JC Cooks, a San Antonio Catering Company and Personal Chef Service. JC Cooks Owner and Chef, Joyce Cunha, is passionate about cooking healthy, mouthwatering dishes for on-the-go, time-strapped people. Joyce brings over 20 years of professional food service experience to the table, and takes pride in preparing and delivering culinary delights that range the gamut from down-home family favorites to international gourmet cuisine. Plus, she is also a pastry chef who enjoys baking her own handmade pies, cakes and holiday cookies. Over the years, Chef Cunha, along with her staff of on-call servers, has served meals to thousands of people at their most precious life celebrations. She and her team cater functions both large and small, including everyday meals, intimate family dinners, Thanksgiving get-togethers, funerals and wakes, private and exclusive events, corporate holiday parties, customer promotion and appreciation events, weddings, birthdays, and many other social events and venues.
A Focus on Health and Wellbeing. One of our chef’s specialties is food preparation for people with particular dietary needs. She and her staff deliver weekly or biweekly meals to clients who require special menus due to critical food allergies, diabetes, heart disease, weight loss and weight management, and vegan lifestyles. For example, Chef Cunha prepares meals based on Weight Watchers’ Core Program Menus and other preferred low-carbohydrate, vegan, sugar-free, or low-fat menus as desired by our clients. She also can work with clients’ dieticians or doctors’ offices to package whatever meals they recommend to help attain health goals. All meals are prepared carefully and consciously. Chef uses the finest ingredients, herbs, spices, and oils and she prefers to shop at farmers’ markets and use locally grown produce as well as organic meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products whenever it is preferred by the client or cost-effective to do so. Our clients’ health and wellbeing are of the highest priority to us.
Favorite Specialties and Dishes “Simple and rustic food preparations attract me," Chef Cunha says. "In the autumn I turn my attention to slow cooked dishes such as Beef Stew, Turkey Chili with Hominy, Chicken Cacciatore, Tamale Pie topped with Sharp Cheddar, Corn Bread with fresh Blueberries, Baked Squash filled with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and a pat of Butter. For dessert, apple pie with crumb crust topping is always pleasing. These favorites remind me of my mother and her wonderful rustic meals that I looked forward to as a child.”
In spring and summer, Chef Cunha focuses on marinating and grilling with recipes such as Rosemary, Lemon and Olive Oil marinated, grilled lamb chops or chicken thighs. She prepares fresh salads that are as beautiful to look at as they are wonderful to taste. And she prepares incredible soups and appetizers and often experiments with global menus.
During the holidays, her cooking leans toward the traditional tastes of Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, and Pumpkin Pie. She makes a variety of terrific stuffing recipes: one is a medley of chestnuts, sausage, celery, and onion; and another is a blend of Italian sausage, pine nuts, olives, and onion. “For Christmas,” Chef Cunha says, “I love to turn out a perfectly cooked Prime Rib or Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin with all of the fixings: Mashed Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes, and Baby Green Beans with Toasted Almonds or Chestnuts sautéed with Brussels Sprouts.” She also makes a Buche Noel Cake, which is a traditional sponge cake rolled and stuffed with Grand Marnier-infused Whipped Cream, fruits such as raspberries and covered with a decadent orange-scented chocolate ganache.
Background and Training Chef Cunha is a creative and innovative cook who excels at planning tantalizing meals, preparing mouthwatering dishes from the finest and freshest ingredients available, and presenting catered affairs that are a celebration for the senses. She got her start in 1990, when she met the late Sharon Shipley who founded, owned and operated Mon Cheri Catering and Cooking School in Sunnyvale, California. Shipley was in the business for 30 years and trained in France at Cordon Bleu. Right before her death in 2005, Shipley was honored with the “International Cook Book of the Year” Award for her book, “Cooking with Lavender,” published in 2004 by Running Press Book Publishers. Cunha apprenticed with Shipley for many years by taking her classes and helping around the business. It was Shipley who encouraged Cunha to pursue a career as a chef and caterer.
Today, Cunha brings over 20 years of professional culinary experience to JC Cooks. She has worked with startup restaurants that require a discerning eye for presentation, top-notch customer service, consistent food quality, and performance under pressure. She also has taught community cooking classes for the past four years in Elk Grove, California, at Wackford Community Center.
But really, Joyce Cunha has been training for this all of her life. She first learned to cook by watching her mother and grandmother whip up the family specialties. For her, cooking just comes naturally. In fact, by the time she was 8 years old she was amazing family and friends with her ability to prepare full family meals for as many as 10 people. And she has been delighting discerning palates ever since.