Michelle and Mouhssine, the chefs behind Sweet Thyme : A Personal Chef Service, both picked up culinary skills at a young age. Michelle remembers making butter cream with her father at the age of 4, and later worked as a sous chef for her mother’s pastry business. Mouhssine counts pulling carrots from the family garden and helping his grandfather to butcher lambs among his childhood chores in Tiflet, Morocco. Both eventually came to San Antonio to hone their skills at the Culinary Institute of America.
The two chefs distill their long immersion in the culinary arts into cooking sessions when they travel to clients’ homes. There, they fashion locally acquired ingredients into menus tailored to preferences and needs. They can prepare American dishes such as short ribs braised in Brooklyn brown ale and served with root vegetables, or craft international dishes such as Moroccan-style tagine lamb shanks with black-currant couscous. Meat-free entrees such as pumpkin enchiladas in mole sauce offer vegetarians an alternative to plastic fruit. Mouhssine is also a wine steward, and shares his knowledge through wine classes and presentations.
Stocking its shelves with a wide variety of kitchen appliances, cutlery, dishware, and more, Melissa Guerra Tienda de Cocina provides guests with Latin American culinary goods in a colorful, highly perusable mercado-style venue. Customers can grace their munch mesas with a Chilean smiling-frog toothpick holder from Pomaireware ($10.95, toothpicks included), whose air-dried clay surface is polished with an agate before firing in order to silence ribbits of protest. A hand-blown etched martini/dessert glass ($24.95) enhances its contents with hand-etched details and vibrant turquoise, dark blue, and green hues (clear also available). A molcajete (Mesoamerican mortar and pestle) lends sauces a hearty flavor that steers dinner conversations toward infamous guac gourmands from the golden age of culinary exploration, such as the fabled Ponce de León. For aspiring chefs, Melissa Guerra carries various edible items, such as tamale ingredients, chilies, and sweets, and an assortment of artisan folk pieces is available for home and bodily adornment.