Organic In Home Cooking

Professional chef services and back-to-basics cuisine

Teased by the smells of good cooking all afternoon, a client’s dog nonetheless poses politely with Adriana Sierra and Rodrigo Rengifo of Organic in Home Cooking at the client’s home in Monte Sereno, where they have spent the afternoon preparing meals.

Photographs by Lane Johnson

Adriana Sierra effortlessly dices carrots and zucchini for an Italian meatball soup as she talks about her first experiences with cooking. “I always loved to cook,” she says. “I started at home and my mom was a pastry chef and she loved to make wedding cakes. Everybody in my family cooked and had their own expertise.”

A former buyer for the wine and cheese department at Whole Foods in Cupertino, Sierra started her career as a nanny when she moved from her native Colombia to the United States. “Before I moved to this country I went to cooking school in Colombia, just for fun. When I started working here, I was a nanny in the beginning because my English wasn’t very good, and eventually families would ask me to cook for them.”

Today, Sierra and business partner Rodrigo Rengifo manage Organic In Home Cooking, a personal chef and catering service that provides people with organic cuisine cooked in their own homes. The chefs shop for groceries, bring them to a client’s kitchen, cook the meals, and then package and store them in the refrigerator and clean up the mess. Their customers come home to a spotless kitchen and a week’s worth of healthy, pre-cooked meals.

When Sierra takes on a new client, the first order of business is a consultation about that person’s needs, tastes, and dietary restrictions. “I customize a menu for the client, but we always have a dialog in the beginning about foods they don’t like or can’t eat, and their palate,” she says. She works with many clients who have food sensitivities, allergies, or health issues—conditions that range from high cholesterol to recovery from cancer. “My biggest challenge is to take a recipe and note things a client cannot eat and fix it up.

Sierra and Rengifo also customize their cooking schedule to their clients’ needs, planning to come to their homes to cook a fresh batch of foods as often as once a week or as seldom as once a month. “We create a schedule, so the whole experience is less stressful for the customer. We set the menu and the time I’ll come by, and I visit their home to make a list of what ingredients they have before I buy groceries,” Sierra says.

Cooking and preparation times often vary. “If I’m cooking a menu for two people, it takes between 4 and 5 hours, which includes buying groceries, cooking, and packaging everything for the week, so when my clients come home their kitchens are clean.”

Rengifo, a former professor in Colombia who also manages an eco-friendly house cleaning business in Los Gatos, specializes in cooking soups and seafood. He and Sierra divide the menu according to their strengths.

Sierra strives to ensure that her prepared food is organic and free from toxins. “I don’t package in plastic containers because there can be a problem with hot foods in plastics. It’s not good for you and I always prefer to package in glass,” she says. “I get most of my vegetables from Farm Fresh to You. It’s my way of getting back to basics—getting local ingredients straight from farmers.” An added bonus, she says, is that “eating organic food is a totally different experience than when you taste something cooked from scraps or preserved with chemicals.”

Sierra says that in order for her to be a better chef, world travel is important. “Visiting other countries keeps my mind open to different cuisines. I’ve traveled to Spain, London, Malaysia, Mexico and China—they’ve all been great experiences with food.”

The mission of Organic In Home Cooking is more about nutrition and simple, organic home-cooked meals than a fine dining experience. “When you go to Egypt or Peru and see the farmers selling their goods, you know it’s going straight from them to you. When we travel to Mexico I like eating on the beach and watching the fisherman bring in the fish that they’ll cook up and serve right away. It’s so simple. Simple food with fewer ingredients just tastes better.”

Sierra’s customers have proven to be an invaluable resource—even more valuable than her formal education. “In cooking school you learn the basics. But what I’m finding [is that] this experience of learning from my customers and cooking with my customers is a better way to learn than any experience I had at school. They ask me to make their mom’s recipes or their grandmother’s recipes, and my specialty now is home-cooked meals.”

“I’ve also had customers who request that I cook dishes traditional to their culture,” she adds. “I have an Indian customer who taught me a lot about Indian dishes, and I had a kosher customer who was always in the kitchen watching over me, making sure I did everything correctly, but I learned many kosher recipes that way.”

Dorothy Dzigurski is a current client who has enjoyed Sierra’s cooking for three years. Dzigurski says that Sierra’s food is “wholesome, healthy, and infused with traditional flavors from her country. I particularly love her soups and stews, and her sauces.”

Organic In Home Cooking also offers basic cooking classes and event catering for their clients. To contact Adriana Sierra or Rodrigo Rengifo for more information about their menus and catering services, visit


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