By Michael Bodley
The Baltimore Sun.
When Shirlé Hale-Koslowski tells people what she does for a living, she is often greeted with a blank stare.
She is the owner and sole employee of Four Corners Cuisine, a Baltimore-based private chef service Hale-Koslowski operates out of the kitchens of her 10 clients.
People have heard of personal chefs for the rich and famous, she says, but she caters to the middle class, not the multimillionaire.
Each meal — groceries and labor included — averages $10 to $12 and includes an entree and a side.
The going has been slow since she sold a similar business in North Carolina and came to Baltimore in 2011.
Clients are mostly gained by word of mouth, and it’s been a challenge for Hale-Koslowski to make ends meet, but her passion for cooking hasn’t faded.
When she’s lamenting the state of the American diet or sharing tips and tricks she’s picked up over more than three decades in and out of kitchens, Hale-Koslowski’s pace quickens as she slices and dices.
She insists fresh, organic food prepared with care holds the key to health and happiness.
Away from the stove, Hale-Koslowski can be found jamming with her latest band, Small Apartments.
The chef and musician, who’s been in 14 bands throughout her life, plays bass and sings alongside her husband, David.
The project is her latest musical ambition, a few bands removed from her 1990s stint with “Baltimore’s first riot-girl band,” Women of Destruction.
Inside the kitchen of a client, Hale-Koslowski recently shared her thoughts on all that is food-related, in between putting the finishing touches on a menu that included gourmet bison burgers and blackened tilapia.
How did you get your start in the cooking world?
I have cooked ever since I was a kid with my mom. My mom was a pretty avid Southern cook, and she just always had me in the kitchen helping and was really, really into it. I just loved it.