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You Are What You Eat…

There have been quite a few new boutique pet food companies that have emerged in the wake of recent pet food recall scandals. The following is an article about a personal chef in Ontario, Canada, who has expanded her line to include pet food. There wasn’t enough information to determine if this is a valid concept — this pet food is based on people food, which will not fulfill a pet’s dietary requirements, some common people foods can be lethal to cats, and neither Chapman nor Fraser has a veterinary background — but if I had the money to do it, I would love to have a purrsunal cat chef to give my cats a fresh, safe, alternative to processed pet foods. I think all of us sometimes wonder if it’s just a matter of time before our cats’ favorite brand shows up on a recall list.

Anyway, here’s the article from the Town Crier online:

Bringing trust back to pet food

By Kelly Gadzala

For cat and dog owners, people food means a mouthful.

Its the stuff we often feel iffy about feeding our pets, but its also the stuff well let fall from the dinner table when our four-legged pals are begging for burgers.

Personal chef Tabitha Chapman can relate. The owner of the Riverdale-based meal delivery and catering company Enjoy Not Cooking wasnt so sure about feeding cats and dogs people food. She says clients used to ask her to prepare a little something for their pets when shed drop off their meals. But shed always say no.

A former non-pet person, Chapman is now making Shepherds Pie for her new cat Isabella as the co-owner of the new Trust Pet Cuisine, a personal chef service for cats and dogs. Its the same food she and colleague and chef Jorge Portecarreo make for their human clients at their Eastern Ave. kitchen, only with less spice and seasoning, she says.

However, test kitty Isabella wasn’t so sure at first.

Weeding her off the bad stuff was a trial, Chapman says. But now Isabella looks and acts healthier and happier, she says. Even her attitude reflected the food she ate.


PARTNERS IN KITTY CUISINE: Karen Fraser, left, and Tabitha Chapman whoop it up over a fresh batch of cat food. The pair created meals for cats and dogs using people food as its base.

Chapman didn’t seriously consider making people food for pets until approached a year ago by Karen Fraser, author of Women Like Me, The Women’s Business & Networking Directory and known for her entrepreneurial leadership and volunteer initiatives.

Fraser had been making meals for her brood of cats since the March 2007 Menu Foods pet food recall but was finding the process of preparing and cooking meat and vegetables time-consuming. She was looking for a personal chef and partner and found it when interviewing Chapman for a Women Like Me profile.

While Fraser says they aren’t bashing an entire industry of pet food makers she admits there’s good pet food on the market she does say some pet foods contain nasty byproducts.

Trust meals are delivered fresh or frozen and don’t contain processed food products, preservatives, or byproducts, she says. There’s an organic line, and a lesser-priced premium line containing whatever additives found in the people food its made from.

Fraser researched for a year and consulted with several animal experts before Chapman developed the recipes with Portecarreo. While researching Fraser had to be critical of what some experts were saying when they recommended certain foods for pets.

I thought, Would I eat that?

We take everything with a grain of substitute salt, she says of the nutritional benefits of certain ingredients, as research inevitably changes. She notes oat bran was going to save the planet 10 years ago and now no one talks about it.

Even so, Fraser and Chapman plan to keep abreast of the current trends and adapt recipes to reflect new findings. They don’t do nutritional testing on their food though Fraser says its 100 percent nutritious.

Meanwhile in the vet community, there’s a general silence with notable exceptions.

They don’t want to know, she adds, noting veterinarians make a lot of money off pet food.

Her vet doesn’t approve of what shes doing, Fraser adds, but then when the vet saw one of her kittens coats, she commented on its silkiness.

I think shes conflicted.