Has the thought of grocery shopping and meal prepping for a weekend full of house guests ever been anxiety-producing for you? Or you’ve sent invites to a dinner party but cannot muster an ounce of inspiration for the menu? If so, we’ve got the guy for you. Self-taught chef, Paco Rodriguez keeps a home base in Lyme after a solid decade of traveling and cheffing for an internationally renowned Yoga teacher as well as countless yoga retreats and events. Our staff members have all sampled Paco’s delights over the years and decided to invite him to our office to woo us with a lunch. Paco arrived promptly with a well-organized, neatly packed array of cross-cultural dishes ready for service with zero fuss at room temperature. We started with homemade protein-packed “crackers” made from pepitas, sunflower seeds, black & white sesame held together with chia seeds that we happily slathered with Robiola. Next course was grilled tofu (The Bridge) skewers with a red curry sauce over a sweet and crunchy cabbage, cilantro and carrot slaw. Our main course included the most flavorful and memorable Berbere (of Ethiopian origin) spiced chicken (see the recipe below!) alongside a vegetarian Bastilla (a traditional Moroccon savory pie) made with roasted fennel, chickpeas, almond flours and eggs tucked inside a phyllo dough shell. We devoured it all plus a side of perfectly salty and warm collard greens braised in coconut milk, ginger and tamari. For dessert — a classic French tart made with local plums and blueberries and a flaky buttery crust topped with homemade whipped cream. As full as we were by the end, the consensus was that not only were these dishes so carefully and thoughtfully crafted but ultimately — “healthy food made delicious”. Paco offers his spreads for all dietary needs — from gluten-free to vegan. With at least 4 days notice, he’ll deliver all the goods for anything from an elegant dinner party to a crowd of hungry athletes. Think: curries, taco bars, chili with all the trimmings. See more of Paco’s dishes here. Contact Paco Rodriguez via email here. Or call 347-247-7226 Berber-Spiced Baked Chicken Ingredients 2 LBS Chicken Thighs, boneless or skin-on, bone-in 1/3 Cup Olive Oil 1 Large Onion, quartered 4 TBSP Chopped Garlic 3 TBSP Chopped Ginger 2 TBSP Chopped Fresh Turmeric, or 1 TBSP dried 2 TBSP Lemon Zest 2 TBSP Berbere Seasoning (available at natural grocery stores) 1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice 1 TBSP Coarse Sea Salt Preparation 1) Place chicken thighs in a one gallon, freezer type food storage bag. In a food processor, make a paste of the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and lemon zest. Pour paste into bag, close and refrigerate overnight. 2) One half-hour before cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove bag of chicken from refrigerator. Add lemon juice and salt to chicken. Close bag again and, using your hands, mix chicken around making sure juice and salt is distributed evenly. Let come to room temperature. 3) Put chicken and marinade in casserole dish. Bake for 40 minutes until brown and bubbling. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees when checked with a meat thermometer.