You have everything you want... your spouse, nice home, car, and kid on the way... Business is sweet as the Executive Chef of Google and so is your walk with your Father. Until of course you wake up and you are still in Grady's ER with a fractured finger and a foot thats twice its normal size... You have just been involved in a head on motorcycle collision and you are lucky to even be witnessing... well, anything. Yeah, this is my story.
A year and a half ago I had several things in lie set in place that I felt comfortable mentioning to anyone that would ask. I had the cars, the town home, the motorcycle, etc. Until I ran smack into another foolish driver who simply "did not see me coming." Although I forgave her, the broken spirit took a while to bounce back from. Months went by as I sat in the house staring out the window thinking, 'there must be something better..." As people bought food and candy and cards to my house, I could not help but to treat them to dinner. So, the only way I knew how, I limped to the kitchen on crutches, made a dinner and invited a few people over. Things went well!
This Valentines Day, I had the opportunity to share my culinary expertise with 39 Private Dinner Guests at a disclosed location in SW Atlanta. The theme was Surf N Turf and the venue perfect for Dinner and a Movie. As the guest arrived, there was a display of live seafood to welcome them to their dining experience. As the hostess took their coats and directed them to their seats, they captured the dimly lit ambiance through several occasions. Albert “Al” Greene and William “Smokey” Robinson caught the attention of many as they found their seats, moving their heads to the vinyl soundtracks. The first course was served: Basil Bruschetta with a Lemongrass Aioli.
CAUTION: PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS BLOG POST IF YOU HAVE NO WHERE TO EAT WITHIN THE HOUR. SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE SALIVATION, PERTURBED TASTE BUDS, GRUMBLING STOMACH, AND MENTAL RESTLESSNESS DUE TO GLUTINOUS THOUGHTS.
Now that you have been properly warned, let us jump into the second helping of the Left Overs Dinner Series: Breakfast for Dinner. As some of you may know, this dinner party was sold out in DAYS once it was released for sale online. There is a gift and a curse behind that... the great thing is that reservations were locked in early, however a couple of people ended up having to take to-go orders because we were packed to the max. They still enjoyed the environment as it lasted and look to come back to the next one!
As for the food; when the first course came out, diners quickly realized it was ok to have dessert first. The fresh fruit parfait opened the eye of the tastebuds with the honey citrus yogurt, the fresh lime soaked bananas, and the triple berry combination. There were sandwiches made of waffles with bacon and...
Italy has been so great to me! I can not imagine living in a world where I can not travel. Although this was not my first trip to Italia Country, my experience this time was nothing short of brilliant. I had the chance to arrive in Milan and spend several hours near Monumentale before heading to Centro Storico where my friend Jezreel and I had a quick bite to eat. Here's a Quick Lesson in Italian timing by way of culture: no one eats between 3pm and 8pm! We searched for hours looking for somewhere to grab our first real meal and this is what we landed on… A smoked salmon quesadilla and a Margarita pizza. What a start; right? From there things would only get better.
Now we all know, there is never a bad time to have breakfast... pancakes and scrambled eggs have no watch! With that said, we bring lunch to you Brunch @ Night! The evening started out with 8 guests, that quickly doubled to 15. The menu was extravagant and the ambiance was even better. Strangers became friends, appetites were demolished, and every moment was captured and enjoyed.
There were several items that could not be overlooked last night. The breakfast paella seemed to be a favorite with several people even ordering plates of it to go. Shrimp infused rice, played a major role in the flavor profiling of the dish. The pork sausage and bacon created a rich mouth feel and intensified the character of the plate. Fresh kale and carrot livened up the entire dish and allowed a color variation unmatched. Second to none, the Pisa Pancakes ran their course. A tower of 3 buttermilk pancakes with a layer of eggs, sausage and bacon in between made the plate hard to ignore. The heads were turning as people stared at the server taking these to other tables. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these dishes left people speechless. Then there was the stuffed waffles... a sandwich made of 2 parmesan chive waffles stuffed with bacon, sausage, and lightly scrambled eggs... goodness.
Needless to say, the guests had a great time. They ate well, and the overall experience went phenomenal. I appreciate every guests and had a conversation with them to ensure the quality of the experience. The next dinner is on the 15th of November and juuust may feature authentic Mexican Cuisine. Shhhh, its a secret!
Cant wait to see you there!
I have always wanted to go to Korea... I envision myself walking the streets of the hidden enjoying the street food of the people. Spicy rice cakes, fish skewers, rice sausages, Kimchee... the list can go on and on. With that said, I decided to bring a little of Korea home. From Kimchee egg rolls to braised BBQ ribs, everything on the menu had a purpose.
This was the first of many dinner series. Some would call it a test run, but the food was far from a test. Eight courses of delectable greatness, washed down with house wine infused with candied ginger. I saw a few areas to improve on, but overall I would consider it a success. Oh, and congrats to my guests of honor, Pierre and Marie for their engagement!
I can't wait to get you two back to the next ones!!!
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of cooking with some of Henry County's Government employees and several Commissioner's. The men came out full of excitement and eager to learn about different techniques to be used on the grill. I had the pleasure of showing them differences between smoking and grilling meats, as well as how to chargrill. Although the majority of the gentleman there focused primarily on the delicious burgers chargrilling away to the sound of my voice, several guests were able to acquire life long lessons about eating in the good ol' outdoors!
A few of the guys even went a step furthering, answering questions about culinary arts winning some of my personal, hand crafted spices and rubs. Others grabbed a few to go for the road. I really appreciated all the men (and the couple of young ladies) coming out to show support for healthy eating. I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say about the experience! Great thumbs up to Mens Health!
Bon Apetit Gents!
Man, its cold. I'm not talking "just got out of the shower and forgot your towel in the bedroom cold." I mean, " i just fell in a pile of snow-cones cold. The air here hurts my lungs to breathe the moment I walk out the door. The snow here is thick and black from the dirt and pollution. The people are all skinny... well, as far as I can see. Everyone walks briskly and no one looks back.
But let me digress, as not to paint a total picture of disaster; there has been one element of delight, in many different ways. This morning I had French toast. Not your average battered bread. This French Toast was sweetened with fruit, dipped in butter and cream, topped with nuts, and paired with thick cut bacon and chicken sausage. That's right, the breakfast of champions. I had pineapple juice to go with it all and it could not have been any better. I almost wanted to head in the kitchen to watch the chef make them, but I am just not there yet. The ambiance could have been a little better as the hostess looked up to greet people in between texts on her phone; and I did have to send my bacon back for temperature reasons, but besides that, I would definitely recommend BATTERS & BERRIES to any Chi-Town visitors! Tell them Chef Jarvis sent you. It wont get you anything special, but it sure will make for a great conversation starter!
So we arrive in Cozumel Mexico and the FIRST two places we see from the cruise ship are Starbucks and Hooters. I mean, seriously. I understand globalization, but if you travel 933 miles from Atlanta to Cozumel to get a frapp from Starbucks, you're either wealthy with a good plan, or stuck in an open box. Me being neither, I hop off the ship and head in the opposite direction as all the other tourist, save my to travel buddies. After about 14 minutes of walking, we find ourselves deep in the city of Cozumel, walking past the houses of complete strangers enjoying the view. We saunter pass an open establishment and see a pool table in there, along with a few Mexican gentlemen smoking and having beers. Of course, I test out my Spanish and ask them if we can join. They oblige. We enter and have a game as we do our best to decipher between the local dialect and the mumbled jargon that is pouring out of the inebriated mouths of the hosts. As we leave there, we visited several tequilla establishments that offered us so much free alcohol we could have filled up a bottle of our own. I mean, even clothing shops were luring us in with free shots of tequilla! As we approached our time to leave the port, we stopped by a familiar place to use the wifi. They forced us to buy something in order to use the internet there, so me being resourceful, I cleaned the counter. There I would find one napkin, a coffee spill, and a receipt: pertaining one password for wifi. Good ol' STARBUCKS! I, as well as my comrade, watch a handful of locals break-dance on the wet cement for change doing things they'd get paid for in the states; however, to other locals it's nothing special. I attempt to contact a great friend of mine before realizing that she was in a meeting and could not take my call. I text my family and soon rise to catch the leaving ship. We are a few of the last passengers to board... First day in Mexico, check!
From the moment I stepped on the boat, I was skeptical. I have been here before yet everything looks different. The recycled air is ironic given our method of transportation, I am on a vessel. I dare not speak the name of the first "like-vessel" that comes to mind so I decrease my awareness and increase my desire for relaxation. I am here for one purpose with many routes; to enhance my culinary spectrum. As I bend my knees to ride the waves, my stewardess offers me chocolate to ease my motion bubbles. I hit the top deck with two familiar guests in search of something edible. To our surprise we stumbled upon a buffet. As we surreptitiously slid a few pieces of fruit in to our waist pockets, we unmistakeably fixed several full plates of food. Today's lunch would be quantity over quality. The caramel cheesecake was delightful. I had a burger with grilled onions and never ending lemonade. Apparently, that was just the beginning. Over the next two days on the ship, I had the chance to taste things I never thought I would have on a cruise. Escargot for the first time; drowned in drawn butter and fresh herbs. The snail had a very distinct taste and texture. Chewy and rich, I could not have expected anything different. I also had frog legs, that "would" be just as interesting, however, that was not the first time I tried them. The first few days on this cruise were delightful... Mexico here we come. For some reason I envision more drinking, than eating... But then, we arrive in Mexico.
"WELL, WHAT IS IT!?" I ask as I glance at the plate. It looks so beautiful. Do I even eat it or is it the demo? All my expressions written on my face as I stare with intent at the meal the chef has just placed in front of me. One could obviously tell I had never been to a place of this caliber before. I mean, three different forks? Why can't I just wipe off the first one I used and reuse it? And what's with this fat spoon beside the little spoon? Like my mouth will get bigger as I eat...
By the time I figure out my place setting and meal, my company already had the chance to take in a portion of the culinary delectables placed in front of her. Foi gras & pâté. I pronounced it "Foy grass and pait." Boy was I incorrect. Who cares, doesn't a rose by another name taste red, or something like that? I notice my date's eyes are already closed from the internal experience happening in her mouth.
The sky is pitch Black. Lightning clouds are within arm's reach. The plane shakes in what would be called an earthquake should my feet be on the ground. The seat belt sign comes on as I shut my shade. In a calm voice, the captain informs us of local Ghanian time and gives us the weather down below. We cruise to the runway and the plane erupts in applause. The people are glad to be home [safely]. As we all walk off the plane, I notice the majority of carry-on bags being carried off are grand bottles of "Duty-Free" alcohol. I pay it no mind as I step off the plane and kiss the ground. This is Africa!
I imagine the temperature difference between my personal air and that of the fridge as I sit on the floor in the cooler, jotting down the menu for the day. Just as my fingers begin to go numb, there's a knock on the cooler door. I hop up to answer and the door flings open. "There's no more potatoes for the gratin tonight Chef. What should we do?"
Chef Belton shares his intimate thoughts and world experiences with his followers. These are the inspiration behind his culinary delights.