Jill Donenfeld and Tiana Tenet
How your clients refer to you:
Website: www.theculinistas.com, Instagram: @theculinistas, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Office: 120 E 13th St, NYC
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
JD: 11 years!
TT: In June I partnered with Jill to transition the business into a culinary focused and hospitality driven company that could scale and operate in multiple cities. It’s a new vision with trusted roots.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
JD: I started working as a private chef while attending Barnard College and soon after started placing other private chefs. My inspiration derives from a desire to help people eat well.
TT: I grew up sharing a passion for food with my Italian family. While at Georgetown, I pursued that passion through various internships (I cooked in a Tuscan kitchen, assisted on the set of Giada at Home, and contributed to Food Network Magazine). I spent the past five years at J.P. Morgan honing my business skills, and now I’m combining both worlds of business and food and it’s the ultimate dream job.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
TT: We’re providing home cooked meals, prepared in our client’s kitchen, using their pots and pans. It’s a very personalized service and each household has the ability to tailor the service and food to their needs.
JD: We are truly a hospitality driven company.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
JD: We’ve been in business since 2006, and I think this has to do with making our clients’ needs central to our day to day. Also, great food is always in style!
TT: We’re client obsessed.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
JD: I believe in the power of home cooking. It has the ability to heal, transform, raise questions, and bring people close together.
TT: We’re giving our clients back time, so they can focus on the important things, like family and friends. Family dinners should be filled with stories and laughter, and the hassle of getting dinner on the table often gets in the way of that.
What is your favorite part of your job?
JD: I love the collaborative aspects of recipe development and working with people I respect and admire. I love that in order to do my job well, I have to push the limits of my own curiosity.
TT: Operating a business in the culinary world. When you’re able to combine passions, it’s no longer a job. We’re building a business and taste testing along the way!
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
JD: My roof!
TT: Our headquarters! It’s a hidden gem on the 3rd floor of a heating and plumbing company in Union Square. It has the perfect vibe and there’s always something delicious cooking in the kitchen.
JD: Wait, I want to change my answer to our headquarters, too. It’s pretty cool.
How do you benefit mamas?
JD: Imagine reaching into the fridge and taking out food that will please both you and your little ones.
TT: We’re eliminating all of the stress associated with mealtime (the shop, cook, and clean). We’re also helping moms eat healthy. Moms are often worrying about their kids, so we’re worrying about mom.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
JD: I like hearing that we’ve rid parents of any guilt they feel for not having the time to make their children meals.
TT: A working mom recently told me that this service changed her life. Moms can’t do it all and now they don’t have to.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
JD: Jane Coxwell and Latham Thomas are amazing private chefs. Erin McDowell is a great baker and food stylist. Maayan Zilberman makes hard candy almost too cool to eat.
TT: All of our chefs. They are extremely talented, passionate about their careers, and hospitalitarians at heart.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
JD: Be receptive.
TT: No doesn’t mean no, it means not right now.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
JD: Use our service! And, on weeks when you don’t, peel and chop all your vegetables right when you come home from the grocery store.
TT: Request a chef!