Christopher Roth and Jamie Fletcher are passionate about the importance of eating good food. So passionate, in fact, that they will come to your house and cook you a meal.
Roth, a self-taught chef, and Fletcher recently launched Salt & Season, a personal chef service in Rapid City. Their mission is to prepare healthy meals with local ingredients, and to encourage people to rediscover the joys of dining together.
Roth and Fletcher saw a need locally for a personal chef business that combats the stress of mealtime preparation and offers practical, delicious alternatives to fast food.
“Cultures who sit down for dinner, who value the culture and camaraderie around the act of eating do much better in their lives,” Fletcher said.
In contrast, most people Fletcher and Roth know are working 12-hour days, then making a stop to grab fast food. “Food should be … something you look forward to, that you not only enjoy for yourself but sharing with others,” Fletcher said.
Roth and Fletcher launched Salt & Season in October. After clients choose the menus they want, Roth prepares meals in clients’ own kitchens. “We’re there four to five hours, depending on how many meals you want,” Fletcher said.
Clients come home to meals that are pre-portioned and need only to be heated, put on plates and eaten. All the other work is done for them.
“Salt & Season is meant to take the place of finding a recipe, list making, commuting and actual shopping, fighting the crowds, the food prep at home, the cooking, the portioning and the cleanup,” Fletcher said.
Roth and Fletcher have menus a client can choose from, or they will work with clients to customize meals around food preferences and health issues, such as paleo diets, gluten-free diets and allergies. “The harder it is for you to cook for yourself, the more willing we are,” Fletcher said.
Salt & Season uses the best ingredients possible. “We buy as many local ingredients as we can. Whatever we don’t use is repurposed or goes to compost for our garden, and our garden produces food we use for our clients,” Fletcher said.
Salt & Season offers meal packages clients can order for themselves or to give as gifts. Giving meals as gifts is especially beneficial for someone who is ill or for a family that has recently suffered a loss, Fletcher said.
Roth has been cooking professionally for 15 years. A native of the Black Hills, Roth cooked in fine dining restaurants locally, in Seattle and in Portland. He also traveled through Europe, carrying miniature spice kits and olive oil in his backpack so he could prepare meals in hostels where he stayed.
“Cooking in restaurants is fun, but it’s not as personal as I want. I’ve been wanting to move toward more of a one-on-one aspect of cooking, where I’m able to help people and inspire excitement about food,” Roth said. “A lot of people don’t think they can cook or they haven’t been able to take the time. Salt & Season is as much a service to help people eat well as an opportunity to inspire them.”
In tandem with the personal chef service, Roth will coach clients on how to prepare recipes. He’ll also teach clients to shop, taking them to a local grocery store and demonstrating how to shop for healthful foods quickly and efficiently.
Fletcher, a native of Portland, met Roth there in 2014. Fletcher is an event and meeting planner who fills administrative and marketing roles for Salt & Season, and shares Roth’s passion to feed and inspire people.
Roth and Fletcher hope their new business will be part of a greater food movement in western South Dakota.
“I believe Rapid City and the Black Hills could be a very food centric, local, sustainable place. The seeds have been planted and small steps are being taken. I believe there are a lot of like-minded people here that could really build a great food community,” Roth said.
“At the root of it all, food is a way to show love,” Fletcher said. “Salt & Season is our way of joining the family.”