BY Trish Choate
Gary LaFave started with his love of food, added a desire to make people healthier and blended them well as owner of FitChef Foods Texas in Pearland.
The healthy meal preparation business feeds the ketogenic and paleo crowds as well as clients suffering from autoimmune ailments, LaFave said. The company also aims to serve people who want to fit healthy eating into their busy lives without adhering to a special diet.
“Mothers come home from work, and they’re tired. And every night, what’s for dinner? It’s another chore,” he said.
FitChef does the meal prep for them so all they have to do is heat and eat their dishes bought as one-time purchases or on discounted subscription plans. Prices range from $62.50 to $159.95 for meal plans per week, which can include from five to 15 meals a week.
Clients can pick up the meals prepped in recyclable containers, and FitChef delivers free to Pearland and Friendswood. Meals for the next week must be ordered by Thursday; pickup is Friday or Saturday.
Known as “chef Gary,” LaFave grew up watching his Sicilian grandmother in the kitchen, he said.
“My grandmother used to come out to Illinois where I lived, and she would cook all this Italian food,” he said.
The graduate of Eastern Illinois University was always drawn to cooking and learned about nutritious eating while managing a health food store.
During a retreat his wife, Deloris, turned to him and said, “Why don’t you be a personal chef?”
LaFave took the advice of his wife, he said.
He is the former owner of The Upper Crust, a meal prep business specializing in casseroles, that he opened in 2010 in Pearland.
LaFave assumed ownership of FitChef and its bigger kitchen in February 2018, he said. Doug Barron, a previous owner of FitChef, stayed with the business to become his head chef.
LaFave recently launched a website, www.thecurbsidecuisine.com, to again offer casseroles, such as chicken pot pie, for delivery, he said. Each serving feeds up to five people and comes with a salad and choice of dessert.
Healthy eating does not mean giving up a sweet finish at FitChef.
“One of the guys that eats the keto cheesecake is diabetic,” LaFave said. “He can eat it all day long without his sugar going up.”
FitChef Foods Texas
5517 Broadway St., Ste. M, Pearland
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sun.
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