7 Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef for Your Holiday Party

With holiday gatherings fast approaching, you may be considering whether or not to cater an intimate meal or spend your time in the kitchen cooking and preparing lavish courses of food to feed the family and friends with whom you’ve chosen to spend the holidays.

Before you start Googling recipes or writing out a shopping list, consider the following 7 benefits of hiring a personal chef for your holiday party. And then relax.

Holiday Meals Cook Up Memories

Looking back upon your childhood, you may recall those warm and fuzzy moments of being in the kitchen, surrounded by loved ones, while watching your family prepare and baste the holiday turkey. The kitchen was loud, with the clatter of pots and pans, and the aftermath was a mountain of dirty dishes that nobody wanted to clean up.

Usually, the adults would ration the duties and divide and conquer the task of after-holiday party clean-up. Although many of these memories evoke happiness, cooking and cleaning took quality time away from the company, leaving the person responsible for cooking with all the worries of making everything perfect.

Today, the convenience of hiring a personal chef for holiday parties allows the host an opportunity to take a revered backseat and enjoy unforgettable moments at the dining table, rather than in an apron or with their hands in a sinkful of soapy water.

If you want to take the time to enjoy the season, hiring a personal chef truly is not an indulgence. It makes perfect sense for all of the following reasons.

Is a Personal Chef Right for Your Holiday Party?

Take a look at all the reasons for hiring a personal chef. It may just be the best decision for your holiday gathering this year.


#1. Perfectly Prepared Courses


No more dry turkey or stuffing. You don’t have to worry about burning the dinner rolls. An expertly trained personal chef has mastered the art of creating the finest of dining experiences. If you want to impress your party guests, a culinary professional will ensure that every course is delightfully tasteful and cooked to perfection.


#2. Adaptive to Dietary Concerns


Whether your guests have food allergies, gluten-free requests, or stick to low-carb courses, a personal chef understands how to prepare a menu that satisfies all palates without sacrificing taste. Take the worry out of accommodating dietary restrictions and allow a professional to map out a holiday menu that carefully fills every belly with satisfaction.


#3. Less Stress


Not only is preparing and cleaning up after a holiday party stressful in itself, shopping for the ingredients means running to several different crowded stores, all while battling the holiday traffic. A personal chef provides the freshest of ingredients, and the only thing you’ll need to worry about is what to wear and where to seat your guests.


#4. Time-Saving


The holidays are our moment to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones. If you’re in charge of planning and cooking for your holiday event, you miss out on precious time that you could better spend doing other things, like trimming the tree or hanging seasonal lights.


#5. Create Memories


The holiday season often makes us feel like the more presents we buy or stockings we stuff, the more we make memories. But the truth is, some of the best memories are those intimate moments that feel special, simply because everything turns out perfect. There is comfort and ease in hiring a personal chef for any holiday event. Everything turns out perfectly, and your family and friends are worth it.


#6. Intimate and Safe At-Home Dining


The current pandemic has kept many of us home and limited our exposure to the public. Rather than go out and risk any possible repercussions, at-home catered events keep your family and friends feeling safe and adequately socially distanced.


#7. Increased Options


With a personal chef, you not only get to enjoy exquisitely prepared meals, but you also have more variety. A chef brings new ideas, flavors, and courses to the table to make a memorable impression on your guests. Rather than rely on recipes from days past, a professional will pamper you with a creative blend of flavors, seasonings, and preparations that are stunning as they are sumptuous. What better way to celebrate the holiday this year than trying something new?

Treat Yourself This Season

If you’re ready to step out of the kitchen and enjoy your dinner party mingling, contact us. We can accommodate dinner parties and dietary requests while helping you create a memorable holiday dinner that nobody will forget. Book your holiday party today!

The Ultimate Personal Chef Experience in Austin

Soon, over 600,000 people will be flocking to the Capital City to attend Austin City Limits Festival, Formula 1, and Austin Film Festival to name a few popular annual events. If you’re visiting, perhaps you just booked a house on Lake Austin with Airbnb that has an amazing outdoor dining area.  Or maybe it’s a trendy SoCo condo with a gourmet kitchen. Is your company hosting an annual retreat or strategic planning gathering downtown?  

You could buy a heap of groceries and spend your time cooking, or you could try to find a restaurant that doesn’t have a two hour wait—but you would miss the amazing house you rented. May we suggest the convenience of having high quality, gourmet meals prepared for you by hiring The Austin Artisan Personal Chef!  

Our passion for outstanding food, genuine hospitality, and culinary entertainment is the heartbeat of The Austin Artisan. We remove all the hassle of planning meals while you’re enjoying ATX.  Here’s a few options that might be a perfect solutions while you’re enjoying Austin.

Your Own Private Chef:  Imagine gathering your friends at your vacation rental and topping off an amazing day with an intimate gathering centered around an unparalleled fine-dining experience! Our private dining options are interactive, with food prepared onsite, and attendees are invited to experience every aspect of the meal’s creation, from sourcing to construction.  The Austin Artisan private chef experience allows you to select your menus so we can craft a culinary adventure that will be an unforgettable evening of indulgent details from food to wine to great conversations.  Let’s get started…

Meal Delivery Service:  With fresh, quality, in-season ingredients and ever-changing options, you can enjoy our chef-prepared meals delivered right to your Airbnb or VBRO! No shopping, prepping or know-how needed. With no pre-set menus or predetermined delivery days, each meal plan is individually crafted by your personal chef to accommodate your flavor preferences and nutritional needs. We will deliver your fresh chef-prepared meals directly to your fridge, so you have more time to enjoy Austin and all the fun activities planned for the day. It’s that simple! Let’s craft your custom menu here…

Plan an Unforgettable Event:  Many companies choose Austin as a central hub for corporate meeting and retreats.  If you’re planning a big event—and want to impress your business colleagues, employees, clients, and prospective clients, count on The Austin Artisan to help you plan a unique and unforgettable dining event.  You will immediately experience the distinct difference from working with a caterer and a personal chef. The Austin Artisans aren’t just interested in feeding people; we’re interested in providing an intimate experience. We specialize in catering small events and providing the opportunity to craft plated, multi-course, progressive dinners or even custom cocktail parties. From molecular gastronomy to infused oils, we offer the true upscale dining and chef experience that you and your guests will remember for years to come. Let’s plan your party….

Contact The Austin Artisan for boutique catering, personal chef, and meal delivery services today.

Pair wine & food like an expert!

Not sure how to properly pair food with wine?

With holiday entertaining upon us, there’s no better time to talk about pairing wine with food. And the question we get from so many of our clients is, “Which wine goes with which food?”

Texture and flavor elements in foods and wines interact with each other, so finding the perfect match can be essential to properly highlighting flavors and notes from a carefully designed menu.

Years of personal experience pairing fine foods and wines, as well as close collaborations with the best sommeliers in town allow The Austin Artisan to bring you the best of both worlds. We build innovative menus and source the ideal wine partners to complement your chosen flavor profile and deliver the most well-rounded culinary experience possible. See how we do it!

Another great way to discover new wines and experience how they interact with food is to host an in-house wine tasting. Wine tastings are a casually classy way to gather small groups and intimately engage them in the world of wine. Our knowledge and selection of world-class wines can create a memorable sipping soirée for everyone, from novice to connoisseur. Ready to turn your living room into a tasting room?  Check out our wines.

 

Host a high-end dinner party!

Planning a dinner party soon? Don’t want to be the stressed-out host?  

You’ve probably thrown a few dinner parties before.  The scenario usually looks like this: you spend all day in the kitchen, stressing about the menu, food preparation, cleaning up, in addition to having to play the perfect host. Sure, you can hire a caterer to prepare a meal for your next dinner party, but…Have you thought about hiring a personal chef,  a creator of unique, luxury culinary experiences?

We all want to impress our dinner group, especially around the holidays. Imagine elevating your dining experience by preparing a meal that makes everyone feel special in some way, which is The Austin Artisan’s specialty!

Using food as a vessel for that special gathering, we ensure each dinner party is customized to your specific event and guest of honor. Whether you want to host a five-course meal or an elegant cocktail party, our passion for outstanding food, genuine hospitality, and culinary entertainment is the cornerstone of each event the we cater.

Our Artisans pride themselves on selecting only the best ingredients, and that means eating in season. Seasonal, local produce is better tasting, easier to source, and aligns with the natural harvest cycle. With fall upon us and the changing weather means a shift in the produce that is available. Together, we will design the perfect menu for your gathering using the freshest, local ingredients. When we are at your home, our chefs encourage your guests to come gather around the kitchen and watch us prepare each meal, ask us questions, and participate in a lively dialogue.

Michael and his Team will help you handle (almost) everything. Our Artisans are a professional team of servers, bartenders, chefs, and support staff. We can even help you source the right china, barware, glassware, and linens.

Give your guests the ultimate dining experience. Our Artisans can assure the most exclusive dinner reservation in town is at your own table. Contact us to schedule your premier private dining and personal chef experience for your upcoming gathering.

Boutique Catering Vs. Traditional Catering:  Taste the Experience

Do certain foods and flavors transport you back in time to a special memory? For me, the intense flavor of Hatch green chiles instantly brings me back as a child visiting my grandmother in El Paso, Texas.  It is undeniable that taste and memory are inextricably bound—evoking emotions and creating unforgettable experiences.

When hiring a catering service, the motivation should not just be about feeding your guests. It should also be about the experience. As a chef, my mission is to redefine the way people think about food, because food can set the tone, create the mood and the ultimate guest experience.  This is the cornerstone of each event the Austin Artisans caters.

It is an honor to be invited to plan a boutique catering event and provide our clients and their quests with delicious food, presented beautifully and served impeccably.  Our boutique catering services take your special gathering leaps beyond the food preparation. Here’s how we differ from traditional caterers.

Personalized & Customized Experience:
What is so special about boutique catering is that the menu is tailored to you! No matter your dietary restrictions, likes or dislikes, we can create a menu that is a perfect fit for your gathering. With Austin Artisans, each event starts with a personalized consultation to discuss the theme, the guest of honor and other important details that will help create a lasting experience.  What flavors around the world do you love? Is there a certain cuisine style you prefer? What about dietary restrictions, ingredients to avoid or those to highlight? Then we want to know fun stories about your guests, special memories, and other ideas to inspire us to create a memorable menu—making the event even more unique.

Interactive Experience:
Is your kitchen the main gathering spot for dinner parties?  Austin Artisan chefs encourage your guests to come gather around the kitchen and watch us prepare each meal, ask us questions, and participate in a lively dialogue.  Unlike a traditional catering service, we won’t show up with every dish already cooked.  When quests arrive that’s when we may sear the steaks or complete the finishing touches to a savory sauce. We can explain our techniques, discuss where we source certain foods, and share pro-chef tricks your guests can use in their own kitchen.

Intimate Experience:
How do you make an ordinary dinner a memorable one? I think about this a lot. When planning menus, The Austin Artisans aren’t just interested in feeding people; we’re interested in providing an intimate experience. We specialize in catering small events, less than 20 people, providing the opportunity to craft plated, multi-course, progressive dinners or even custom cocktail parties. From molecular gastronomy to infused oils, we offer the true upscale dining and chef experience that you will remember for years to come.

It’s time to make lasting memories! Whether you are hosting a graduation party or family reunion or an intimate party, we’ve got you covered.  Contact The Austin Artisans for boutique catering, private party, and formal event catering services today.

 

Make Your Party Less Stressful!

It’s party time. With spring and summer upon us that means graduations, family reunions, bridal showers, and countless other occasions that beckon a celebration.  From food offerings to the seating arrangements, every little detail matters when hosting a party.  But doing all the work yourself is daunting–  from food prep to seating arrangements, parties can be stressful and not everything always goes according to plan.

Ever throw a party where you’ve run out of food or wine? Have you thrown a party and had a meltdown ten minutes before guests arrived? It happens.  But with careful planning, organization and experience, you can throw a flawless party with a perfectly customized menu your guests will herald, ‘BRAVO’! That’s where the help of a professional caterer comes in.  So, if you’re on the fence about hosting that 40-person graduation party yourself, maybe these benefits to hiring a caterer will sway you:

How to throw a flawless party?
Ever throw a party where you’ve run out of food? Ever have a meltdown ten minutes before guests arrived? It happens. But with careful planning, organization and experience, you can throw a flawless party with a perfectly customized menu your guests will herald, ‘BRAVO’! That’s where the help of a professional caterer comes in.  So, if you’re on the fence about hosting that 40-person graduation party yourself, maybe these benefits to hiring a caterer will sway you:

Time Saving: You will already have the stress of planning your event, sending invitations and finding the perfect venue or cleaning your home, so do you really need the stress of arranging and preparing the catering yourself? By hiring a professional catering company, like the Austin Artisan, they can save you the time with creating menus, purchasing the food, and preparing and serving as guests arrive.

Stress Less: By hiring a professional caterer, you can relax, enjoy a cocktail and converse with your guest without worrying. All you have to do is agree to the menu and type of food you want and your caterer will take care of the rest.

Feed a Crowd: Cooking for your family is very different than cooking for a large group of 20-50 guests–especially those with food sensitivities. Finding the kitchen space, equipment, skill and energy to cook for the masses is a challenge.  A professional caterer has the experience to create a variety of dishes and knows precisely the right amount of food to prepare for your size guest list.Variety: The quality of food at a party can make or break the event.  A caterer can help you hand-select your menu and ensure the ingredients are fresh and high quality. Hiring a pro gives you access to many different styles and menus of food depending on the occasion and even your theme.

Provide Guidance: The majority of catering companies offer much more than top notch catering services, they have experienced professionals that each have a wealth of experience of working on events, planning menus, and organizing the entire day for a flawless party experience for you and your guests.

The Austin Artisans do something that no other company in Austin does; we create a unique culinary experience for every private catering event! Our interactive approach is what will have your guests asking, “When’s your next party?” From plated multicourse dinners to custom cocktail parties, we offer the Chef Experience everyone is talking about.

The Austin Artisan’s boutique catering, private party, and formal event catering services are sure to make your party less stressful.  We look forward to catering your next event!

11 Countdown to Christmas Party Planning Steps

Throw a Memorable Celebration without Losing Your Christmas Spirit!

Entertaining guests this holiday season? Need tips to pull-off a stress-free gathering?

To help you make your holiday gatherings extra-special, the Austin Artisan is brimming with festive ideas to help you prepare a grand, celebratory meal. Whether throwing an elegant holiday get-together or intimate cocktail party, these countdown to party planning steps will help you enjoy your party–just as much as your guests.

Plan for these eleven think-ahead steps to help host a flawless and memorable gathering:

1. Plan the menu
Begin planning your holiday gathering by reviewing recipes and menu ideas. Once you’ve decided on the number of courses, the format, and the theme, you’re ready to plan the menu. Consider what’s in season, what you can source locally, and what you feel comfortable preparing. If cooking on your own, start your shopping early to find specialty items.

The Austin Artisan can cater a magical Christmas gathering and help you plan the perfect menu for your event!   Check out our blog for some recipe ideas.

2.Get organized

Plan your table settings, serving dishes, and other holiday decorations. Our Boutique Catering Service will help you handle (almost) everything. Our Artisans are a professional team of servers, bartenders, chefs, and support staff. We can even help you source the right china, barware, glassware, and linens.

3. Consider dietary restrictions
Try to mix up gluten free options as well as salads and other meatless dishes for vegetarians.

4.  Select your appetizers
Plan for a few mouth-watering starters that warm up the palette for what’s to come: a main course that leaves your guests wanting seconds.

5. Set up beverage station
Create a beverage station near the kitchen so it will be convenient for guests to replenish ice, pour wine, and gather glassware. When it comes to the perfect Christmas gathering, our clients enlist our boutique catering services to help pair the best wines with the variety of foods you are serving. You’re sure to learn something new and find your favorite wine and food combination.

6.  Make a timeline for party day
Decide when you’ll be feasting, then count backward to determine when to put the turkey, ham or roast in the oven and what else needs to be cooked beforehand so you can relax and enjoy your time when guests arrive.

7. Prepare before guests arrive
Make it easy on yourself and serve as many room temperature dishes as possible. The Austin Artisan has been catering festive Christmas dinner parties for several years and has developed a step-by-step process to create a super organized, hassle-free dinner party for our clients.

8. Make the most of space.
To keep guests from crowding your kitchen while you are doing last minute preparations, put appetizers in other rooms around your home and if weather permits, encourage guests to gather on the back patio before the main course.

9. Select music
A few days before your holiday gathering, make a play list of that will set the mood.

10. Indulge your guests with sweets
You can never have too many sweets. Consider simple items like store-bought cookies or pies, and offer one decadent homemade dessert. The Austin Artisan can help plan for the perfect mix from freshly sliced fruit, to an assortment of pies and pastries.

11. Debrief
After the party, note successes and shortfalls that will guide your next event.

Host the ultimate holiday party — and forget the stress when you enlist the Austin Artisans to cater your Christmas celebration.  Spread the joy this season with neighbors, friends and family, and treat them to the best Christmas and holiday party they’ve been to all year! Nothing brings people together like the holidays!

 

How to Preserve Your Hatch Green Chiles

There are a ton of vegetables in-season right now: eggplant, green beans, okra… but our favorite by far is Hatch green chiles. Named for the region of New Mexico that they’re grown in, these peppers lend their signature heat-meets-sweet flavor to summertime meals.

 

Here at The Austin Artisan, we love using Hatch chiles in all kinds of dishes. Have you tried them in your grilled cheese? Incorporated them into lasagna? Or grilled up some spicy burgers? There are so many options, it feels wrong to only enjoy them for a few months every year.

 

If you love kicking up your dishes, or just want to have the option of enjoying good-quality ingredients all year round, then you should be preserving your Hatch chiles.

 

Heres how:

 

  1. Order a case of Hatch chiles—most grocery stores will take your order. Alternatively, look to warehouse stores, like Costco or Sam’s Club.
  2. Heat up the grill. In small batches, roast the chiles until the skin starts to blister and char. Charring is GOOD!
  3. Immediately upon removal from the grill, place the charred chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the cooled batch into half-gallon freezer bags. (If you have a vacuum sealer, even better! It’s a favorite gadget of mine. )
  5. Freeze in small batches. (Use your judgment and freeze in amounts you would use in a meal. You don’t want to freeze a large block; because once you defrost the chiles you have a limited amount of time to use them.)
  6. When you’re ready to get cooking, place the frozen bag in a bowl in the sink. Run COLD water over the chiles until they are thawed. This should take about 30 minutes, depending on size of batch.
  7. Once completely thawed, peel the charred skin and remove the seeds. Toss or compost.

 

What is left will surely make any dish a knockout!
Some ideas:

  • Super Bowl chili with Hatch chiles
  • Thanksgiving stuffing with Hatch chiles
  • Anytime scrambled eggs with a little Hatch chile heat

 

Your turn: Let us know your favorite way to incorporate them into your meals, or better yet, tag us in a picture on Facebook! We’re waiting to hear from you…

The Secret to Perfect Spring Lamb for Easter Brunch

Did you know that lamb is a seasonal food item, much like watermelon or sugar snap peas?

This tender meat is most abundant in spring. That’s because lambs are usually born in winter and sold in spring. As they graze on the new shoots of grass in March and April, their meat becomes sweeter. Roasted with garlic and herbs, spring lamb makes a mouthwatering centerpiece for Easter brunch.

Not sure how to prepare spring lamb, or what kinds of flavorings to use with it? We’ve got you covered!

Select Your Cut

For Easter brunch, you’ll probably want to choose a large cut of lamb meat like the leg. Selecting a leg with the bone and outer fat layer still intact will ensure you preserve as much flavor as possible. For other occasions, we prefer lamb chops, racks or shanks.

Season Wisely

There’s really no need to marinate lamb–in fact, marinating it can make the meat tougher. Just cover the outside of the leg with a very light layer of oil and a healthy dose of homemade seasoning, but don’t go overboard with different spices. Think simple: rosemary, salt and garlic is the perfect trifecta.

Low and Slow Is the Way to Go

Most cuts of lamb, including that well-seasoned leg you just prepared, cook best under low heat for a long period of time. This recipe from The Kitchn recommends broiling both sides of the leg first, then covering it with foil and cooking it for an hour at 325° F (for medium-rare). A meat thermometer is helpful in determining doneness. Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook a little after you’ve removed it from the oven.

For cuts like shanks, braising them in the slow cooker for several hours produces rich, savory meat that falls right off the bone.

Still Feeling Sheepish About Spring Lamb?

Let us handle Easter brunch with our Boutique Catering Services. Whether you want to serve spring lamb or prefer glazed ham, we can tailor the menu to make this year’s brunch an experience to remember. Contact us for more information.

Elevate Your Next Party with Celery Root Espuma

Celery root (also known as celeriac) is one of the most overlooked and underutilized vegetables in the produce section. Most people skip over it not because they dislike it, but because they have no idea what it looks like or what to do with it.

If you’ve never seen a celery root, it’s a roundish brown-and-white root vegetable with lots of smaller, hairlike roots poking out all over it. It has a lighter celery flavor than the stalks and works well in soups or as a purée. It softens up nicely when cooked.

To prepare celery root, use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel off the outer layer, then cube or roughly chop it (depending on the recipe). Give it an extra rinse to remove any residual dirt, as it tends to gather in the crevices of the root.

This recipe for celery root espuma is one of my favorite new additions to savory dishes. The combination of cream, garlic, thyme and nutmeg complements the subtle celery flavor, and the resulting espuma, or foam, gives the meal a sophisticated flair. Try it on steak tartare or a wonton canape with smoked salmon.

Note: You will need a siphon or whipped cream dispenser to prepare this recipe.

All It Takes

3 cups heavy cream
4 sprigs of thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups peeled and chopped celery root
Dash of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste

Let’s Get Cooking

  1. Bring cream, thyme and garlic to a boil.
  2. Add the celery root and bring back to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer.
  3. Once the celery root is fully cooked and fork-tender, strain and reserve the cream.
  4. Discard the thyme sprigs, then place the cooked celery root and garlic into a blender. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and purée until thin. Use the reserved cream to thin out the purée. You are going for a yogurt consistency.
  5. Once the purée is complete, place it into a siphon and apply two carbon dioxide charges. Be sure to vigorously shake the siphon just before serving. Espuma will hold for 24 hours if refrigerated.

Here at The Austin Artisan, we’ve been topping some dishes on our catering menu with a wonderful celery root espuma this week. Our boutique catering services include impressive edibles like this at every event. Contact us to get the scoop!