The Naptime Chef: Success While the Kids Sleep

Jessica Ryan

In her former life, pre children, Kelsey Banfield of Fairfield CT, (The Naptime Chef), worked for Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital’s Development office where she helped to create a cookbook to benefit the hospital.  It was titled Park Avenue Potluck was published by Rizzoli in 2007.  Here, Kelsey learned the ins and outs of the publishing industry and all it takes to put a cookbook together.  Little did she know that she would be developing a cookbook of her own just years later...while her kids slept. 

Shortly thereafter Park Avenue Potluck hit the stands, her daughter Daphne was born, and Kelsey made the decision to stay at home. Like many new, exhausted mothers, Kelsey joined a mother’s group. One day while at playgroup, the women sat around comparing what they had eaten for dinner the night before. “It sounded like one of those Lean Cuisine commercials” Kelsey told me, laughing. “There we were, a group of tired mothers, complaining that there was no time to put a meal together.” She continued. “My friends were having leftover pizza, microwave popcorn, or take-out and my husband and I were eating healthy, great, home cooked meals. It was then I first referred to myself as the Naptime Chef!

Once Kelsey learned that the Five O’Clock hour was also called the Witching Hour she knew that she would have to find another time to cook.  She was not about to sacrifice her love of food and passion for cooking; she knew there had to be a way to be there for her daughter when she needed to be and still be able to get a good meal on to the table.

About 6 months after that playgroup get together The Naptime Chef blog was born. Kelsey continues, “I wanted to write about the pleasure of cooking and eating great food, and to show people how all of it can fit into family life, hence my tag line, ‘Fitting Great Food into Family Life.’” 

Since Kelsey’s endeavor into the blogging world she has been discovered by an agent. Her book of the same name is due to be released in the spring of 2012. The book will feature family-friendly recipes for salads, breakfasts, snacks and dinners to name a few. Her book and blog are not about being quick and easy, but about being able to create really good food in a limited period of time. She writes a weekly newsletter than readers can subscribe to through her blog. She is also a regular contributor on Babble. 

Her friendship with the McLaughlins (whom she met while working on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital cookbook) remains strong and her delicious cookies and treats can be found on the counter at J.McLaughlin’s flagship store in Westport  for sampling pleasure while shopping. Kelsey delivers her freshly baked cookies almost daily. She also caters the stores events. And while you are there, you might want to pick up a jar of her sinfully delicious Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce… Or pick up a few. Hurry in while supplies last! 

Park Avenue Potluck is available at your local book store and 100% of the proceeds go directly to Memorial Sloan Kettering.