In The News
In addition to Chef Garbo’s passion for cooking, she also enjoys writing about food. She has submitted several food news articles to Personal Chef Magazine, the official Publication for Personal Chefs, which is published quarterly by The United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA). Below are several published articles by Chef Garbo.
High Tea for Mother’s Day – Personal Chef Magazine April-June 2013 By Personal Chef Garbo
High Tea for Mother’s Day
For a memorable Mother’s Day celebration why not create a High Tea delight with fresh spring flowers and all the fixings. Your mother will really appreciate the lovely spread which she didn’t have to prepare. Plus, it’s the perfect occasion to indulge in sweet and savory bite size treats.
In past teas, I have made smoked salmon tea sandwiches and peanut butter chocolate kisses… always a big hit on Mother’s Day. Maybe your mother might enjoy these recipes too!
Smoked Salmon Sandwiches on Pumpernickel
1/4 cup(s) mayonnaise
1 tablespoon(s) green onion, minced
1 tablespoon(s) dill, fresh minced
1 tablespoon(s) capers, drained
1 teaspoon(s) horseradish
1 dash(es) pepper
2 teaspoon(s) butter, unsalted, room temp
8 medium pumpernickel bread, sliced (slightly frozen for better slicing)
4 medium Salmon fillet, smoked
12 medium cucumbers, slices, sliced thin, patted dry with paper towel.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, green onion, dill weed, capers, horseradish, and pepper; set aside.
Spread butter thinly over pumpernickel bread slices; spread mayonnaise mixture on each bread slice. Divide salmon and cucumber slices evenly over 4 slices of bread; top with remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally and then in half again to make little triangles. Transfer to individual serving plate and serve.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Kisses (Gluten-Free)
1/2 cup(s) butter
1 cup(s) rice flour, fine
1 1/4 cup(s) brown sugar
1/2 cup(s) potato starch
3/4 cup(s) peanut butter
1/4 cup(s) tapioca, starch
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
3 tablespoon(s) milk
3/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1 tablespoon(s) vanilla
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 medium bag of HERSHEY’S Cocoa, kisses unwrapped
2 tablespoon(s) sugar, rolling the balls (optional)
In large mixing bowl combine first 6 ingredients and beat until well blended. In separate bowl combine all dry ingredients until well blended. Stir the rest of ingredients into butter mixture at Lo speed. Form into walnut size balls and roll in sugar, if desired. Place about 2 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375F degrees for approx. 8-10 minutes or until set, but not hard. Remove from oven and push Hershey Kiss into center of each cookie. Cool 5 min. before removing to racks. Cool until Kiss hardens again. Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies.
San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo Hosts 3rd Annual USPCA Local Bay Area Chapter Meeting – Inverness, CA – September 18, 2012
The 3rd Annual Bay Area UPSCA Chapter Retreat took place at Inverness, CA in the beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore. The purpose of the Chapter Retreats are to experience culinary field trips to several famous Point Reyes food purveyors, strengthen our bonds as a Chapter, and to develop our food styling skills which ultimately promote our Personal Chef services. Most importantly, we want to have fun while we showcasing our talents as Personal Chefs.
NICK’S COVE HISTORY
The first stop was Nick’s Cove. one of the last remaining historic settlements catering to the early California tourist trade on the beautiful Tomales Bay coastland. It’s served as a depot for tourism, local fishermen and agricultural operations throughout its history. During the 1930’s the cabins on the water’s edge were rented to people from the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento Valley and beyond. Tomales Bay was a favorite spot for weekend fishermen and hunters, and the Kojich family owners catered to those seasonal attractions. The Kojich family remained at Nick’s Cove until their eventual retirement. The current owners of Nick’s Cove have taken special care to maintain the integrity of its traditional architecture in recognition of the cottages’ historical importance. Nick’s Cove restaurant features local seafood including the famous Hog Island Oysters, Dugeness Crab Cakes, Clam Chowder and much more.
COWGIRL CREAMERY AND POINT REYES BLUE CHEESE FARMSTEAD
The Giacomini commitment to producing superior quality, farmstead dairy products began over 100 years ago in the mountains of Italy. Today Bob Giacomini and his family continue the family tradition with their Point Reyes Original Blue™. Cowgirl Creamery crafts their own cheeses using Organic milk from the neighboring Straus Family Creamery. Mt. Tam, a triple-cream similar to Explorateur, and Red Hawk, a triple-cream, washed rind, unctuous cheese, are the more well known of their aged cheeses, but the company also makes Pierce Point, St. Pat, and Devil’s Gulch on a seasonal basis. Only two of their aged cheeses are in a slightly different format.
FOOD STYLING AND TEAM BUILDING
When we arrived at Garbo’s cottage, everyone executed their mise-en-place. Garbo prepared the photo shoot area and lighting and everyone brought their favorit plate and props to feature their dish. Below is a photo essay of what everyone prepared for dinner and brunch:
Chef Garbo: Cucumber Mint Martini with Vodka, Elderflower, Ginger Beer & Lime w/Nuts and Baked Eggs with Bacon, Basil, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Cream
Chef Kara Lee: NY Prime Rib Steaks with Carmalzied French Onion Dip with Kettle Chips
Chef Shoshana: Warm Spinach Salad with Blue cheese, Beets and Nuts
Chef Dawn: Baked Risotto with Sausage and Artichokes Mixed Berries with Granola and Yogurt
Chef Bourget: Fish Soup and Apple Crisp
Chef Greg: Stuffed Mushrooms and Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Pineapple
MARKETING CHAPTER WEBSITE WITH OUR BLOG
Dinner was a knockout performance which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The main dinner table discussion revolved around how to exploit our newly developed Chapter Website. Garbo announced that the site was officially up and running thanks to Polina’s stellar programming skills. Essentially, Garbo created the content and design and Polina managed of all the back-end programming work. The Chapter decided upon the WordPress blogging platform because it’s easy to use, cost-effective and has built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Garbo stressed that everyone in the Chapter should blog away under our Blog Tab to promote their businesses and get more visibility on the web via our site. The best part is that the Chapter is appearing in the #1 spot on a Bing & Yahoo Search Result when the key words: “Bay Area Personal Chef” are typed which is a very popular search string. Our strategy is to maintain this #1 spot by continuing to add blogging content to our Chapter website. It will take longer to appear on the 1st page of a Google search due to their different algorithms but we will succeed in time! Check out our site at http://bayareauspca.com/site
Gourmet Magazine Features Chef Garbo’s Food Photography – 2/20/12
Gourmet live, the blog for Gourmet Magazine, has featured my vintage Gourmet Magazine photography series in a recent Post. Click here to read about my 15 minutes of fame!
The Inspiration for the Gourmet Series
The Gourmet Magazine styling series began shortly after Gourmet Magazine closed its print publishing doors. Because I love all things vintage and have a collection of Gourmet Magazines from the 1950’s and 1960’s, I was inspired to bring Gourmet Magazine back to life, and soon my food styling series was born!
Process for Creating the Shots
First, I picked Gourmet covers of food that I actually prepare for my clients. Next, I narrowed it down to the covers that I could best duplicate with authentic vintage props from the 50’s ’which was easy given my sizeable collections of vintage kitchen gear I’ve collected over the years. I also searched E-bay for the exact props to complete the replication. The green colander with tomatoes above is an example. All the photos where taken in natural light with a hand held Canon Elph 300 Digital point and shoot camera.
The purpose of the series is to generate new business creatively. In my Gourmet Magazine styling project I try to illustrate that people love clipping recipes. My visual story is designed to evoke fond dining memories where potential customers are inclined to give me their clipped recipes so I can prepare it for them as their Personal Chef. This new twist of creating updated versions of classic meals has definitely worked because I am getting more business than ever before as potential customers see my website, get hungry and call to hire me.
San Francisco Personal Chef in the News – December 2011
Origins of the Christmas Cookie
Christmas Cookies today have historical roots based on biscuit recipes from Medieval Europe which contained ingredients such as ginger, black pepper, almonds, cinnamon and dried fruit. During the 16th century, Christmas biscuits grew in popularity across Europe which included lebkuchen (a traditional German baked Christmas treat that resembled gingerbread), the papparkakor (a ginger snap) which was popular in Sweden and in Norway it was the krumkake (thin cylindrical lemon and cardamom scented waffle cookies) that were all made at Christmas time.
Between 1871 and 1906, the Dutch and German settlers in America introduced an array of cookie cutters, decorative molds, and festive holiday decorations as a result of changes to the import laws and this brought a vast amount of inexpensive goods to our Christmas markets. “Unlike homemade counterparts, or local tinsmith’s wares, these tools depicted highly stylized images, often drawn from secular themes or…with subjects designed specifically to hang on the Christmas tree. Likewise, recipes appeared in popular cookbooks to better match the demands of such utensils…In a sense, with the advent of inexpensive tin cutters, new emphasis was placed on shape, where in the past, many homemade cookies simply had been square or round. Bells, Christmas trees, camels, crimped wares (cutters with zigzag edges), lilies, Santa Clauses, turkeys, all of these elaborate shapes tended to deemphasize texture and flavor.”
—The Christmas Cook: Three Centuries of American Yuletide Sweets, William Woys Weaver [Harper Perennial:New York] 1990 (p. 106)
In the United States, the tradition where children leave cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve dates back to the 1930s. The cookies were often cut into Holiday shapes like candy canes, stars, snowflakes, gingerbread man, and Christmas trees.
Short Cut Cookie Decorations
If you find you’re pressed for time then you might try the baker’s short cut by decorating chocolate frosted Oreo cookies as pictured in the above photo. It takes very little time and the kids will love it! All you need is a frosting bottle which you can get at your local store and a package of dark or white chocolate frosted Oreo cookies and you’re ready to go!
Make your Holidays more festive with colorful hand decorated Christmas cookies!
Garbo’s Thanksgiving Feast with a Renaissance Flair – November 2011
History of Thanksgiving Foods and its Influence on Renaissance Europe
Much of the food from the early Renaissance period was left over from the Middle Ages until Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. Soon, trade brought in new and rare delectables into the Renaissance kitchens like oranges, corn, sugar and chocolate that started with the nobility and trickled down to the farmers and peasants. It took considerable time for these victuals to catch on in Europe, but one exception was the Turkey. About 30 years after Columbus, Cortez discovered the American turkey in Mexico around the 1520s. At that time, Turkey was known as “Indian Chicken” and this bird gained popularity very quickly. In addition to being delicious, turkey made a flamboyant centerpiece for banquets when dressed in all its feathers and plumes.
In 1549, Catherine de Medici hosted a feast that featured 70 “Indian Chickens” on the menu. Other notable fowl served up during the Renaissance period included peacocks, swans and cranes. Smaller game bird might have been pheasant and herons which were typical menu fare as well. It was a common custom to serve pork alongside fried chestnuts where were abundant and easy to cultivate and store. Fruit was always a celebrated Renaissance food and was served as a last course. We would call this “dessert” today.
Garbo’s Thanksgiving Feast with a Renaissance Flair
Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, I will prepare several Cornish game hens with all the fixings from the Renaissance period like meat pies, fruits and pastries. Click here for two recipes from my “test kitchen” that showcase what I plan to serve at my Thanksgiving feast this year.
May you eat, drink and be merry at your Thanksgiving feast too!
Orange Roasted Cornish Game Hens
2 medium Cornish game hens, whole hen
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to rub on hens
1/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon orange zest or more to your liking
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Clean and dry the game hens and place on roasting rack or baking sheet. Wash and zest both oranges. Take one orange and cut into quarters and place the slices in the cavity of each hen. Rub each hen with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with fresh ground salt and pepper. (I prefer the S&P grinders from Trader Joe’s which are a course grind) Juice the remaining orange and mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of orange juice with the honey, orange zest and ginger so that it’s a thick syrupy mixture. Add more orange juice or honey to achieve the proper thickness and set aside. Roast hens for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and use a basting brush to smear the orange honey mixture over the hens every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes. Baste with pan juices as well so that the hens have nice dark golden skins. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes and serve with your favorite sides.
Pork, Apple and Cider Meat Pies (Donna Hay)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds pork tenderloins, cut in cubes
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium garlic, sliced
3 tablespoon(s) flour
3 cups apple cider
1 cup beef stock
1 medium potato, peeled copped
1 dash salt and pepper
2 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped into wedges
1 package puff pastry
1 medium egg, for wash
Heat half the oil in a heavy sauce pan over high heat. Add the pork and cook, in batched for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove pork and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining oil, onion and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add flour and cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes. Return the pork to the pan with the cider and stock, bring to boil and reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the potato, sage, salt and pepper and cook further for 15 minutes or until the potato is just tender. Remove from heat and stir in the apples.
Preheat oven to 400. Spoon the pork mixture into 2×2 cup-capacity ovenproof frying pan or ramekins. Roll the pastry out on a light floured surface and use the ramekins to cut out enough circles of pastry to top the pies. (About the thickness of a pie crust). Trim edges, brush with remaining egg wash and press the sage leaf into the center of each pie. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo – In The News – September 2011
Full Story: Every Picture Sells A Story – The Essence Of Food Styling
Personal Chef Magazine July/September 2011 – By Personal Chef Garbo
My story is about food photos that attract business. Food photography is essentially the “art of eating with our eyes”. When we dine, all of our senses are stimulated. We enjoy the visual appeal and color, we smell the savory aromas, we feel the texture on our palate, we hear the sizzle and pop and finally we taste the wonderful deliciousness. When viewing a food photo we rely on our eyes and memory to conjure up all the sensory pleasures that we connect with the food. If a food stylist is successful at their job, we can re-live the dining experience vicariously through the image of the food.
Eating With Our Eyes
I can honestly say that listening to Denise Vivaldo’s talk on food styling at the 2007 USPCA Conference in Philadelphia changed my life. Soon after, I signed up for her Master Food Styling class with Gail Kenagy, former President of the USPCA. I was so inspired and energized that I returned home and immediately began a series of photo shoots of all the menus that I prepare for my clients. I applied many of the techniques I learned at Vivaldo’s class and soon the Return on Investment (ROI) kicked in when my phone started to ring more frequently. People really do “eat with their eyes” and it was my new and improved photos of carefully styled plates that attracted the business.
These days most everyone is web savvy and relies on internet images to help them make decisions about food and where to dine. To quote noted food stylist, Cindy Epstein, “The content and quality of the images must make a profound impact to attract new customers and keep them coming back”. I know this first hand because I continually hear from potential new clients that my food looks so delectable and healthy and they’re too busy to cook. Even my tagline of “Healthy Meals for Busy People” really resonates and my food images compel people to call me. Award winning food blogger Helene Dujardin, creator of Tartlette, has mastered the art of food styling and I am very much inspired/influenced by her work. Her images look so beautiful that I want to eat her pictures!
Getting Noticed by the CEO of YELP
Unlike many cites in the U.S., YELP is huge in San Francisco and can make or break a business. YELP attracts foodies and foodies eat with their eyes! I compete with 60 other 5 star rated Personal Chefs on YELP. I only have 4 stars due to one scathing review that was unwarranted and so laugh-out-loud bad it’s good! When I recently received a call from the assistant to Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of YELP, I almost dropped the phone in shock. They wanted to hire me for an upcoming dinner party. Why? Because they loved the pictures of my food. I’m far from being a photography pro, but I do know how to style a plate, compose a photograph and make food look appealing
Getting Hired by the CTO of Adobe Photoshop
Appetizing food photography gave me an edge on the competition when I was hired by the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Adobe’s Photoshop product. I learned that he conducted a formal interview process with 5 Personal Chefs in San Francisco and it was my portfolio of enticing dishes that won me the business. When my new client inquired about my studio and gear he was quite surprised to learn that my equipment consisted of a hand held Canon Elph Point-And-Shoot camera and a table near my dining room window. I told him my secret was natural lighting and artfully styled food plates.
Implementing Denise Vivaldo’s “The Food Stylist’s Handbook”
Currently I am putting to practice many of the tips and tricks outlined in Vivaldo’s latest book “The Food Stylist’s Handbook.” Below are two of my personal favorites:
Styling Tip #1: Salads (False Bottoms, Lift & Vodka)
On page 202 Denise says “For beautiful salads, arrange the ingredients so there is separation, definition and movement of ingredient.” She talks about false bottoms using damp paper towels and soaking fruits in vodka to prevent browning.
In the below images I applied all three tips which worked like a charm!
Styling Tip #2: Use Props that Add Interest and Tell a Story
On page 19 of Vivlado’s Handbook she talks about the food styling trends from the 1950s to the 1980’s. This period was notorious for “the incongruous use and overuse of props with little or no logic (i.e., beef on a platter on top of fake grass with a duck decoy next to it).” YUK! After reading this section of her book I was inspired to utilize my vintage kitchen utensils without making the same mistakes. The key element in my story telling repertoire were my vintage Gourmet Magazines from the 50’s and 60’s. When Gourmet Magazine closed its print publishing doors last year, I was motivated to bring it back to life, and soon my food styling series with Gourmet Magazine was born!
In this styling project I try to illustrate that people love clipping recipes. My visual story is designed to evoke fond dining memories where potential customers are inclined to give me their clipped recipes so I can prepare it for them. This new twist of creating updated versions of classic meals is working because I am getting more calls per week than ever before.
And thus, the moral of the story is: Eat first with your eyes and acquire a little food styling knowledge if you really want to grow your business!
San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo – In The News – January 2011
FULL STORY: GARBO’S EUROPEAN FOOD TOUR PART: II PARIS
By Chef Garbo www.chefgarbo.com
Paris is very seductive. How can one not fall in love with her at first sight? Its history is rich, the people are stylish, its architecture distinctive, artists are drawn to it and the cuisine is heaven on earth. There is an ethereal quality about Paris where beauty and elegance are preferred over purpose and practicality.
With this second installment of my European Food Tour (see Part I Florence) I can assure you that there was nothing practical about my food experience in this alluring city. It was pure indulgence in the glorious culinary realm for which Paris is famous. I’m talking about the appreciation of food as a high art form better known as at haute cuisine.
My friend Renée Coker knows Paris like the back of her hand and has traveled there many times in recent years. When we compared notes on where to dine, I found that her recommendations were right on the money… literally. As mentioned in my first report on Florence, we chose to make our lunch meals the main event of the day so we could indulge ourselves with rich and elaborate meals and walk it off during the afternoon… and all this without busting our budget!
Our first stop was the Goumrad Restaurant. This restaurant was founded in 1872 and is loaded with deep sea charm. It features original oak woodwork, with dazzling Lalique chandeliers and brilliant crystal fish floating in faux glass aquariums and other lighting designs that give this establishment its unique aquatic style. Goumrad specializes in seafood prepared purely and simply and is flown in daily from Brittany. The purist philosophy held by the owner is that “everything comes from the sea” and is so entrenched that entrées other than fish are scarce on the menu. We started with deep-fried frog legs and escargot in garlic parsley butter sauce, two appetizers that I have never prepared and are not typical offerings on American menus. Both were simple and delicious. I finished the meal with grilled John Dory on a bed of ratatouille. Renee’s entrée was served on a beautiful rectangular white plate featuring salt rock cod with poached white turnips in a white cream sauce and a sprinkling of black caviar. Goumard is considered one of the finest seafood restaurants in Paris so the next time you’re craving Mediterranean influenced seafood dishes with subtle and delicate sauces, Goumard will surely be the catch of the day!
If you only have a few days in Paris like we did, a visit to Le Soufflé is a must! Le Soufflé, which is situated in the 1st arrondissement, is just a 10 minute walk from the Louvre and is nestled between Place Vendôme and Metro Concord. According to a food blog I read, the famous French impressionist, Claude Monet, used to study the master painters on display at the Louvre then take his noon day meal at Le Soufflé. There is nothing more quintessentially French than the famed soufflé. This dish is frequently served as a dessert, but at this fine establishment, the savory soufflés are abundant. Renée ordered the wild mushroom soufflé with cheese sauce and I opted for the dessert soufflé. I started with the Margret de Canard (Roast Duck) with an orange reduction sauce. The plating was lovely featuring thinly sliced medallions of duck breast fanned out to resemble feathers with colorful orange peel swirls scattered about. There was even a mini cheese soufflé included. When the dessert soufflé was presented the waiter quickly plunged a spoon into the top and poured warm chocolate syrup in the center. The highly theatrical delivery and performance at table side was quite unexpected and grand.
Le Meurice Hotel – Le Pièce de Résistance for Haute Cuisine
And now for the pièce de résistance… I will venture into what I would describe as the most defining moment in my dining career which took place at Le Meurice Hotel in the heart of Paris. We all know the term haute cuisine but do we truly know what it means, or more importantly, have we ever had the opportunity to experience it in the cradle of its origins? Haute cuisine means “high cuisine” and began in the 17th century by a famous chef named La Varenne who wrote a book in which he defines the standards for pastries and desserts. During the latter part of the 18th to 19th century a major chef named Marie-Antoine Carême entered the scene and he is credited with creating the mother sauces which made the foundation for his style of cooking. These sauces included espagnole, velouté and béchamel. It was during this period that the soufflé was born too. During the late 19th century and early 20th century haute cuisine as we know it today was codified and modernized by none other than the major chef of the time, George Auguste Escoffier. He created what is popularly known today as the brigade system where a professional kitchen is divided into five stations. These stations include garde manger (prepared cold dishes), the entremetier (prepared soups, vegetables & other dishes not involving meat & fish), the rôtisseur (prepared roasts, grilled and fried dishes), the saucier (prepared sauces) and the pâtissier (prepared pastry items).
George Auguste Escoffier‘s influence was so great that many Grand Hotels were opened around his style of cooking. Le Meurice Hotel is a product of this period dating back to 1835 and has long been considered the prized jewel among the French palace hotels. Located directly across from les Jardin des Tuileries, Le Meurice is a magical place with splendid architectural touches where one is treated like royalty. Famous guests include Queen Victoria, the King of Spain, Alphonse XIII, King George VI and the Grand Duchess of Russia. The most outrageous and loved guest among the hotel staff was Salvador Dali who stayed there one month every year. He’s famous for his surreal requests like ordering flies from the Tuileries or asking that a horse be delivered to his room. He was even known to dangle fish off a fishing line from his hotel room balcony onto the passers by below.
Dining at Le Maurice Restaurant is otherworldly. The décor is regal with a painted mural ceiling, shimmering crystal chandeliers, antique gold gilt beveled mirrors and gigantic canvases hung on the walls which are all reminiscent of the magnificent Napoleon Salon in the Louvre. The Chef de Cuisine, Yannik Alléno, fashioned the most memorable meal of my life. He helped Le Meurice to capture 2 Michelin stars starting from zero in one year which is a first in the history of the Red Michelin Guide. At age 38, he was inducted into the elite circle of the world’s greatest chefs when he received his third star for his gastronomic genius. He is also a 1st place recipient of the Auguste Escoffier International Prize, Nice 2008.
The culinary creations of Yannik Alléno are poetic magic. As the leader of a brigade of 74, this visionary chef has ambitions of reinventing haute cuisine and dreams of taking the hotel’s restaurant to new heights in it’s already world renown reputation. Judging from our lunch I can say he’s near the summit. Our meal was breathtaking. It started with a selection of bread and a checker-board square of foie gras pate and butter that was very appealing. Then an amuse bouche of custard, green aspic and foam with a black wafer was served followed by another amuse bouche of filet of soul with a caramelized cream sauce. Both had ingenious presentations. There were two entrées as well. The first was an ensemble of chicken pate shaped like robin eggs atop of nest of puff pastry and when sliced open there were more chicken pieces inside with a rich cream sauce. The chicken had a wonderful farm fresh and mild gamey flavor that you don’t get in the States. The second entrée was a plate of small kidney medallions with caramelized onions and slivered mushrooms in a reduction sauce. Both were visual masterpieces! Have you ever had a pre-dessert? Well we did and it was delightful. The first plate featured a chocolate pecan shell filled with chocolate ganache with a glazed pecan on top. There was a square pink marshmallow bon-bon with gold leaf on the sides, a chocolate macaroon and a variation on a profiterole gilded in gold leaf. The second dessert was a tiramisu-like jelly roll sponge cake encircled with a thin ring of sugar glass topped with espresso cream sauce. Oh, did I mention that there was a petite rum baba served in addition to the two desserts? And as if this wasn’t enough, in came the traditional cheese plate. Make that a long gorgeous marble table with golden legs topped with an impressive array of French cheeses, dried fruits and grapes. A simply wonderful way to end an exceptional dining experience. Everything right down to the puff pastry is made fresh daily!
Dinner at Le Meruice will set you back financially. But if you desire an opulent, extraordinary and reasonably priced 8 course afternoon meal ($100 excluding wine) then lunch is the way to go. Look no further than Le Meurice Restaurant as you will experience haute cuisine at its finest! And in the famous European tradition you will be personally welcomed by Chef Yannik Alléno himself!
What a perfect ending to a marvelous culinary tour de force of both Florence and Paris.
San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo – In The News
Personal Chef Magazine October – December 2010 Issue
Garbo’s Orange & Rosemary Scented Butternut Squash Soup with Seared Scallops
With the Holiday Season upon us one traditional dish that comes to mind is butternut squash soup. Every year I change up the recipe with creative twists on a traditional theme.
Butternut squash is an impressive vegetable with a formidable history, and it’s a nutritional powerhouse that can be served up most elegantly. Unique to the Americas, butternut squash has an ancient history dating back to 3000 BC. It has been documented that American Indians frequently prepared squash as they believed its seeds increased fertility. They named this hardy and bountiful vegetable “the apple of God” and it was commonly planted close to their homes.
In addition to boosting fertility, butternut squash delivers a huge payload when it comes to nutrition for it is rich in beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese potassium, calcium and is a wonderful source for vitamins A and C.
Did you know that next to Florida, California is the second largest producer of butternut squash?
Being a native Californian it’s only natural that butternut squash plays a key role at my dinner table during the Holiday Season. To make it Garbolicious I give the soup a little San Francisco flair with the addition of sautéed sea scallops and a mélange of local flavors. In the below recipe the essence of rosemary, bay leaves, shallots and orange juice shine through as the secret ingredients that will fill your home with marvelous aromas. Celebrating the Holidays, at least in the Golden State, never looked or tasted so good!
Recipe for Orange & Rosemary Scented Butternut Squash Soup with Sea Scallops
FOR THE SOUP:
2 pounds butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut in small cubes)
½ pound whole butter
3 sprigs rosemary
Peel of one orange
1 cup orange juice
3 ounces white wine
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
Salt and white pepper to taste
Sweat peeled squash in butter for about 5 minutes. Add shallots, rosemary and orange peel. Simmer over low heat for another 5-10 minutes. Add juice, wine and sugar and reduce by half. Add stock, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil then simmer until tender. Puree in blender until velvety smooth. Best made a day in advance.
FOR THE SCALLOPS:
12 large bay scallops
Coarse ground salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon chopped chives (optional for garnish)
Daikon sprouts (optional for garnish)
Combine first 3 ingredients in bowl. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Add sea scallops and sauté 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
Ladle about 1 cup of soup in a shallow soup bowl, top with a sea scallop and garnish with chives and daikon sprouts if desired. (Adapted from a recipe by Chef Bryce Whittlesey).
Chef Garbo in Cooking Light Magazine August 2010 Issue
Check out my 15 minutes of fame in the August issue of Cooking Light Magazine. I am honored to be the featured Chef for a USPCA advertisement showcasing the Culinary Business Academy where I went to school. It’s a bit unreal standing at the checkout counter at Whole Foods, or any retail venue for that matter, knowing that my mug is in a hugely popular cooking magazine nationwide.
There are quite a few summer grilling recipes as well. Check it out and let me know what you think!