Many say that the way to achieve success is to find a need and fill it.  That’s just what Jill Donenfeld did several years ago when she started her company, The Culinistas, and coined the term as the name for the personal home chefs that cook with her.  Even though Jill went to New York with fashion on her mind, she ended up with a very successful culinary business located in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and her clients include many A-list celebrities.

Her premise was that extremely busy people want to eat healthy meals at home with their families, but sometimes their schedules did not permit them to shop, prep and prepare home cooked meals.   Her idea of healthy, freshly prepared meals, made in your own  kitchen from carefully selected ingredients and then packaged so that you could mix, match and easily serve them was the answer to many parent’s dream…or single person’s dream, as well.  Nutritious, home cooked meals to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home…great idea, right?  And, they leave your kitchen spotless…what could be better?

As her business expanded,  Jill needed to hire other Culinistas and that’s when Josie walked into her life and they have been a great team ever since…preparing dishes high in nutrients with eco-friendly ingredients and a nod to a bit of indulgence now and then.

Josie (left), Jill (right)

Enter another great idea…what if you create a cookbook using your popular recipes and structured it so that people will learn how to prepare for a party…even down to knowing at what point in the preparation they should get dressed!  In their new cookbook, Party Like a Culinista, they give planning tips, checklists, menu ideas and of course, great recipes.

I met with Jill and Josie at their book signing in my hometown at the fashionable boutique, Alligator Purse.  By the time I arrived, they already had quite a fan club gathered,  including one gal who was buying Party Like a Culinista for everyone on her holiday shopping list!

From left to right - Linda, Susie, Beryl, Josie and Jill

Jill said that her mother Beryl, a noted personal fitness instructor, taught her the importance of good nutrition balanced with great taste and an eye for calorie content.  She also said that cooking together is a tradition at their  house…at Thanksgiving everyone gathers in the kitchen and prepares a special dish to serve.  I’m sure that’s a very healthy, tasty meal.

Beryl and Jill

Josie also loves to get together with her family, cooking, eating and sharing… she said that sometimes when you are enjoying each others company, you find out something about those close to you that you never knew…recently she found out her mother can do the splits!

I love the fact that Jill and Josie are both believers in the importance of having dinner with your family and friends whenever possible.  In fact, the dedication for their book says, “This cookbook is dedicated to our families who taught us to cook with love, share the table, and celebrate”.

I know that many of us can’t afford to have The Culinistas cook for our family, but we can share their recipes and respect for family dinners. If you are looking for inspiration and fun advice for your upcoming holiday parties, this is the book for you…or if you are looking for a great gift idea for those who love fun and healthy meals, this might be your answer.

I thought that you might like to prepare one of the recipes from the book, so I received permission from Jill, Josie and their publisher, Lake Isle Press, Inc.  to share this one with you to serve at your next party or Sunday supper with your family and friends.

Make it special, make it Sunday!

Miso Caper Glazed Salmon

Yield: 6-8

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Tasty, easy salmon recipe for a party or a weeknight meal.


1/4 cup capers in brine
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 cup mirin
2 pounds salmon fillet


When I prepared this dish, I asked to have the salmon sliced and the skin removed, to make the dish even easier.

Crush the capers with a fork. Whisk together the capers, miso, olive oil, agave and mirin.

Slice the salmon fillet into 6 or 8 pieces and marinate the salmon in the miso-caper mixture either in a covered dish, or sealed plastic bag for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet and bake until salmon is opaque and flakes easily, about 20 minutes.

I garnished the dish with additional capers.