I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember, professionally since I was 17. I love everything about food, and spent my life pursuing it. I was an apprentice pastry chef in Innsbruck Austria before I even went to cooking school. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America I became a full fledged Pastry Chef for a high end country club, and love it as I did there was so much more to be done, which eventually led me to catering. My catering company is just what I want it to be; I get to do something different everyday either in the kitchen or helping a bride design her ideal wedding or just researching new recipes out of my own imagination.
If you would like more details about my career, please the About page on my website www.SonomaCaterers.com.
Thanksgiving has passed and we are all starting to look to Christmas for that next delish dish we'll prepare. Plus, I'm starting to get the itch to write new menus for next year.
I can't rewrite the entire menu every year (I'd like to but the staff would string me up, and it's a long process as is). I start with new ideas I've been filling away, add things that worked really well, and other improvements from this years experience. It's a long list, from hors d’oeuvres (my favorites) to entrees and side dishes; so many things come to mind. I love this, the creativity is revitalizing.
I start with a list of all kinds – sauces, cooking styles, crackers, shells. Then I look at the old menu and removed items that are dated or not top sellers. Take the list and put together items that are needed for the menu. Do I need more vegetarian, something with beef? Is it more of a casual “bar” food item or an upscale canapé? ...
Then comes the fun part, by the first of January I want to be actually testing the items and tasting (the staff loves this aspect). Any day we can have 3 to 5 items to judge. Do they hold up well, is there enough flavor, how many steps to put together, and finally, is it cost effective?
From there we usually hold a staff “meeting” to bring all the Wait Staff in on all of the new items.
Today was Mac n Cheese day, a great way to start. (Hubby is upset, he was busy and missed it.)