Dinner Parties

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Life as a personal chef has components of great unpredictability. Mondays through Wednesdays are so predictable that I often feel like I’m starring in a fast-paced personal chef version of the movie, “Groundhog Day:” Drop kids off at school, zip to the grocery store, rush to the client’s house, whip up 3-5 dinners, package everything up, store meals in the fridge/freezer, clean the kitchen, rush back to school to get my youngest, get him settled, prep my family’s dinner, wait for my oldest son to take over watching the youngest, rush back to the grocery store, head to my evening client’s home, prepare dinner, clean up kitchen, and head home.

The unpredictability happens Thursdays through Sundays as my schedule fills up with dinner parties. For the majority of dinner parties, I enter into a brand new kitchen with bags of groceries and all the tools I might need to prepare dinner for my client and his/her guests. What an adventure! Often I request that the client e-mail or text me pictures of the kitchen so I know what space and appliances I’ll have to work with, but very often I’m seeing the kitchen and home for the very first time as I arrive to prepare dinner.

Dinner parties are the time when I get to be most creative with my menus and show the “lavish” side of my business. It is fun to work with the client and create a menu specifically for his/her event, highlighting the client’s or guest’s favorite ingredients. I enjoy interacting with my clients and their guests as dinner is prepared and served.

This past Saturday I was given complete freedom in planning and preparing a five-course seafood dinner for 12 guests. Sometimes having SO much freedom is overwhelming. Menu ideas ran through my head for a week….oh, the possibilities! I thought I’d share the dinner with you. (Especially since a reminder from my blog told me I hadn’t posted anything in 110 days!!!)

Part of my adventure begins with seeing the table, which sets the mood for the dinner party.


First course: Potato Pancake, Scallop, Salmon Caviar, Champagne Beurre Blanc

Second Course: Watercress, Radish, Avocado, Asparagus, Quail Egg, Dill Cream and Dill Vinaigrette

Third Course: Red Pepper and Lobster Bisque

Fourth Course: Chilean Sea Bass, Sweet Potato Rounds, Wilted Garlic Spinach and Red Kale, Saffron Cream Sauce

Dessert: Mocha Chocolate Cake, Mocha Chocolate Mousse, Mocha Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, Pinot Noir Soaked Cherries (Seconds were requested and granted!)

For my clients, I imagine that it is wonderful to have time to create beautiful tablescapes and have time to relax before their dinner party. One day I’ll hire a chef to come into my home and prepare dinner for me and my guests. Until then, I’ll continue on my adventures as a personal chef, enjoying all the predictable and unpredictable moments.