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.
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.