Astrid Yee-Sobraques was the featured speaker on Thursday, Aug. 22. Astrid, personal chef and founder of Two Sprigs of Thyme, did a presentation on her vision for sensational food and healthy cuisine.

Two Sprigs of Thyme is a company described as “a culinary pursuit, specializing in healthy eating.” The company was established in 2018. It has brought Nature back into kitchens.

Cooking has become a second career for Astrid. She started in the corporate world. The pressures, along with the endless hours, led to some illness. She made the choice to start to eat naturally. She began with experiments in her own kitchen. She wanted to create recipes that would not only be healthy but also delicious at the same time. She wanted to minimize dairy, sugar, as well as gluten. She first started to talk about cooking for others in 2011. Today, she provides people with the opportunity to have healthy, home-cooked meals while they live their busy lives in this hectic world.

So what’s a personal chef? A personal chef knows a lot when it comes to food products, cooking techniques, dietary restrictions, different cuisine types, and more. However, the profession is about more than just food. Personal chefs are entrepreneurs. Each chef is knowledgeable in strategy, financial management, marketing, culinary philosophy, meal planning, menu design, and hospitality (service and plate arrangements). A personal chef has many clients. The clients invite the chefs into their homes. Personal relationships are formed. Every client puts his or her trust in the hands of a personal chef. Astrid feels a deep connection is needed in order to achieve success.

Astrid’s process includes both instinct and intuition. She frequently gets an emotion or visualizes an image in her head. She asks herself what foods will taste good. She then applies the information to what each client wants. She will make any required alterations. She hopes an experience will be created with each meal. Mealtime should be a time of togetherness. It should also be a time of peace. Meals can lead to spiritual enrichment.

The speaker shared a quotation: “When diet is correct, medicine is of no need. And when diet is incorrect, medicine is of no use.” The quote means that the consumption of fresh organic products is better because the food is alive. The products have all the nutrients required for best function. Natural flavors are intended to be savored because they follow Nature’s plan for the body. People ought to limit processed foods. Take cold cuts as an example. Chemicals are added to products. The process takes place so the products can last longer. These chemicals have bad effects on the body.

It turns out that a person’s health goes beyond the physical state. Nature’s standard of health is for a person to feel happy. Emotions are influenced by diet. Food can have a healing power. A person just has to consume the right foods. We all need to experience a connection with others; we all need to experience happiness. Many tidbits — like flowers on the table, nice dinnerware, or nice linens — can make a comfortable atmosphere. Such an atmosphere is crucial in order to be happy.

Flavors in food can produce good emotions. Greater flavors are tasted from farm-to-table organic foods than from foods that were made through traditional intensive agricultural methods. Flavor helps to establish a healthy eating regimen. The taste and smell senses come together to bring about flavor. The flavor then has an impact on the hypothalamus, a region of the brain which controls appetite. Plus, it regulates emotions. Flavor entices a person to healthier food choices; it can keep a person away from fried foods.

Astrid started with specific menu items around 16 minutes into her presentation. One was the Valentine’s Day design. Lavender is highlighted in this design. The herb has a unique aroma. It has wonderful health benefits. The design’s first course is Astrid’s shrimp cucumber fennel salad, which includes lemon juice, olive oil, and red onion. The main course is grilled lamb cured on red lavender stems. Butternut squash sprinkled with rosemary is a part of the main course too. The desert is a good lavender crème brûlée.

The Living Well Luncheon is a meal that Astrid prepared recently for a group of health and wellness practitioners. Her goal was to have the meal consist of organic food and meats that have been raised in human condition. She also wanted to serve a gluten-free and sugarless desert. For the main course, she served a roasted chicken with garlic and vegetables. For vegetarians, she prepared a Mediterranean salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, walnuts, and other items. She picked quinoa (a good protein source) to be the grain. The desert was the Jaipur cake.

Healthy eating doesn’t mean a person has to become a vegetarian or a vegan. Those two options aren’t bad — they’re just not required to achieve optimal health. Astrid abides by six reflexes:

  1. Gluten-free

  2. Dairy-free

  3. Sugarless

  4. Minimize the use of red meat

  5. Cooking temperatures: When meat is cooked at temperatures above

    350°F, chemical reactions begin to occur. Glycotoxins are generated. Meat can be cooked (preferably) at temperatures below 230°F.

6. Some combinations of food are best avoided. Examples are meat and honey; fish and yolk; acid and starch; and cooking in flour.

Other meals Astrid shared with her audience were grilled veal chop with some nice vegetables; grilled artichokes and marinated mushrooms; a salad, which contained cabbage, watermelon, radishes, and other items; seared scallops; grapefruit and orange supremes with some fennel; and red snapper, grilled slowly in the oven with a creole sauce.

Toward the end, Astrid went over the services she offers as a personal chef. She does weekly preparations where she goes into a client’s home on one day. She cooks a pre-agreed number of meals. Each meal has a set number of portions. She stores the food (properly labeled) in the refrigerator. She leaves instructions. Then each client gets to savor delicious, healthful food. Hopefully, there is happiness. Astrid also provides in-home entertaining (like catering). She goes into homes to cook for get-togethers, such as dinner parties, small family reunions, events, etc. Prices are shown on her company’s website.

At the end, Astrid gave some valuable advice: “Eating healthful is your natural diet. It’s not a life sentence. It’s not punishment. You’re literally returning to the way that you should have been eating all along. A lot of it has to do with your mindset and how you relate to it in a sense.

“Change takes time. Baby steps are best. If you try to change too much to your diet all at once, the pendulum is going to swing the other way. You’re going to give up and not achieve your objectives. So it’s much better to maybe choose one thing that you’re going to do differently and stick with it. Get used to it before you start to introduce other things.”

Contact Information

Email: chef@twosprigsofthyme.comWebsite: