Monday, August 18, 2014

Up and coming? Oh wow!

Designed by Kari Higa,
Artist Extraordinaire
So here's a little glimpse into the dinner party two Saturdays ago when I was invited to be "Co-Chef" at the home of the Chef where I am a Server.

I think I'm going to stretch this experience out to maybe three or four posts over the next week or so. I mean, there is so much I want to tell you.

And if you remember, Kari (whose art is on display up there) listed some questions about the party she was interested in. And those questions, Kari, were absolutely perfect because they really helped me organize my thoughts. Otherwise, I would be ALL over the place! LOL

Her questions (which inquired about Auntie Deedles' suggestion about how I could properly relax) were these: 

Kari: So here are the things my inquiring mind wants to know..
1. Did Deedles' relaxation technique work? {see below}
2. How many guests?
3. What was his kitchen like?
4. What was on the menu?
5. Did you and the chef chitchat while preparing or was it all shop talk?
6. What new techniques did you learn?
7. Your favorite dish. Please don't tell me Boston butt.. Hehe
8. Did Matty take off his clothes?
9. Topic of conversation at dinner.
10. How you celebrated your successful evening.

Deedles: The key is to relax. Here's Auntie Deedles' tips on relaxing (whether you want them or not).
1. Sex. Get those endorphins working.
2. Shower. Invigorate that body!
3. Shower sex. 
4. Put on soft music, read or nap.
5. Wake up sex.
6. Bubble bath (sex is messy).
7. Massage, no happy ending. You may be cooking wet noodles, you don't want to become one!
Just put your mind to fun mode and enjoy yourself! If tomatoes are thrown pick 'em up and make a salad :)

So I'm going to cover all of these, but today I want to tell you about how I helped with the menu AND about the TOAST Chef made in my honor! (OMG, yes, you heard that right!)

He basically decided to have a simple dinner since this was at his home and he didn't need to impress people with any food artistry like he does at the restaurant. So for the main dish, he chose a simple Chicken Florentine. It was so interesting to see him prepare it because he didn't need to follow a written recipe! I mean, duh! This man is a professional Chef with a huge reputation and years of experience! He could probably prepare a meal in his sleep!

He basically roasted the chicken, removed the bones, pan seared it with roasted garlic, homemade chicken broth (not the canned stuff), butter, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. And then..... he looked at me and asked if I had any suggestions to give it a summery feel. I swear I almost peed my pants right there on the spot! I mean, he didn't ask in a way that felt like a test or to put me on the spot. He just asked it in a casual way like he was genuinely interested.

So I suggested some kind of lemon glaze, maybe a little on the strong side. Why I said "...a little on the strong side", I have no idea. It's just what occurred to me in the moment. Then I started freaking because I knew he would think I was waaaaaay out of my league. But he just raised his eyebrows a bit and said, "Perfect. Let's go with that." 

I got a little lightheaded with excitement when he said that because coming from Chef, that is a HUGE compliment -- and validation -- or something!! So we made a lemon glaze (that was a little on the strong side!! LOL) and it turned out perfect! And was a big hit with the guests!

The chicken was so frigging moist and tender, it's like it melted in your mouth. And the lemon glaze? Well, it was perfect if I do say so myself! LOL He served it with some delicious garlic mashed potatoes, garnished with some Spanish paprika, and decided on a Francis Coppola chardonnay. He decided on that wine because he said it's light and citrusy. 

When we got to the table, Chef got everyone's attention and offered a toast to moi. Matty will have to tell you the exact wording but it included the phrase, " up and coming chef to watch." OMG! I literally almost spilled my drink and passed out. That would not have been a pretty picture. Falling head-first into my plate! OMG!

Okay, stay tuned for more. Over the next week or two I'll be adding a few more episodes. The most important of which is what I learned about myself. I'll just say this for now. I am very proud of myself and feeling more hopeful about my future. :)


  1. Seems like taking this job was one of the best decisions you've ever made. Congrats. Sounds like an amazing night and confirmed your career goals. Sometimes we think we want something, get to experience a taste and go "ewww", but this reinforces your dreams which is always nice. Can't wait to hear the rest.

  2. Nice piece of artwork!

    You are making my mouth water just thinking about the chicken dinner! Real chicken no less, not that prefab boneless filet garbage.

    Maybe some day a dinner party for you guys and and your Internet friends? It would be well worth a trip to Boston!


  3. That's awesome Brad! Another step in the right direction! Chef obviously doesn't have a ego problem. He sounds like he's really proud of you too. Can't wait for the next installment.

  4. Haha! Love the lists from the ladies and awesome job, B! I have to admit some of what you said sounds kind of like a foreign language to me. He did what with the chicken, now? I shove chicken into the crock pot with broth (the canned kind!) at the beginning of the week, cook it and throw it on whatever nonsense I feel like eating for the next five days. Seriously. Shell is not a chef. Hmm. Could you come stay with me for a bit? A long bit? Matty will rent his chef out, right?

  5. Ack! What did I write? I didn't mean that in a gross way, so all you pervs (Matty!) get your head outta the gutter. Cooking rental only!

  6. That meal had to be delicious, Bradley. And your lemon glaze suggestion could not have been more perfect. See, this is what happens when you answer instinctively and don't have time to think too much. Congrats on a job well done. You definitely did yourself proud. So looking forward to the next installment. :)

  7. Very exciting Brad..Can't wait to hear about the rest of the night!
    Glad Chef is taking an interest in you as a future chef. I'm sure you will learn some great tips being around him.

  8. That is amazing and awesome and wonderful! I'm sitting here with a huge grin on my face, I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to read the rest of your posts and more long-term to read about you becoming that "up and coming Chef to watch!" :D

  9. I've been dying to hear both you and Matt's version of the dinner party! You have every reason to be proud. Sounds like this is the first step on the path to following your dreams!

  10. Hi Brad,
    Congratulations on a job well done! It sounds like a fantastic meal (including lemon glaze) and a great job. What an inspiring toast to you! I couldn't agree with Susan any more: there are times not to over-think things. And this was one of those moments. When the Chef asked for your suggestion, you went with your gut instinct - and all was fine! I must say you have developed a real "flare" for keeping all of us on the edge of your seats by stretching out the answers to all of these questions from " inquiring minds" lol. (Including post dinner celebration!) over several days or weeks! Oh well c'est la vie! We'll be sitting on the edge of our seats.
    Cheers & Congrats,
    David Eaton
    San Jose, CA
    P.S. - now I see how far behind I am in responding if I take the 6:45am (PST) train to work instead of the 5:45 am lol

  11. Cheers Brad! Looks like you're on your way to a terrific future. I like this chef and the way he's kind of taken you under his wing. Seems like your talent and hard work and being the amazing person you are has landed you exactly where you need to be right now. Very excited for you!

  12. Good morning future Chef Bradley. You do know don't you, that the title of this post takes on a whole different meaning if that cute little bear picture wasn't there? Maybe that's just me (it usually is). Your excitement is contagious! I'm so very, very happy for you. As for cooking, I'm with Shell. I have absolutely no problem with canned broth or bullion cubes for that matter. I've watched cooking shows and thought "Hmm that's interesting, pretty and way too much trouble" ! I appreciate anyone who can cook and loves it enough to want to make a living at it. You have a gift and an understanding mentor and with a little hard work, oh the places you will go!

  13. So proud of you, Brad! Can't wait to read more about your amazing night.

  14. Brad, an Up and Coming Chef!! Woohoo!!!. The chicken Florentine sounds absolutely delicious! Roasting the chicken first, huh.. I have to try that when I have time. Did he use a whole chicken or pieces? And the lemon glaze on the strong side? GENIUS! Like Susan and David said, you have the instinct.. Going with your gut really paid off!

    And the toast! I can't stop smiling! I think I may be a bit smitten for your chef. He sees your desire and talent, but him encouraging that and nurturing that is truly remarkable.

    I will patiently wait for the dinner invitation.. Hehe. ❤️

  15. This is all so exciting! Remember back to when you were worried about taking that leap into the new job? Well, you got that decision dead right! One of my workmates at the kitchenwares shop I work in (it's semi-commercial to the restaurant industry) is an ex-chef and when I told him a friend who wants to go to Culinary School has recently been taken under the wing of the Head Chef of the restaurant he's a Server at, he said that you will learn so much more just from that kind of mentor/protégée relationship than you ever can in school (not to say it's not worth doing, but all the wealth of information from Chef's tips and experiences he passes on is priceless). I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your fabulous evening!

  16. A perfect first post! And a perfect evening! You should be proud. You were paid a high compliment, and I doubt Chef throws those around lightly. Very, very cool, Brad.

    Peace <3

  17. Brad! So proud of you. You are an awesome person and it sounds like you have an awesome future. Big hugs for you and also for Matt. (Matt's posts on Facebook reach me 12 hours earlier then the posts sent to my e-mail.)

  18. That's amazing Brad, I'm so happy the chef realizes that he has a soon to be chef working with him and that he likes you. Go Brad!!! I'm proud of you! Lots of love

  19. SO glad you didn't face-plant in the Florentine Chicken.

    Absolutely thrilled to hear about your evening, and if Chef said those words, in front of hiw own friends? Then he really appreciates you and thinks highly of you.
    Chefs can be ruthless buggers, both when saying it is bad, and when saying it is good. So, you are on Chef's good side!

    WELL DONE!!! So happy for you!

  20. I don't want to jump to any conclusions since you have a few more entries on the way, but I'm starting to get the impression you had a good time at this dinner.

  21. Sounds great, Brad! Congratulations!! Curious to read the rest of the story :)

  22. Why wouldn't you be up and coming. In fact, I think you proved that with your lemon glaze suggestion. But I completely get the excitement. There are few things better than discovering your dream and finding that you may just have what it takes to make it come true. Onwards and upwards from here for you. Don't forget to enjoy every step of the way.

  23. yay!! big smiles and hugs to you

  24. Congratulations Co-Chef Brad :) Can't wait to read all about that wonderfull evening.

  25. Congratulations Brad! It is so heart warming to see good things happen to those who deserve them. I am also wondering about when you are going to start online cooking classes? Cooking with Brad would be a great addition to the blog and much needed by those who aspire to be good cooks but lack that intuitive feel for what pairs well together like me. P.S. my kids would really appreciate it!

  26. Great idea Pam! Cooking with Brad ... my 17 yr old granddaughter would watch it. She has been taking culinary cooking in high school & would love a young person giving helpful hints. You tube it! We'll all watch & learn from you ... The best way to learn a craft is to teach it ... you have to figure out how to do things. So excited to read more on the Your FIRST great Co-Chef meal. Know there will be a 2nd & 3rd & more! Love from Alaska Ann Alaskan

  27. Yikes, so hungry now! Bravo, Brad.