Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Personal Chef, Anyone?

No, seriously.

My birthday was last week, and for anyone who knows my husband, well, sometimes he goes a little over the top for things. He's amazing, and we all love him, and his family and friends are lucky to have someone like him who enjoys finding the perfect gift and then making it better.

This year, Greg got me a set of all-clad pots and pans, something I have wanted ever since the warnings about non-stick chemicals came out, but that I could never commit to actually investing in. They are amazing, and I have already started to enjoy cooking with them!

For anyone who loves to cook, you can understand how all-clad cooking ware is probably the best birthday gift ever. But somehow Greg got it in his head (who am I to complain, but seriously?!) that perhaps cookware wasn't a very romantic gift, especially since he'll benefit from the meals. It's a birthday. Not Valentine's Day. Maybe I should be more careful about giving him running gear for holidays. Hmm.

Anyway, Greg decided that it would be fun to have a personal chef come in and demonstrate how to use the new cookware with a mini cooking lesson in the form of making a three course meal alongside me to share with my family who was going to be in town for the weekend. Greg helped coordinate the menu, and then on Saturday, Personal Chef Marc Levine from Olives and Herbs showed up with all of the necessary groceries and some of the minor prep work already completed. While my family enjoyed a wine tasting hosted by Greg, I got a personal lesson from a professional chef, who worked alongside me to make celeriac soup with crispy prosciutto and watercress garnished with basil oil and baguette, pecan encrusted mahi mahi with sauteed greens and cauliflower and white been puree, and individual chocolate molten lava cakes for dessert (which my sister in law actually made with Chef Marc since it was a) her birthday and b) Will needed a bath).

When the mahi mahi was in the oven, Chef Marc ushered us into the dining room, where he served each of the three courses with a brief explanation of the dish, and did all the dishes while we ate dinner.

It was an AMAZING night! Once I got over the initial oddity, it was a thrill to have a professional chef enter my dining room to announce and serve the next gourmet course while I chit-chatted with family, not to mention having the dishes whisked away afterwards! All while Will slept peacefully upstairs, and family savored nice bottles of wine without paying the restaurant up-charge.

No, Chef Marc isn't going to be cooking me dinner every night. But if we had driven my family into Boston, paid for parking, eaten at a four or five star restaurant where we ordered several bottles of wine, well, it would have worked out to about the same price. And we wouldn't have been able to relax for hours in our home with no need for a baby sitter or designated driver, in complete privacy, with the added fun of seeing a Chef walk into our dining room to serve us something he taught me to make.

So next time you're looking for a fun idea that's a little outside the box for a bachelorette party (he'll work with groups!), special anniversary dinner, or birthday party, maybe it's worth hiring a personal chef for the night!

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