Dining » Vol. 16

“The Dinner Maker” Caters To “Golden” Generation

By Leeanne Griffin

Maybe you’re retired, or quickly approaching that time of your life, but you haven’t really slowed down yet. There’s perhaps work, household duties, visits from grandchildren, and ~eventually ~ responsibility for the care of elderly relatives. With all that going on, sometimes it’s hard to remember to eat healthy.

And when day-to-day meals become too much to handle,



Javier Fuertes, a local personal chef known as “The Dinner Maker,” wants people to know that there are options for full-service home-cooked fare.

Fuertes, a Johnson and Wales University-trained chef, left the high-pressure world of restaurant and banquet cooking and started his own personal chef service about seven years ago. Based in Fitchburg, he travels throughout Central MA and southern NH to provide people with nutritious and flavorsome cuisine.

Fuertes’ services range from $310 for three entrees (with four servings apiece) to a package of six full meals, with sides, for $475. The fee includes personalized menu planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, packaging and labeling. Fuertes does it all, even cooking the meals in the customer’s own kitchen and cleaning up afterward.

“There’s definitely a need out there for specialized cuisine like this,” he said. “Older people aren’t always aware that personal chef services exist.”

While preparing meals for older clients, he’ll choose good proteins like lean meats and fish for entrees, and will often substitute healthier ingredients ~ like Smart Balance spread instead of butter ~ without sacrificing flavor.

“Everything is freshly made, no preservatives, no additives,” he promised. Clients’ menu favorites include dry-rubbed baby back ribs and lasagna-wrapped salmon.

Having cooked for older clients, Fuertes is well-versed in the dietary needs of this age group, whether they’re dealing with diabetes, hypertension or other common ailments.
“I customize meals according to the client’s profile,” he said. “As a policy, I always adhere to customer needs.”

Fuertes stays current with health matters by conducting his own nutrition research, and he often consults other members of the American Personal and Private Chef Institute and Association. He is also a certified fitness instructor, bringing his knowledge of food and exercise together.

Beyond just dietary requirements, Fuertes is aware of other challenges facing his older consumers, who might live alone without family members nearby. He recently worked with a client whose adult children lived across the country. The siblings coordinated with each other to purchase a series of meals for their MA-based father.

“It’s difficult ~ the kids can only do so much [long-distance],” he said. “But they found it to be a saving grace.”

Fuertes also referenced a former client, now deceased, who found out about him through a newspaper advertisement. He cooked for her on a monthly basis until she passed away. She looked forward to the hours he would spend in her kitchen, he said.

“For me, it’s more than just a business, it’s a relationship,” Fuertes said. “I really do care about helping people. It’s such a great feeling to provide good food.”

Chef Javier Fuertes, “The Dinner Maker” can be reached at 978-343-8860 or chefjav@dinnermaker.com. Learn more about the business at www.thedinnermaker.com.

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