Contact Us

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gourmet Getaways

I was a lucky host chef for the Tourism Walla Walla event Gourmet Getaways. Eight visitors to our fair city (town, hamlet) stayed two nights at a bed and breakfast of their choice and were participants in a cooking class of Spanish tapas and paella. Basel Cellars provided the yummy wine of which I was happy to sample as well.

Gourmet Getaways ran from mid February to late March in various restaurants. Other host institutions included Brasserie 4, Whitehouse Crawford, WWCC Jay Entrekin, and Someone's in the Kitchen, among others. My class was held in the enology center's kitchen since my commercial kitchen is not the best place in the world to host wine tasting and to sit down and have a meal.
The guests were super fun. A couple of ladies from Puget Sound (one of whom makes a giant seafood paella once a year from her frozen crab stock), and three siblings who grew up in Walla Walla and now live elsewhere in Washington, only to have their mother suck them back with Christmas gifts that require them to return home. And the siblings brought their significant others as well. Eight guests and me. A most relaxed and pleasant bunch. We had a great time.

Chilled mussels in their shell with cucumber mignonette
Arancini, cheese stuffed saffron risotto balls and sun dried tomato dip
Sherry and garlic chicken wings
Paella, chicken, spanich chorizo, mussels, clams, shrimp


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Showcase (raw and uncensored)

Last week we did the Showcase Dinner. I still am a bit confused as to what Showcase is all about. I 'think' it is the coming out party for the WW Fair Court and a skit of some kind. I was more concerned with feeding 260 some guests than trying to figure out what was happening out front. Despite my cluelessness as to the proceedings, a good time seemed to be had by all.

Homestead Catering did this party for the last umpteen years, so the adjustment to our food may have come as a bit of a shock to regular Showcase attendees. Not a jarring shock, more like a quizical "I haven't seen that before" kind of a shock. Needless to say it was the largest full meal/service event we have taken on, and we presented ourselves quite well.

Herbed prime rib, horseradish cream, and au jus
Rosemary chicken and garlic cream
Twice baked stuffed yukon gold potatoes
Orzo pasta salad, sun dried tomato dressing, red peppers, golden garlic, whole leaf parsley, toasted almonds
Whole leaf caesar salad
Blanched asparagus and lemon extra virgin olive oil
La Brea ciabatta and baguettes

Here are the comments from Cory the lady chairperson of the whole event (raw and uncensored). Being our first time with this group I asked her for comments both positive and negative.

"Positive side: Overall the meat was a hit....we have received "that was a great meal" from several and they wanted the name of the caterer....and did not hear one comment on no salad plate...that was good....

"On the negative side--a couple of things: the Caesar salad presentation (they like it cut up) , the cold rice salad and cold asparagus --"some" expected it to be hot.... I repeat..."some".... I loved the rice salad!!! Towards the end of ran out of potatoes (hard to monitor when people over plate)..... "some" ...repeat "SOME"....said the whole meal was not warm.
All & all .... of the 265 attending....approximately 240 completely enjoyed the whole meal.....and raved about it. Like my staff...and myself...we loved it...refreshing and great flavor. Look forward to working with you and your staff again..... Cory"
I wish we would have done two things differently 1) chop the caesar, I love whole leaf caesar salad, but from this point forward they are going to be cut up unless a client specifies otherwise 2) we made just over 300 stuffed potatoes (but they were smaller in size), and when they came out of the oven I thought "uh oh, those look too good" and sure enough we ran out right at the end. We need at least one and a half per person because they really are too good.


Monday, March 2, 2009


A prospective client asked for a couple of references yesterday. This prospective party is really similar to a dinner we did last Fall. So I sent the e-mail address, and in hunting down the address I came across the thank you letter from the Fall dinner. I didn't post it at the time because... well, its a bit... umm, effusive in its praise. But re-reading it made me smile recalling the dinner we did, and why not post an over the top thank you? Not everything in life need be measured and calculated.

Dear John,
OMG! You did a FABULOUS job! Everyone ranted and raved for the rest of the week-end about the food...and the details/essence of every dish....."the tomatoes! the vinegrette! folks that typically aren't fans of polenta LOVED yours! the lamb was perfect...and the food was hot! the ratatouille! the appies!" John, things flowed so nicely for our casual group. I got to really enjoy myself as a host. Bottom took care of me and my guests beautifully! And dear Morgan, so helpful.
I found you via Google and your blog. The images and copy of your blog just spoke to me. I am so grateful for your professionalism, talent and gentle demeanor. I can hardly wait to recommend you to someone from my world here on Bainbridge Is/Seattle area.
Your work is so about "making memories" in peoples lives. What a mantra to guide you through your life. We live in such a wild world these days...what will tomorrow bring? No matter what, our dear friends and my dear husband received a gift of friendship, love and celebration...and you played a big part. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart!

With great fondness,
Debbie and birthday boy, Mike

See a bit over the top, but we gladly take it.


(see, even I can get a bit carried away sometimes)