By: Laura Muzzi Brennan
Originally published in County Lines Magazine, March 2017
You may be a hardcore vegan while I'm an unrepentant carnivore - the food version of you say potay-to and I’m low carbing it - but I bet we agree on one thing: we both want to push away from the table feeling satisfied and nourished. The challenge - especially in late winter when our bodies still crave rib-sticking food - is finding dishes that fill us up, don’t weigh us down and provide the nutrients our bodies need to bounce into spring.
Chef Emily Scott knows how to strike this balance. In 2014, Scott started The Wildflower Chef, a meal delivery service she now runs out of West Chester’s Artisan Exchange. Her business name reflects her commitment to providing “honest” food: simple, fresh and organic with no empty calories, no confusing labels, no hidden ingredients.
The majority of Scott’s clients are parents with young children. They’re short on time but want to provide their families with healthy food. She also cooks for many older couples who’ve decided to devote their energy to pursuits outside the kitchen. Many clients have allergy concerns and 90 percent follow a gluten-free diet.
The delivery service works like this: clients fill out a questionnaire about food preferences including how much time they’re willing to spend reheating. Most opt for 3 to 5 meals per week - 3 is the minimum. The service is not a subscription, so there’s no obligation to order every week.
Before each delivery, Scott sends a menu for review and approval. Although clients are free to make requests, most don’t: “They’re happy as long as we keep the healthy food coming,” says Scott.
Among her clients’ hearty favorites are vegetarian enchiladas and beef chili that gets an extra healthy boost from puréed pumpkin. Scott loves making soups and offering vegan meals. Her menus evolve constantly based on available ingredients and clients’ tastes.
Overall, Scott focuses on plant-based dishes and offers some great ways to make such meals filling and nutritious. For those looking to cut starch, she likes to replace potatoes with winter squash. For a fiber boost - and a toothsome alternative to meat - lentils and beans fit the bill. And if you’re trying to reduce dairy intake, Scott suggests exploring recipes that use cashews to make vegan “cheese” sauces or creamy salad dressings.
Over her years of feeding others - before enrolling in culinary school, she cooked for fellow dancers at the Orlando Ballet Company - Scott concluded that cooking per se is not the only obstacle to eating healthfully. So in early 2017, she debuted her seasonal meal planning program.
Clients pay a set fee, and every week for the first month of the season, she sends recipes that can be adapted for any diet along with nutritional tips and shopping lists. As part of the plan, clients enjoy a 30-minute phone consultation with Scott and can email her anytime with questions. During months two and three, she continues to send weekly emails full of bonus recipes, fitness tips and much-needed inspiration.
When food becomes less about calories and more about what you are getting (nutrients and antioxidants vs. fat grams and sugar), it’s easier to make the decision that you know will benefit you the most,” says Scott in her ebook, Plan Your Health Program.
Now those are words to eat by.
Get Chef Emily Scott's recipes, featured in the March 2017 issue of County Lines Magazine.