Moms to See in the 843: Valerie Skinner, Food Blogger & Personal Chef

Valerie Skinner, personal chef & food blogger
Valerie Skinner (with baby James!: Personal Chef & Food Blogger. Photo by LeeAnn Neumann, @chucktownart.

Hey, CHS mamas! I am super excited to introduce you to my friend (and source of daily food inspiration), Valerie Skinner! Valerie is a local personal chef and food blogger (Thyme and Joy). I might be biased (towards wings that is), but my absolute favorite recipe by Thyme & Joy happens to be Instant Pot Crispy Buffalo Wings — just in time for your Super Bowl parties!

Valerie is a “new” mom to sweet baby James. She constantly leaves me in awe of her supreme juggling abilities between her personal chef business, her successful food blog, and #momlife. Did I mention she is insanely smart and insightful? Get your notepad out because we all need to eat, we all need to grocery shop, and Val spills the beans on some grocery shopping tips for us!

Tell us all about you! What brought you (and Thyme and Joy) to Charleston?

After attending a holistic culinary school in NYC, I decided to move to Hawaii on a whim with no job and no friends. I worked many jobs in the health food industry and fell in love with Hawaii. I also fell in love with my now-husband who was stationed on Pearl Harbor on an active submarine. Once his time was up in Hawaii, we got orders to Charleston. When I got here, I was frustrated and lost because I had to start all over again. I decided to get a job at Whole Foods in Mount Pleasant while I started my personal chef business, Thyme & Joy! and slowly worked myself out of my Whole Foods job as I obtained more clients. During this time, I also started a business Instagram for my chef business. Whenever I would post the food I was making for clients, people would ask me for the recipe, so I began putting them on my website. Three years later, my food blog is now an income source for me as well!

What exactly does a personal chef do?!

A personal chef is someone that gives you 10 hours of your life back each week, really! I talk with my clients about their food preferences, and each week I come up with a menu based on them. On their cook date, I will grocery shop for them, cook the meals in their kitchen, package them, clean up, and have meals ready to eat for lunches and dinners that are customized completely to them every week!

Most of us moms are struggling to just get the PB&J slapped together for school lunch. How do you make sense of “healthy” in a diet-crazed culture?

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to see first hand what health means to different people. Some of my clients like Whole30 meals (I’m a Whole30 Approved Chef), some are vegan or vegetarian, and for some “healthy” means being able to sit down and eat a meal with their family that isn’t in the Chick-Fil-a drive-through. These days there are many healthy pre-made options for kids and families and guaranteed options for those who hire a personal chef.


TELL US YOUR SECRETS! As a personal chef, you’re grocery shopping around Charleston for clients all the time. Do you have any grocery shopping tips for moms on a budget?

I am at the grocery store multiple times a week for myself and for clients! Here’s what I found in Charleston:

  • Wholesale clubs will have better prices on better-for-you meats, so it’s worth it to have a membership to one.
  • Publix BOGO gets me EVERY time. I don’t see many grocery stores that do this!
  • Whether you’re a Walmart lover or hater, they have been stepping up their game and carrying more healthy brands.
  • LIDL in Goose Creek is a budget-friendly foodie’s dream! It’s similar to Aldi, but so much better in my opinion and totally worth the drive.
Motherhood often involves finding a balance between a rock and a hard place. We can all use tips on balancing day-to-day activities. How are you finding balance with blogging, work, and #momlife with a little babe at home? 

Truthfully, it’s HARD, and I’ll be honest and say that balance in this arena doesn’t really exist! Being a strong and independent career woman for so long made motherhood completely rock my world in good ways and bad ways. I’ve had to learn to ask for and accept help, and I’ve also had to invest in a team to help out which includes a part-time babysitter and a house cleaner. You really have to think deep down about what is best for your family and make it work if you want it all, and that will include getting out of your comfort zone on the regular. I’m still trying to figure it out, but I believe everything is “figureoutable!”

As a food (and now mom) blogger, what are some of the most common questions you get from other moms on the web?
  • How do you start a blog that makes money? Blogging is a real job despite what it may look like. I spent three years of my life working hard on it with very, very little monetary reward and even now it has its ebbs and flows. Blogging taught me to stay the course, pivot when I needed to, and learn skills I never would have dreamed of learning. Just like anything else worth doing, it takes time, effort, and patience even when nobody is looking at your content.
  • How do you start a personal chef business? I hope to answer this with a full online course and coaching within the next year!
  • How are you enjoying new motherhood? When people say everything changes, they weren’t kidding! The first couple of months were incredibly challenging, and anyone that says it’s blissful through and through is lying, in my opinion. I think it’s important to know that people only portray the blissful moments on social media which can make some feel like there is something wrong with them or the way they are doing things. That’s simply not true! This is a hard gig peppered with amazing moments that keep you going in the hardest of times. Every day I enjoy it more as me and my little guy grow up together, and I am so grateful to have this experience.

Thanks for sharing with us, Valerie!

Check out some of our other Moms to See in the 843!

Moms to See in the 843: Laura Allen and a Guide to Healthy Eating
Moms to See in the 843: Kate Camp & BabyQuip
Budget-Friendly Style Tips From A Local Fashion Blogger & Mom
Moms to See in the 843: G.M. Whitley
Moms to See in the 843: Lindsey Henderson & Activism with Kids
Moms to See in the 843: Gervase Kolmos
Moms to See in the 843: ABC News 4 Meteorologist, Emily Gracey
Moms to See in the 843: Meghan Rowe & White Leaf Provisions
Moms to See in the 843: Biz Foxworth & Brown Fox Coffee Co.
Moms to See in the 843: Dianne Miley, Author & Founder of SOUL
Moms to See in the 843: Renee Smith, Small Boutique Owner