spent with family and friends around the dining table, lost in conversations, sharing meals "just the way you like it" - is more important than wasting it in the kitchen
• Year-long adventure in Holland introduced me to delicious Dutch cheeses, herrings, and pannenkoeken. That's where I also tasted my first shrimp. And cookies made with sugar and real butter. Oh, and got my heart broken, too.
Back to Prague
• Back on my feet, working as a sales rep for DHL International in Prague, I sharpened my customer service and sales skills. I also met, dated, worked with, and married a best man I could find. We have just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
• My Greek vacation opened my eyes when it comes to fresh seafood and quality olive oils. Its cuisine made a huge impact on someone who lived in a country without an ocean, and therefore seafood was a luxury item. Seafood still remains my favorite food.
• One of the 'biggest deals' of our own business (production company we started with my husband) was a Grand Opening of Ta Fantastika Black Light Theater in Prague. It was attended by over 700 V.I.P. guests, incl. Czech President Vaclav Havel, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and the top elites of Czech show business. Two of us were in charge of the whole production incl. gourmet catering for the entire evening. The media labeled the event as the Best Premiere of the Year.
• In case you're wondering, yes, I've been there, done that - I owned/ran a restaurant! It was a part of a sports club back in my home country. During weekend's competitions, in that little kitchen, without any sous chefs, with an assistance of a regular 4 burner stove, I somehow created and served over 150 portions of delicious and nutritious meals a day. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that consisted of soup, two choices of entrees and dessert. Trust me, I slaved my 'behind' off. I don't know how, but it got done and done well. I learned that I'm capable of ANYTHING if I put my mind into it. In the meantime, our competition served hot dogs. That's, unfortunately, where I also messed my back and had to undergo a second back surgery.
• My newly found friends (most of them of Italian heritage) in Connecticut influenced me the most when it comes to correct approach to Italian cuisine. l was even entrusted with some sacredly kept family recipes. I felt right at home with my "adopted family in U.S.A.". Everything is better with great food, wine, and friends.
• Upon moving to U.S.A. (shortly after 9/11), I spent almost a decade learning, tasting and presenting the best wines of the world. Lucky to work for a fine wine distributor with a reputation for employing some of the most educated sales staff in the state. What's wrong with that picture? Absolutely nothing! You get to taste great wines all day long and meet fantastic people behind the scenes.
I underwent a very intense self-training on the subject thanks to the generosity of some of my knowledgeable colleagues and my own honest interest. And by tasting wines, tasting more wines and tasting some more. When you love something, and you're as passionate about it as I'm, it doesn't feel like a work.
Wine intensified my palate even more, and I became obsessed with the whole art of pairing the right foods with the right wines. And all that jazz. I'm not a wine snob, but I deeply respect the hard work behind it. Just don't offer me a glass of chardonnay with an ice cube, and no one gets hurt!
Since I'm in the most pain while sitting, I looked for something I can do standing. And voilà! I brushed off my cooking skills, added a little spice of my personality, my love for entertaining, wine and food pairing, and launched Vera's Home Kitchen - my Personal Chef Business.
With an Executive Chef Christian Schunmann of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar after a successful joint effort 'Wines of Argentina' luncheon
Vera's Home Kitchen Personal Chef Services for your next event
Imagine having me come to your house on your anniversary. Instead of going to the same old, same old restaurant you like (but it gets kind of boring, plus that waitress last time took her time, didn't she?). Not now.
Instead, you dress up, set up that dining table you hardly use with candle lights, send kids to sleep at your in-laws (they always complain they don't see them enough, right?) and surprise your hubby or girl of your dreams with a gourmet, romantic dinner for just two of you in your own home....
While visiting wineries in Spain, I fell in love with the country, the people and their cuisine through Spanish wines. It didn't matter if it was a delicious, simple food prepared in the winery from local ingredients or a complex menu of 8 courses at a 1 star Michelin restaurant. We were treated like celebrities everywhere, and I was totally charmed. As soon as I returned home, I tried to re-create some of those dishes on my own.
• Unfortunately, a few years later, I definitely messed up my back. Carrying the bag full of wine samples around all day long, driving long miles to visit customers, and lifting cases of wine turned out not to be such a good idea for my already fragile back. I'm not a superwoman after all. The long and painful recovery from my third surgery (this time a fusion) didn't get me the full quality of life back, despite my long and hard rehabilitation.
• When my wine career abruptly ended, I continued educating myself in wine and food, creating my own recipes paired with wine, and writing wine reviews of new wine discoveries that caught my attention. I desperately wanted to stay in touch with wine industry so I learned how to create a website, started a blog and moved my passion sharing on-line.
• We moved to Florida. Best decision of my life!!!! Enough of those long winters! It was a long time dream that my injury - paradoxically - made possible. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I found a joy in this tropical paradise, surrounded by my stepdaughters and their lovely children. It'd be great to just enjoy the life now, as it feels like vacation every time I drive or walk around. But I'm not retired yet.
You planned menu you both love, opened your favorite wine and just enjoy each other's company. Nobody bothers you with loud conversation from the next table, nobody is coming with the annoying "is there anything else you would like?", nobody is pushing you out because 3 more couples are waiting for your table. You just enjoy the moment, drink as much as you like because you're not driving, and if you feel like passing out on the couch, nobody is judging. It's your time, your home, and your anniversary. Perhaps put on your wedding movie and get lost in the memories of that special day, while your dinner is being prepared.
Hi, my name is Vera. I'm a founder of Vera's Home Kitchen, self-made chef, a former restaurateur and wine enthusiast turned into
If you're wondering who is the real me, and wish to get to know me better, the best way is to read about who, where, when, why and what inspired me:
• My grandma, back in a tiny village in the mountains of Czechoslovakia. That's how I first learned about traditional Eastern European dishes. She used the simplest ingredients to create delicious meals. I loved watching her in the kitchen and always remember her standing in front of the stove, making something special. By the way, if it was up to my mom to teach me how to cook, I would have never become a chef. Shhhh!
• 19 years old, nobody could clip my wings (or stop me) so I left the small village and moved to Prague to discover the world.
Behind the closed door dine and wine experience
Vera's Home Kitchen offers services in Florida Gold Coast, especially
in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and Broward County:
Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Lantana, Royal Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, West Palm Gardens, Lake Worth, Wellington, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Ft. Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Parkland, Riviera Beach, Davie, Miami (individual arrangements to more locations available)
Please, contact me at:
or call: (561) 908-2744
Vera's Home Kitchen is registered for business in a state of Florida. Our staff is licensed, Insured, and Food Safety for Food Handlers certified in Florida
Imagine coming home after a long day (yeah, the boss was a real pain today, again), and your kids not asking "what's for dinner"?! Instead, you take a nice, long shower and let them pick from the menu your Personal chef left on the fridge. Full of meals that your family craves. There isn' guessing game, no worries "if kids would eat it" because you chose menu YOU KNOW everyone likes. All you need to do is turn on the oven and heat it up.
Imagine having a party in your house with your foodie pals. You took your time getting ready and now sit down, lost in conversations, sipping on that delicious chilled rose you just discovered, enjoying scrumptious finger food, with amazing aroma coming from your kitchen. Dinner is served shortly. Yet, you don't worry about any of that. All you did was to meet with me and discussed the details ahead of time. What you wanted, how you wanted it - and then just kicked your heals back and relaxed.
The menu planning, grocery shopping, prepping and cooking and stressing about all the important details so everything falls into right place? Taken care of. And how about all that mess to clean up afterward? Not YOUR problem!
Someone I admire - one of the most talented, and respected wine makers in Rioja - Marcos Eguren
With Sig. Sergio Mionetto, Master Wine Maker at Mionetto Valdobbiadene, Italy
• That's where I got to collaborate with prestigious chefs of fine restaurants, preparing complex menus for wine dinners. Oh, I miss those moments when you get to sit down with a talented chef to create a menu while tasting wines to best compliment each course! From someone who started at 5 points (on the scale of 100) of a fine wine knowledge, I ended up hosting and presenting wine dinners, wine tastings and even taught wine classes. I don't mean to brag, but I'm damn proud of these accomplishments!
Talking about women empowerment, I made it in predominantly men's world. From nobody, within few years, I was among top 10 salespeople of the company. Yay! Without previous experience, knowledge of the local market or industry, connections and throw in the mix an industry's entire jargon in a second language.
Would you like to taste my cooking? I'm just a phone call away! Pick up the phone, or shoot me an email and simply ask!
You can also visit packages to see 'what's cooking' in Vera's Home Kitchen!
See availability or book/reserve your cooking day here