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Hella Fraiche

Friday night was totally Top Chef/Housewives of The Valley at my house when a chef came and cooked an 11 course dinner for me and my friends.

TH’s co-worker’s brother is a talented chef who has worked at esteemed restaurants like Bazaar here in Los Angeles and has since then been pursuing this private dinner-type experience, he calls Hella Fraiche. TH is pretty much obsessed with food and when he found out about this chef’s business venture, TH was right there to pick chef’s brain.

The plan is to try to host more at our house, so this one with my friends was a bit of a test run. And I was way happy to be the guinea pig.

And actually this was the third time I’ve had the pleasure of tasting chef Christian Navarro’s cuisine, but the first one I was involved with.

TH and I have done the whole tasting menu splurge at restaurants before, but to get a behind the scenes look was truly a treat and now more than ever do I appreciate the hard work that goes into planning, creating and executing a unique menu. Not to mention the cleanup.

Because this dinner was for the friends I made while in Spain, a Spanish-inspired meal was the direction I gave him.

Paella, tortilla española, fish and pork were foods I suggested and gave him the leeway to let his creativity interpret those whatever way he wanted.

My friends and I were each unbelievably impressed and so thankful he took the time to create something so amazing for us.

This was like a dream come true for TH; helping out an actual chef and being able to provide from his garden for some of the courses.

And now on to the pictures.

I decided to dine alfresco. Now that it’s summer, I’d like to dine outdoors as much as possible.

First up, my table setting.

The inspiration behind this – use as many things as I already owned.

Only new things here are the pink napkins and yellow vase. Both from Home Goods, of course.

For my centerpiece, I used peonies and heather from the flower mart, and roses and greens from the garden.

That’s me pouring water into a glass. I’m good at pretending because there wasn’t a drop of water in that jug. And I’m not even sure I was actually trying to aim for a glass.

Now for the food. Hope you’re not hungry. Pictures don’t do these dishes real justice.

Barramundi fish with seared avocado, greens and tomatoes with lemon jus.

Chef’s take on paella. Shrimp, calamari, mussels, scallops and curry with chives from TH’s garden on risotto.

I lived with a family while in Spain where meals were provided. One day I bit into my protein and asked my host what it was. She replied, conejo. My roommate asked me to translate and I said, rabbit. It was good. But I couldn’t help but awww when I walked past the cute little bunnies in the pet store on my way to school after that meal.

Here we have a rabbit roulade with herb-crusted croquette stuffed with mole-spiced béchamel with a hint of rosemary from the garden.

Second favorite, pork belly over fried chickpeas with sauteed kale.

Chicken paillard stuffed with ground chicken thigh with braised bok choy.

Not pictured was probably my favorite course, veal short rib with beans and potato cake.

Rib eye with spinach and tortilla española served atop an aioli smear.

Braised lamb served inside a Shepard’s pie with black Peruvian mint chimichurri.

Also not pictured was the lamb chop served with a mint, sage, basil sauce.

Homemade whipped cream with fresh huckleberries and strawberries.

Serrano (from the garden) infused chocolate mousse with nutella powder.

Me and my Sex and the Suburbs girls.

Thee end.

This was one heck of a way to start the weekend.


Seriously, if you’re interested in your own private dinner with professional chef, contact me and I’ll pass any info you need.

Happy Monday!

  1. June 4, 2012

    sorry about the food pics, designstILers – I am a notriously lousy photog but the meal was outstanding. And gorgeous!!!

  2. June 4, 2012

    You never cease to amaze me! This is one of the best ideas. I’m tempted to buy a bigger house with a backyard just so I can host these kinds of parties. Everything looks divine, especially you! Pass along his contact info!

  3. June 4, 2012

    The environment, the place settings, the food. Wow! Looks great and wonderful all around. Thank you for sharing.

  4. June 4, 2012

    Wow this looks incredible. First of all, the table setting is perfection!! Absolutely love it. Your backyard is adorable. You are adorable. And that food?????

  5. Kinda sad I didn’t get an invite to this party. I second everything that Alex said. Plus I want a garden so bad!

  6. June 4, 2012

    Re-looking at these pictures makes my mouth water and want a repeat of all the courses. Each one was outstandingly unique and unlike any dish I have had before. Thank you to Irene & Evan for truly creating a night to remember with opening your home with warmth, welcome arms, and of course, beauty. As you can see they are the most generous of host and I feel so blessed to be a part of anything they do. Thank you Lovett’s! And thank you to of course chef Christian Navarro. He has such a talent and my taste buds are forever thankful. Cheers to your new venture! I can’t wait to see it boom. You deserve it!

  7. June 4, 2012

    Wow! That’s impressive. I love it all.

  8. June 4, 2012

    that is the cutest tablescape ever! no kidding. The food looks amazing, and even more fun is a bunch of girlfriends getting together.
    XO Nancy

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  11. June 4, 2012

    That tablescape is my dream come true- golds, pinks, blacks. And that food- yum! I love that you did this, what a great idea to bring a chef in! I think I need to throw a dinner party where a chef comes and cooks for my friends! 🙂

  12. June 4, 2012

    Holy shit!! The entire evening looks tremendous. What a great job everybody put on!

  13. June 4, 2012

    I’m licking my computer screen. That meal is mouthwatering or in my case computer screen licking.

    You are an amazing event designer. I love the striped table cloth with the printed pillows. SwoonstILe!

  14. June 4, 2012

    btw – where did you get your gold flatware? I haven’t found any that I love.

  15. June 4, 2012

    That is *hella* cool…seriously, I’m not much of a chef and have no imagination when it comes to food…but I can follow orders like nobody’s business (c: That looks so amazing…and the food,too *wink wink*…but seriously, love the table set up, that table cloth totally makes the whole shebang for me!

  16. June 4, 2012

    Wow, looks like an amazing night! The table is fabulous (stripes + pretty flowers + metallic accents + pretty prints = the stuff dreams are made of!) and the food looks incredible! I had to re-read the 11 courses part because I thought it sounded too good to be true… I mean, I’ve done a few 6 course tasting menu things before, but nothing close to 11!

    Anyway, everything looks fantastic – great job!

  17. June 4, 2012

    Oh, also – if you don’t mind me asking, where did you get the striped tablecloth & those colorful cushions? Love them!

  18. This looks absolutely amazing! You might as well have been dining at a five star restaurant! Never hosted ourselves, but we had the privilege of being guests at a friend’s home where they did something similar. I’m sure it was crazy delicious, but the food presentation here also helps set this meal apart from your average catering job.

  19. Holy Holy cow!!!!!!!!! That looks so amazing and fancy schmancy! Food looks great but your table scape looks even better! Awesome!

  20. June 5, 2012

    Fantastic! I’ve been obsessed with black/white stripes and brights! What a great idea fr a dinner party — those lucky suburbs girls.

    BTW when I was little in Hawaii we had shark for dinner, and I was hesitant knowing I was going to the beach the next day. Not quite like rabbits!

  21. June 6, 2012

    I still can’t get over this dinner! It was the most amazing experience and I can’t wait for next week for round 2? A girl can dream….

    Thank you both again for this. I’m spoiled for life!

    • June 6, 2012

      I’m in!! See you next week!! loll.

      Seriously…no words can really describe how fabulous this night was! Love you gals. You’re my sandy LYFE! SPARKLE HEARTS!

  22. June 6, 2012

    Wow! Your table setting is gorgeous!! You’re so talented. Roland & I were talking about how we’d like to hire you to decorate our home when we purchase one. =) And of course, proud of my bro, Chef Christian Navarro, whose culinary skills never cease to amaze me. Thanks for sharing!!

  23. June 8, 2012

    Very pretty! I love HomeGoods, too.

    Coming over from vmac&cheese — love love love your Music To My Eyes series. So fun and very original.

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