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RestaurantsNorth Bay
July 4-10, 2007

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News of the Food

Simmer Down

By Carey Sweet

Adult guests hoping to enjoy a nice dinner at the popular Simmer restaurant in Corte Madera will have to make other plans. You've been usurped by a bunch of uptown toddlers.

Owners Ken Harris and Lesley Kohn have just closed their year-and-a-half-old California-French eatery in order to focus on a new concept called Chefables, a catering company that specializes in high-end meals for children.

And not just any children, but really wee ones, between the ages of one and five. Apparently, pampering the palates of well-heeled rugrats is more profitable than attending to those of fine food-loving grownups.

It was only in April that Harris and Kohn sent the Boho a lyrically worded press release, gushing about hiring a new chef at Simmer. They wooed us with promises of new dishes like la plancha of dayboat salmon with spring rhubarb chutney, watercress and rhubarb Vincotto; chili roasted tofu with tender baby bok choy, apple emulsion and carrot chiffonade; and spring white asparagus with Coppa ham, pistachios and white balsamic.

But at the same time, they had been tinkering with the Chefables idea, which offers custom, three-course hot meals plus optional teatime snack programs delivered daily to select northern California daycare centers and schools. The hoards of deep-pocketed parents too time-pressed to pack a PB&J for their precious progeny responded better than expected.

"We will still be here daily 'cooking up a storm' for our littlest of customers," soothes a notice posted last week on Simmer's front door and website, "but [we] need the space, time and resources for this rapidly expanding business operation."

The inspiration came to executive chef Harris after the birth of his first child, Emily, when he found himself creating haute highchair creations for her. That morphed into creating a personal chef service for the sippy-cup set, "like Oprah uses to eat healthy and stay in shape," the Chefables propaganda exclaims. "Her chef creates tasty, well-balanced meals for her daily, and keeps her on track. Our Chefables Children's Food Series does just that--chef-created, child-inspired food offerings as easy as ABC."

That means instead of slumming it with brownbag tuna salad sammys and prefab pudding packs, gourmet guttersnipes can nibble on from-scratch wood fired pizza, seasonal vegetarian lasagna, creamy polenta with quinoa and Parmesan, organic whole-wheat corn bread and LaLoo's Goat's Milk Ice Cream.

No word if Chefables execs will pop in a note reading, "Mommy loves you" for an additional fee.

To learn more, go to Chefables at or call 415.299.2800.

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