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Author Archive for Happy Cuisiniere Personal Chef

suggested course

Suggested course options for your group

Up to 8 people:

1-2 Appetizers

Soup and/or salad

Entree + any vegetarian option as needed

Dessert

8-12 people

2-3 Appetizers

Soup and Salad

Entree + any vegetarian option as needed

Dessert

12-20 people

2-3 Appetizers

Soup and Salad or 2 Salads

2 Entrees

2 Desserts

20 +

Same as 12-20 group but with Family style/buffet options and extra sides

 

Thanksgiving with families

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Meghann and her fam enjoying a wonderful day together

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A thank you card signed by Miss Cheri’s family : )

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Beautiful & Bright table setting

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A scratch made Thanksgiving spread

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A golden Thomas Keller turkey

I had the great pleasure of cooking for two Turkey days this year. We realized it doesn’t matter if its a day early, it still feels like Thanksgiving when turkey aromas are in the air and the family is together. This was the first time in 40 years Cheri did not do the cooking, which made for a little bit of pressure for me : ) But I saw that this paid off when she spent the whole day without a care and spending precious time with her family. Special request mac and cheese was on the menu and the pumpkin creme brulee was a big hit! The granddaughters made me a card in which everyone signed, it is hanging on my calendar board in my office : ) . I felt right at home with Meghann’s family with half the family hitting the slopes and the other half feeling cozy and playing dominoes. I live far away from my family so when Meghann invited me to sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving with her family I was very Thankful : ) ! I have to admit , it was one of the best in years given the past 4 years thanksgiving has been spent grabbing a bite when I could while slaving away in a restaurant kitchen. Yeah, this was way better 🙂

Beautiful weddings in Breckenridge

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Ingredients for a special wedding dinner

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Picture with beautiful Bride and Groom Ana and Adam

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The lovely Amber and Rocco’s reception spread complete with passed appetizers

 

A lot of smarties opt to come up to Breck and exchange vows in one of the many beautiful mansions located here. While I don’t have pictures of all of them, I was very fortunate to cook for three weddings and one wedding themed murder mystery. Nothing is better than having a private reception beautiful castle-like house filled with loving family members and friends. Both groups had gorgeous pictures taken by professional photographers in the area. Amber’s wedding took place in front of a massive fireplace and the groom’s party donned their full – dressed military uniforms, everyone was so regal! Ana descended a beautiful corkscrew staircase donned with candles and after a beautiful ceremony, the dance party commenced! Another couple rented  the cool ultra modern house and reenacted their vows for those that were not able to make it to the original wedding, but equally touching as the first I imagine. I wanted to thank all of you for allowing me to witness these very special landmarks in your lives, and I look forward to being a part of many more <3.

An easier way to get to my website!

I got a hold of a few more URLs. I know the Happy Cuisiniere is a cute name, but I realize it can be hard to type in and remember! From now on here are two simplified versions that will take you to my website!

www.breckchef.com

www.personalchefbreckenridge.com

How do I make my menus? Links to favorite food sites.

I love seasonal menus. It just doesn’t feel right to make summer food in the winter. In the winter we need cozy, in the summer we need cool and fresh- that’s how I believe food should be. When I’m making a new menu, I take ideas from 3 main areas: I look and see what my favorite restaurants are putting on their menus, I take a few of my previous menu dishes and update them, and I check out my favorite websites for recipes. I usually don’t take the recipes word for word but I look at the ingredients and I play around with things but they are always a good starting point : ). Here’s a list of my website go-to’s (in no particular order):

http://www.cookinglight.com/ – I fatten these recipes up

http://www.chowhound.com/

http://www.yummly.com/

http://www.epicurious.com/

https://food52.com/

 

Enjoy ! : )

 

What is my favorite thing/dish to cook?

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These pancakes aren’t from a box!

This is probably the most asked question I get as a personal chef, and I usually end up giving a not so great answer. This is probably due to the fact I’m not really picky about what I am making. I think after working on the line in a restaurant making the same 8 or so dishes all day every day, I’m pretty happy with whatever I am making because now I can make a variety of things. That’s not to say I didn’t like making the same things- I actually did enjoy the repetition because I knew how to make the dishes perfect with my eyes closed. As chefs, we rely on muscle memory a lot, that’s how we are able to absorb everything that is given to us verbally for orders, so our mind focuses on remembering what we need to make and our arms just take care of the work. Funny stuff.

Anyhow, I think I tend to give a different answer every time someones asks me what I like to cook because saying “I like to cook everything” doesn’t seem to be the answer people look for : ) One time when I asked the asker what she liked to cook, she said “new things.” Very good answer, but new things can be scary as well especially if you aren’t the only one eating it. I’d say I like cooking new things but by using techniques I am already used to- that kind of gives me comfort knowing that I can make it and it will turn out right because I’ve somehow done a version of it before. When I cook though, it must must be from scratch. I will never take a salad dressing, sauce, or salsa from a bottle! There’s just something about fresh flavors that make it unique, and you feel better about eating it. Plus, I know most of my clients watch me cook, or at least pop in and out of the kitchen, and they enjoy seeing the whole process from start to finish. Its magic.

Never know what I’ll get myself into

While working on the line in restaurants was exciting and challenging, being a personal chef in Breckenridge has taken exciting to another level. While I could goof off with the guys, I never got to actually interact with customers being behind the scenes, and that is one of the reasons to become a personal chef- I get to see and meet the people I am feeding! It is so fun number one to see all the amazing houses and kitchens I get to cook in, these are some fancy places. But really, getting to observe how everyone interacts with each other and sometimes getting to be in the middle of all the action is a real treat! Since leaving my morning job, I haven’t needed to worry about my schedule as much and I have time for some extra opportunities that come up when cooking. This happened when I was cooking for Michelle and a group of long term friends. I was in the kitchen getting all the groceries unpacked when she told me BTW I’m actually cooking for a murder mystery dinner. How fun! Because they were short a few people I even got to play a part. So far this summer I’ve had the amazing opportunity to see two different couples exchange vows while I watch from the kitchen. Now my tally is officially at two weddings and a murder mystery wedding! Ha! Excited to see what else is in store this year : )

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Leftovers revamped

Not too long ago I cooked for an awesome group of guys from Philly – about 20 or them that have known each other for decades. Not many groups of friends can pull that off but they came together in Breck for a bachelor’s party weekend. My job was to come in and prep , because the geniuses they are, they wanted to be the grillmasters and enjoy the amazing views on the house’s deck. First night was a brats and burger night, with bison, elk, and regular beef patties, then they had a fajita night the second complete with elotes and all the fixins. But another reason I wanted to highlight them is they made me jealous with the monster nachos they constructed with the leftovers. YUM

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Cooking for the experts

Cooking for a fellow expert can be a little nerve wrecking sometimes but in most cases I’m happy to be in the company of someone that can talk the kitchen talk. A few months ago I had the opportunity to do so when Kevin and his wife, the owners of Amelia farm in Beaumont TX allowed me to cook for them in their spacious Breckenridge home. Crazy enough, he has recently hired someone I used to work with at Haven in Houston , Allen Duhon. Small world and very talented people! Here are a few pictures of us and our appreciation for great food in its purest form. He also sent me home with some amazing bacon from his farm http://ameliafarmandmarket.com/.

 

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It’s Friday-night life in Breck. What to do, from a local.

So this article will probably be a little biased but it’s because I am hoping the kinda places I like to go to might just be the type you like to go to :).

On the contrary, I also have a list of places I definitely do not recommend going to and although I’d looooove to tell everyone how much I dislike these places, that would be in bad taste. Although if you email me I will gladly share my opinions with you. 🙂

Let’s start with a night out…..

Breckenridge is awesome. It’s historic, it’s convenient and when you live here and get to know it, it is eventful, exciting and comfortable at the same time. This place is very accepting of people and behavior. Don’t be surprised if the bartender takes a poll from other patrons on whether you should be allowed one more drink, or if you look down and see there are four legged friends running around making friends with everyone. I Love Breck.

So ideally you’d start by taking the bus, because driving on a night out is a hassle and dangerous and all the buses are free, we have Uber now too.

It’s always good to start at Ollie’s. It always has a crowd, friendly atmosphere and the bartenders are attentive. It has sports and great music. So yes. Being downstairs might make it more fun too.

Oh.. Btw, we have two happy hours each day here. Apres Ski is usually 3-5 and probably caters to those getting off the mountain. Then we have another happy hour which is from 9pm on. Which brings me to plan B:

If it is past 9, try the swanky Blue River Bistro for their 2 for 1 martinis and apps, or Ember for imaginative drinks and some pretty funny bar conversations. The drinks are strong so you might want to call it a night afterwards if you plan on enjoying the mountain the next day. A nice cold night aired walk to Brooklyns for pool afterwards is fun 🙂 There is also my favorite local place right now for games and being able to hear the person you next to you talk and that is the ___ ___ ___ ___. Its a local gem so I’m afraid to give the name away lest it get too crowded, if you really wanna know ask me 🙂

So back to plan A, you went to Ollie’s and had delicious beer or cocktails and now you want some music! If you want live music head to Motherloaded, which has fun local bands. Don’t venture to the second bar in the back though, the locals are thirsty, burnt out from work and may eat you alive.

But really, I recommend Napper Tandy’s which is right across the way and is the second floor of Salt Creek restaurant. If you are reallly lucky the 6 Million Dollar Band (80’s music) will be playing and they are unbelievable. Woahh

If want a club like atmosphere, in the oldest bar in the west, head to Gold Pan and a live DJ. Their drinks are a little more expensive than other places but I guess you can say you partied in a really old bar with a slanty floor ( I think they fixed it?). And play the ring game while you are there.

For the club clubs, we actually have those, you’d head to the other side of Main Street and check out Cecilia’s and Liquid. CeCe’s as we call it is 3 floors of club but it gets really hot in there and is dark. Liquid is brighter and not stuffy, the music is usually pretty great too.

Hopefully by now you will be partied out and ready to call it a night. You might be hungry, and the late night joints are in the same area. Mexican food, loaded hot dogs, and everyone’s favorite, Red’s with his gyros will make your belly happy.

A few other favorites : )

Park Ave pub- for trivia, pool, and because it looks really clean

Kenosha – Football!

The Brown- Best cozy haunted hangout, although I’ve never seen a ghost, lots of games.

Ullrs- Closed down 🙁 , now a brunch place. Whhhat.

Northside Pizza- Small but fun on a good night with pizza, beer, and sports.

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Stay tuned for the best places to eat out, and go to for dinner and cocktail hour.