It’s a familiar scene.

Work went into overtime, you haven’t seen your children since 7 a.m., you and your spouse haven’t talked all day, and there is nothing in the refrigerator for dinner.

Two neighborhood chefs want to save the day.

Leland Patin and Cindy Walkup work for Traveling Light, an in-home chef service. For $75 a week and the price of groceries, Walkup, Patin, or one of the other Traveling Light chefs will come to your home and prepare five lowfat entrees.

The service appeals to dual income families for its convenience, Patin says. In addition to the meals, Patin and Walkup also give families an opportunity to return to the dinner table without the stress of preparing dinner.

“For so many years, the family was split up,” Patin says. “You can’t really talk to the kids in a restaurant.”

Once a week, Traveling Light chefs consult their clients and select entrees from an extensive list that includes black bean enchiladas, grilled vegetables, and sweet potato and squash pie. The chefs will buy the groceries for an additional $15.

The meals are prepared in Pyrex dishes once a week in the client’s home. Then the food is wrapped in foil and placed in the refrigerator with a post-it note explaining heating instructions.

The client prepares side dishes and heats-up the entrée. For an additional charge, there is a larger meal package with side dishes included.

Walkup says she had to learn how to make low-fat meals taste good to work for Traveling Light. She was one of the first chefs the company hired about three years ago. She answered an ad on a bulletin board at El Centro, where she was studying to be a chef.

While growing up in our neighborhood, she cooked whenever she could. When she was grown, her friends called her to cook for special functions.

“I just love food,” Walkup says.

She finally decided to use her culinary talents to make some money. She cooks for 10 clients and spends about two hours at each home.

The job is ideal for Walkup and her husband, who works as a chauffeur. She drops her children at school on the way to her first client’s home and is done early enough to pick them up in the afternoon.

“It’s exciting how successful it is,” Walkup says. “It’s a timely business.”

Patin, also a neighborhood resident, met Walkup in a neighborhood Laundromat, where she told him about Traveling Light. He has worked for the company about nine months, cooking for 12 clients weekly.

He started cooking in the Navy, he says, because he didn’t enjoy Navy food. After a few years working in computer sales following the Navy, Patin decided to become a chef. He studied at El Centro and interned at some of Dallas’ most prestigious restaurants.

But he says none of them were as fun as Traveling Light. His latest projects include trying to make low-fat desserts that taste good, which he accomplished with his Chocolate Espresso cake.

“There’s more room for creativity,” Patin says. “We put a lot of effort into it.”

For information about Traveling Light, call 521-4231.