Jes Taber salted and sampled a hash of Bok Choy, spring red onion and asparagus she was cooking on a recent afternoon at In the Kitchen.
“That’s really good,” she said.
In a pot on the stove, eggs were gently boiling for a carefully timed seven minutes.
“I love eggs. I take eggs really seriously. Overcooked eggs to me are the saddest thing in the world,” she said.
Taber is a personal chef and author of the food blog, “Eye of the Avocado.” There, foodies will find an archive of recipes including her “seven minutes to heaven” medium boiled eggs, pickled onions, cultured butter made from raw cream and sheep’s yogurt and braised short ribs.
Taber knows food. For the past eight years, she lived in San Francisco working at some of the best foodie hot spots the city has to offer. She “worked the line” in the front of the house at the busy Tartine Bakery and garnered a food education working as a cashier at Bi-Rite Market.
She worked for three years in an open-air market called “The Village Market” in the city’s Richmond District first as a barista at Blue Bottle Coffee and later with her kitchen mentor, Kate Baron of Marin Organics.
She grew up in a household of people who liked to eat. Her dad, KVMR radio broadcaster John Taber makes a “world famous” barbecue sauce.
Her mom, Tammi, has a knack for pastry. Her brother, Aaron Taber, a baker, lives in Brooklyn where he runs a bread CSK called Archimedes Kitchen and Erie Basin Bread.
“If you know my mom and dad, we feed people. It’s nice that we all kind of share the same passion,” she said.
When she was 20, Taber lived in Florence, Italy, while studying Italian and literature. It was there that she learned the art of slow food. She shopped at outside markets where family farmers sold their locally grown produce to all walks of life.
“What I appreciate most of making food for people is how it brings people together. Everyone loves good food. It’s an easy thing to center humans around,” she said.
Now at 30, though it meant leaving behind a house with a Mariposa Plum tree growing outside her bedroom window, Taber is back in Nevada County. She came home for Christmas and felt it was the right time to return.
“There are so many young people here who want to start something more sustainable in food,” she said.
Taber cooks soup and hash brown fritatas served at the Curly Wolf coffee house in Nevada City for Wendy Van Wagner of In the Kitchen.
“Jes cooks from her heart, the food she makes is an offering of love. Her presence at In the Kitchen has brought so much positive energy in the last few months that she has worked here,” said Van Wagner.
Taber took the KVMR broadcasting class and is among a younger crowd of broadcasters at the Nevada City-based radio station. Her dad is known locally for the shows, “Dead Air” and “Saturday Morning Live!” as well as organizing the annual Celtic Festival.
As a personal chef, Taber sits down with her clients to figure out what they want. Do they want family dinners, grab and go meals, what is the objective? She does the shopping, preps, cooks and cleans up. She confidently cooks for people with food allergies and restrictive diets. She specializes in “wellness” food for those who are trying to improve their health or coming back from a serious illness.
She likes the education aspect of being a personal chef. She enjoys teaching people about food and the cooking basics.
“I like de-mystifying food for people,” she said.
Beyond in-home personal chefing, Taber caters small parties such as the taco and tamale dinner she recently offered.
Throughout her cooking career she has catered special events such as weekly classic cassoulet suppers, green enchilada suiza dinners and chicken and waffles.
This summer, she will team up with Julia Boorinakis-Harper of KVMR’s Homestead Show for a Greek-themed farm dinner in Placer County.
Taber finds inspiration from what’s found seasonally in the produce department, her weekly CSA box from Mountain Bounty Farm and the fresh fish counter at BriarPatch Co-op.
“I kind of let the ingredients talk to me,” she said.
Contact freelance reporter Laura Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-401-4877.