January 3, 2010

About Chef Margaret Hefner

Margaret Hefner is Canadian-born to European parents. Thanks to their international travels, meals at the Hefner dinner table were inspired and well-prepared. Pretty impressive considering this was the late 60s and early 70s when fast-food was quickly becoming king.

Although her initial path was to to attend the Rhode Island School of Design for a degree in Jewelry design, soon after completing her degree she followed her nose into the kitchen of Alforno, in Providence. Having no formal training, but with a hearty culinary knowledge and repertoire, she was accepted into this kitchen specializing in Tuscan food, and spent a year as part of a team preparing food for such culinary luminaries as Julia Child, Todd English and Chris Schlesinger and pop icon Billy Joel.

Parenthood soon followed and Margaret returned to Canada to marry, and to raise her daughter. She ran her own jewelry design business from her home for 8 years, with occasional gigs in restaurants and catering, but her real passion was imparting a love of well-prepared and healthy food in her growing daughter.

After closing her jewelry business in 2002, she returned to restaurant work, this time as sous chef in a Thai restaurant under executive chef Camilo Costales, whose restaurants included the popular Youki, Café Asia, Pine and Bamboo, and the Berkeley Café in Toronto. Margaret, being Canadian of European background and living in a vibrant multi-ethnic community, found this exposure to Asian ingredients added another rich layer to her culinary inspirations.

Margaret's real passion though, remained the family table. Noting that fewer families ate dinner together and more were opting for take-out and fast foods rather than cooking simple and fresh, she began her Personal Chef service, Taste Your Freedom. Her mission: to bring families back to the table, by offering healthy meals customized to her clients- whether families with kids, retired couples, those with frustrating dietary limitations or anyone with the desire to eat well, yet challenged when it came to putting it together.

When her daughter went off to university, this year, Margaret set off on her own adventure to Mexico. Meant to be a 2 month trip for a crash course in Spanish and an exploration of Mexican cuisine, San Miguel de Allende became the place she wanted to call home. While restaurants are plentiful in this diverse town of Mexican locals and US and Canadian expats, her custom approach offers refreshing options and opportunities for the foodies in town. Dietary challenges no longer need to be limiting. Home entertaining can be as easy as pulling out a ready-to-go prepared meal. Now, Margaret invites all San Miguelenses to Taste their Freedom!

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