Made In Chicago: Girl And The Kitchen

Lisa Fielding
January 20, 2020 - 8:13 am
Mila Furman, Girl and the Kitchen

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- When Mila Furman thinks about food, she thinks about family.

"My earliest memories as a kid are tied to food," she recalled. "My story really started with food." 

Born in the former Soviet Union, she immigrated to the United States in 1989 after living in Vienna and Italy. When she looks back, cooking was most likely her destiny.

Mila Furman and her mother
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

"My maternal grandmother lived with us, so my mother and grandmother were always in the kitchen. I kinda grew up with this generational cooking situation. It always inspired me. I used to come home from school and watch the Food Network with my mom," she laughed.

Her mother died when she was 20, a sign she said that pushed her to culinary school and eventually her own business.

"That was the catapult in putting me into culinary school. My mom and I always talked about going into business together. My dad told me that on her death bed, my mother said 'Mila needs to go to culinary school.'"

Girl and the Kitchen was born in 2017.

"I did a lot of event planning before, but then realized I wanted something of my own. It started with a blog, and I shared my mom's stories through recipes. I started doing some catering gigs on the weekends. Then people started asking me to private chef," she said.

In a short two years, she's hired eight chefs and has amassed more than 35 clients.

"The growth has been stupendous," she said.

Mila Furman, Girl and the Kitchen
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Furman said more and more busy families and professionals want to eat healthier, but don't know how. That's where she and her staff comes in.

"We do private cheffing as well as boutique catering. People know what they want, but they don't know how to do it," she said.

She and her staff prepare custom meals that adapt to any potential allergies or diet.

"We cook at our clients' homes. I have some plant-based people, some vegans, some peanut allergies, but the majority are low carb. That's become our specialty. Our client's are all getting the same experience even though it's different cooking styles and different people."

Mila Furman, Girl and the Kitchen
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Girl and the Kitchen is not only a woman-owned business, but it employs only women, which Furman said also makes her unique.

"I only hire women. I want to give them the opportunity that I don't think exists in the hospitality and food world. I wanted to create a different feel and working with women is super empowering to them and to me," she said.

Furman said though her business is still young,  she's ready to expand beyond the Chicagoland area.

"We go from Lake Forest to the West Loop, to Naperville and western suburbs. We charge by the hour and we go get the food for you. There's no up-charge for the food," and she insists personal chefs aren't just for the rich.

"I blog about healthy recipes, how you can prepare them on your own, but consider what you spend on groceries for a week, a month? Likely hundreds of dollars. Our services include the food and the meal prep," Furman said.

Girl and the Kitchen
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

She said Girl and the Kitchen is about sharing her love for food, sharing her family recipes, and helping people live their best, most healthy lives.

"I don't believe we are just providing food, I think because we educate our clients and our chefs about what they're eating, it takes it up a notch. I get my information from doctors, real people who've been in the war against bad nutrition. Propaganda has made us obese and diabetic. My goal is to not only cook for people, but educate people on what a whole food, healthy diet can do for you," Furman said.

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