We believe that chefs have a responsibility to cook food that is supportive and nourishing to our bodies.
Vita (pronounced VEE-TA) means life force in Latin.
This life force is the energy that runs through you and through me, and this is the life force behind Vita Kitchen, and what makes our company thrive.
Vita Kitchen is born out of the idea that chefs have a responsibility to not only cook delicious food, but to cook food that is supportive and nourishing to our bodies. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all diets. We believe that our bodies each have different nutritional needs, and when we meet those individual needs we feel at our best.
At Vita Kitchen we know that modern life is busy, and most of us are functioning on information and decision overload. We support our clients, by taking some of their to-dos off their list. We free up time so our clients can enjoy a stress-free meal with their family. We give people peace of mind that their food choices are taken care of, and that the food they eat from us will indeed nourish, and strengthen, their bodies.
At Vita Kitchen we believe in making things with our hands. We believe in taking breaks from our phones. We believe in sharing a meal around a table as family. We believe in good food, creativity, beauty, and connection. We believe every person has incredible potential within them, and when we meet our nutritional needs we can help to unlock this potential.
The origins of our story start in New York City, and take root in Oakland, CA. After almost a decade working in the food industry Elyse was burnt out — both from over-working and from many years of heavy drinking and unhealthy eating — an unfortunate norm in the industry. Cooking food for others was always where her heart was, but she felt like she could no longer do the unhealthy lifestyle that seemed to come along with it.
Feeling like she needed a big change she moved back home to the San Francisco Bay Area and started taking a class online from Cornell in nutrition. She began to think about food, and the role of the chef, in different terms. She began to see that chefs have a responsibility in our modern times to make food that helps to heal people’s bodies, rather than further harm them.
Elyse looked at her own diet and began to make some big changes. She began to focus on what she learned were the pillars traditional human diet — a plant-forward diet, responsibly raised proteins that are rich in omega-3s, healing bone and mineral broths, and fermented foods. After eating this way consistently she started to see an increase in energy, mental clarity and overall resiliency and stamina.
With Vita Kitchen, Elyse wanted to create a company that supports both its clients as well as the chefs and cooks that work with us. From having lived some of the harsh realities in the food industry, she wanted to see if she could create a different model. At Vita Kitchen we aim to create a more inclusive, healthy and sustainable work environment, where our employee’s health is valued as much as our client’s.
Chef Elyse Bekins
Elyse’s culinary journey started as a young teenager when she received a Le Cordon Bleu dessert book — a gift from her aunt — and started cooking her way through it. Throughout her teens she could often be found playing around in the kitchen, but also had a natural affinity towards her mom’s garden and nature. She went on to earn a degree in Environmental Studies from UCSB, and followed her curiosity working and volunteering on several organic farms across the world, including a goat dairy in Israel.
She received her culinary degree from NECI (New England Culinary Institute) in 2011, and honed her skills as a line cook at Riverpark, a Tom Colicchio restaurant in NYC. Following Riverpark she completed a cheese affinage internship with Murray’s Cheese, and went on to help open and manage their restaurant in Greenwich village.
Leaving restaurant life, Elyse started her own private chef and catering company in 2013, providing boutique private chef services for numerous households and companies throughout NYC and the Hamptons. Her passion for crafting seasonal menus, fine attention to detail, and discerning palate served her well in this business and her client list continued to grow. Never satisfied to simply stay put, her passion for growth and learning led her to dive more into health and nutrition. In 2016 she earned a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell, and began to take on more clients with specific health needs.
In 2017 Elyse decided to leave NYC and moved back home to the San Francisco Bay Area, to help take care of her grandmother. She wanted to combine her experience working as a private chef with her passion for health and nutrition so she started Vita Kitchen, a highly personalized meal delivery service, bringing fresh, chef-curated meals into households throughout the Bay Area. She enjoys living close to her family, reading and writing poetry, watching old reruns of The Office, and going for hikes in the East Bay hills.
“My husband and I still remember with delight the terrific meal Elyse prepared for us and our guests for a special occasion and the pleasure of having her in our home. Her culinary talents are matched only by her solicitous manner and her flexibility and creativity in putting together the perfect and perfectly balanced meal. Our dinner was the most enjoyable dining experience I’ve had in my – or anyone else’s – home. ”