40th Birthday Dinner Celebration

At the beginning of May I received an e-mail from a potential client informing me that she’d never hired a personal chef before and was curious about hiring one to celebrate her husband’s 40th birthday with a few of their friends. Of the dates she listed as possibilities, I was only available on one date. I gave her an estimate of pricing based on past dinner parties of her size, and sent her my extremely comprehensive list of dinner party options. She hired me for the job. (I love those e-mails!)

Unfortunately, just as we were beginning the menu planning process, my dad had an accident. A tree he was trimming fell and a branch hit him across the head. He was airlifted to Fort Sam Houston to the trauma ICU at SAMMC. I e-mailed my client and informed her that I needed a few days to finish planning the menu with her, and recommended that she go onto my Facebook business page and peruse my photo gallery and past menus in the meantime.  She was so understanding, for which I am extremely thankful.

My dad made a miraculously quick recovery and I was able to again give attention to my business and clients. We confirmed a menu and I sent her information about what to expect.

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40th Birthday Party Dinner Party

My assistant (who also happens to be my sister) and I arrived at their house with groceries and supplies and quickly got to work. We had the opportunity to chat with our hostess and the guest of honor as we took over their kitchen. I always feel so many emotions as I park the car in front of a new house and walk up to the front door, entering into a new adventure. In those moments, I am reminded how much I enjoy my business. The hostess told me that none of their guests have ever had a personal chef into their homes either. This was going to be a new experience for everyone! (No pressure….)

The “birthday boy” was our very happy taste-tester as we finished assembling appetizers. With his approval, appetizers were set out minutes before the doorbell rang.

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Boursin and Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Artichoke Dip in Phyllos Cups Steak Canapes on Garlic Toasts with Roquefort Cream and Caramelized Pears & Onions

Artichoke Dip in Phyllo Cups
Steak Canapes on Garlic Toasts with Roquefort Cream and Caramelized Pears & Onions

As guests enjoyed their Champagne Cocktails and appetizers, we started preparing dinner. The hostess had indicated that she would like appetizers & cocktails for an hour. At 6:30 on the dot salads were placed on the table and guests were invited to the dining room table.

Spinach Salad with Candied Chili Pecans, Mandarin Oranges, Crisp Bacon, and Warm Bacon-Red Wine Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Candied Chili Pecans, Mandarin Oranges, Crisp Bacon, and Warm Bacon-Red Wine Vinaigrette

The dinner entree was originally created for a romantic Valentine’s dinner I had cheffed in 2013.

Halibut with Saffron Beurre Blanc atop Truffled Mashed Potatoes, with Garlicky-Lemon Spinach stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash

Halibut with Saffron Beurre Blanc atop Truffled Mashed Potatoes, with Garlicky-Lemon Spinach stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash

I know that dessert, being the last course served, is the most memorable portion of the meal. I had made the recommendation of a Mocha Chocolate Cake with Pinot Noir soaked Cherries. However, my clients indicated that the Individual Cappuccino Cheesecakes jumped out and piqued their palate interest. What a fantastic choice!

Individual Cappuccino Cheesecakes with Chocolate Espresso Crust, Homemade Rum Caramel Sauce and Australian Pink Finishing Salt

Individual Cappuccino Cheesecakes with Chocolate Espresso Crust, Homemade Rum Caramel Sauce and Australian Pink Finishing Salt

I love it when plates return to the kitchen looking like they’ve been licked clean. There wasn’t a speck of food on the dessert plates returning to the kitchen. This recipe yields 12 cheesecakes, so we packed up the remaining 4 cheesecakes in the refrigerator for our hosts to enjoy later. When I informed my client of this, she was quite happy.

French press coffee was served. (I really want a french press….) Plates and silverware were washed and stacked in neat piles. The kitchen was cleaned. And then we said our good-byes to a little round of applause. (How awesome is that?) I hope that these 8 guests thoroughly enjoyed their first Personal Chef Private Dining experience, and that it won’t be their last!