Good things can come out of bad situations. While the pandemic has kept a lot of people home, and put stress on business owners, it’s also allowed people to get creative and do things they might not have done otherwise.
For two Heights residents, they’ve used the last few months to expand their culinary aspirations.
Eilidh Cowan, originally from Columbus, Ohio, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering, but cooking has been her focus since May. What started as a food blog account on Instagram, Bonsai Eats, has since transitioned into a premade meal service with menu options that can be picked up or delivered to the central Houston area.
The Texas Food Cottage Law covers desserts that Cowan prepares at home, but not the meals.
“I thought trying my hand at being a chef during COVID was the perfect opportunity,” Cowan said. “My boyfriend always encouraged me to do it and I finally did.”
People can choose a dish and place the order through bonsaieats.com or by contacting Cowan directly. She said she cooks the meals to be ready exactly on the delivery time the customer chooses. It is then ready to eat when she drops it off or when people pick it up without the need for reheating or further preparation.
“So far, people have loved it as most of my dishes are pretty ethnic,” Cowan said.
Examples of the type of meals Cowan prepares include garlic miso pasta with roasted chicken and vegetables, French beef stew with homemade bread, ginger-toasted pork chops with Greek pasta and Thai basil curry, which can be made vegan and gluten-free.
“The endless cycle of cooking allows me to express and test my creativity over and over again,” Cowan said. “Cooking really clears my head and makes me feel connected with other people whenever I see them enjoy my food.”
Allison Hartley has been in the food industry a long time as chef and caterer, but there wasn’t much time with her own business, Sweet & Savory Girl.
“When COVID hit it gave me the push to work on my own business exclusively,” Hartley said.
While Hartley does small-scale catering and specialty desserts through her business, over the last couple of months she has shifted to teaching cooking classes. The cooking classes intended to be for kids, but Hartley said many adults have reached out as well.
Hartley teaches the classes however the parents feel most comfortable, whether in-person or over Zoom. She’s developed two different classes, one covering sweet foods and the other savory. Each has about eight lessons that build on one another, but it’s also an option to take just one lesson. The classes are flexible.
“Whatever they want to learn, I’m willing to teach,” Hartley said.
Recently, Hartley had a Zoom class that was Halloween-themed at the request of parents. She developed Halloween recipes specifically for the class.
From cooking for others to teaching others to cook, these two Heights residents have been able to bring good out of troubling times.