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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Good Life Caters to You

Local company cooks up feasts in the comfort of home

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Who hasn’t had one of those moments after a hectic and exhausting day when you ask, “Can’t somebody just come over to my house and cook for me?”

When Karen Wilets, owner of the Good Life Catering company, recognized this niche in the culinary world, she sought to fill it. Wilets’ success story began when she started supplementing her income by making desserts for the restaurant where she was employed. Her reputation for phenomenal sweets grew, and people started to ask when she was going to make other foods. Three years ago, the demand for Wilets’ food was so great, she was able to leave her job and commit herself to the Good Life, her homegrown business specializing in catering and personal chef services.

“People don’t have to go out to a restaurant to get a perfectly plated, creative and delicious meal,” Wilets explains. “I want my clients and their friends to feel like they just had food from the best restaurant in town, but in the comfort of their own home.”

While the Good Life accommodates cocktail parties, gourmet champagne brunches and catered corporate events, the business is gaining notice for its creative take on a private, in-home multi-course dinner with wine pairing. For a “Mystery Dinner,” a host or hostess invites 10 to 20 guests with instructions to bring their own “portion of protein,” anything from alligator to textured vegetable protein. Without any knowledge of what the guests will be bringing, chef Wilets, with a nod to “Iron Chef,” designs an eight-course meal around the ingredients.

“The last time I made a mystery dinner I was given four live lobsters,” Wilets says. “Whatever it is, I will make it work.”

She has a gift for spontaneous recipes that carry the flavor and texture of a dish that has been time-tested. Guests can expect petite plates that arrange color and dimension in a presentation that reflects the art degree Wilets earned from UW-Madison.

The Good Life also offers intimate cooking classes for four that teach students recipes and culinary techniques ranging from South American cuisine to sushi rolling. Once they have completed at least four classes, Wilets treats students to a dinner for two. “For me, eating scrumptious food and having fun with friends is the good life,” Wilets says. “I try to bring the good life to every event we’re invited to.”

For more information on the Good Life Catering, call (414) 416-2005 or visit www.glcatering.com.