GREENWICH, Conn. -- Legend has it that fairies flit around the forest causing all sorts of mischief. But those ancient tales overlooked one sprite living in the enchanted land of Greenwich. This one has a delightful trick up her gossamer sleeve – she cooks and delivers fresh meals to busy families in lower Fairfield County.
Joanna Wallis, a stay-at-home mom turned personal chef, is the owner of The Cooking Fairy, a personal chef service based in Greenwich. With a chic pixie haircut, Wallis looks every part the sprite. But don’t underestimate her kitchen magic - she is serious about providing nourishing food to time-crunched families and busy professionals.
“I'm actually quite serious about encouraging a healthy attitude towards food. Having at least one solid home-cooked, healthy meal a day, I believe, is an underlying cornerstone of developing that attitude,'' she said.
Wallis, who originally hails from the United Kingdom, moved to Greenwich more than a decade ago. In doing so, she gave up her sales career and focused on her growing family. As a mom to three children, she had a vested interest in putting together a healthy, tasty meal every night. Now she has summoned the cooking skills that she developed over 20 years of throwing lavish dinner parties for friends and family.
Like many women, Wallis considered returning to the workforce when her children started school, but jobs that provided the flexibility that she needed were scarce. She decided to blend her love of cooking with her business acumen, which resulted in The Cooking Fairy.
Her clients are mainly families with children, Wallis said, but she also has professional couples, and people recovering from illness. “Essentially, anyone that is time-crunched or not inclined to cook for themselves, but recognizes the importance of delicious, healthy food,” she said.
Wallis brings a personal touch to developing menus for her clients. “I start with the client's likes and dislikes and then build a menu from there,” she said. “It can be as simple as a new recipe we might have tried around our family table and enjoyed, or something that grabs me in a magazine. Menus are always seasonal, so I'm also governed by that a little bit - we're preparing a lot of butternut squash right now.”
She further personalizes the menu for clients with dietary restrictions, but she uses creativity in flavor and texture. The important thing, she states, is maintaining quality.
Wallis says she gets tremendous joy and satisfaction knowing that her “client families” are enjoying nourishing and delicious food in the evenings. “I want people to know that there’s another option to getting dinner on the table – and it doesn’t have to be take-out food. There’s a home-cooked option available … all you have to do is call.”
The Cooking Fairy delivers from Greenwich to Darien. Find out menus and other information online at www.thefairycook.com.
Ann Quasarano is a Westport-based freelance writer and the author Fairfieldista.