arena. So why buy from the The Smart Simple Gourmet? Of course the food tastes good, why else would I be writing about it? It is about buying products that are local, full of nutrients and not processed, as Linda calls it “real food.” This is great for the busy working families that do not have time to make their own home cooked meals. There are so many health benefits to eating organic and products from properly treated animals. Linda is constantly communicating with the farmers and staying in tune with the seasons and the length of growing for specific produce. Eating local ingredients is difficult to do when shopping at a chain grocery store so let The Smart Simple Gourmet do the shopping for you.
To sample, then buy* organic, nutrition dense, real food, visit these farmer’s markets in the Los Angeles area:
- Culver City Tues 2-7pm
- Westwood Village Wed 1-7pm
- Veterans Affairs (VA) Garden Thurs noon to 5pm
- West Los Angeles (Santa Monica Blvd) Sunday 9am-2pm
I’ll leave you all with a Green living tip I picked up from the Smart Simple Gourmet – buy your spices in bulk and bring the spice jars to re-fill them (zero waste).
* credit cards accepted – GreenUp! Guy