La Cucina Stagionale

Blog for A Posto Personal Chef Services LLC in Newport, Oregon

Archive for the tag “culinary center in lincoln city”

A Posto personal chef services llc turns two!

I apologize for my absence.  While I’ve been good at sharing the radio program podcasts, I’ve been woefully negligent at my blog posts.  I have at least half a dozen unfinished posts sitting in my blog writing program.  I don’t really have any good excuses either.  Sure I’ve been busy; this summer was awesome for the business, but I could have made time to write.

Anyway, I am back and will do my best to post as often as I can.  I still have lots of things to share; it’s just making the sharing a priority.  So A Posto Personal Chef Services LLC turned two today.  We officially opened for business on August 1, 2010, but I was just getting off a plane from Italy so I don’t count that date.  On September 1, 2010, our website went live which in my mind, made us a a viable business.  Here are some highlights of what we’ve been up to over the past year:

  • Teaching: my true passion!
  • I have become a regular instructor at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City  where, along with Chef Sharon Wiest, I teach one-two classes a month.  Last October, I taught a 5-day Italian class that was a blast.  We made food from a different region every day and everyone’s favorite part of the day was the 11:00 AM snack where we had salumi’s, cheeses, and wine!
  • I’ve taught two cooking class workshops at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology a beautiful campus located at Cascade Head just north of Lincoln City.  I am working with the staff now to develop a workshop for 2013.
  • I started teaching 3-hour hands-on classes at the South Beach Community Center once a month.  I started with hands-on pasta making and have branched out into other menus over the past couple of months.  Bruce taught his first hands-on pizza class last weekend and will be teaching another class this month.
  • I have taught several private classes this year, many more than last year.  It’s always fun to get a group of people together in a private setting and work on a meal together.  One of my favorites was one I did back in July that was a birthday surprise for a dad from his family.  When I walked into the house, Mom said: “honey dinner’s here”.  Dad looked at me and said: “good, I didn’t want to go out anyway.”
  • I’ve scheduled with Oregon Coast Community College to teach homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheese making, starting in October, once a month through the end of the year.
  • Private Dinner Parties:
  • I have had the opportunity to cook for many special occasions over the past year.  We’ve not done as many weddings this year as last and most of them have been very small.  All of the dinner parties have been at either private homes or vacation rentals and have run the gamut on the type of celebration.  Some highlights are as follows:
  • An 85th vegan birthday celebration where there was over 400 years of collective wisdom in the room along with my first vegan tiramisu’!
  • A collective 60th birthday party with 12 friends who have known each other since kindergarten.
  • A 50th wedding anniversary where the entire family got dressed up for the event with three men showing up in tuxedos!
  • A family reunion where it was a first time visit to the Oregon Coast for many of the members.
  • Other Events:
  • I participated in three cook-offs and won at two of them.  They are held at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City 4 times a year: Jambalaya in January, Fish Taco in May, Mushroom in October and Chowder in November.  They are fun events and literally, hundreds of people show up.  I’ll be competing in the Mushroom cook-off this year again (won 2nd place last year) on October 6th.
  • I taught a team-building class for a group from Nike back in June.  I had three teams of participants and they were very competitive with each other.  It was fun and the food came out great.
  • I provided the food for the City of Lincoln City’s holiday party last December.  I made five different kinds of lasagne for over 150 people.  It was a fun night as there were several people coming back into the kitchen asking for the recipes.  I will be providing the food for the city again this year.
  • I provided the food for a charity fund raiser for the local hospital in Lincoln City.  It was an Italian menu and the homemade meatballs and sausage were the big hit!
  • Community Service:
  • I taught a few free one-hour classes for Food Share of Lincoln County this Spring.  We focused on a recipe for one vegetable that could be prepared within one-hour that is common to Food Pantry clients.  The participants received a copy of the recipe and the vegetable to take home.
  • I worked on the revision of the 10th anniversary Oyster Cloyster cookbook and was the chef coordinator last year (and will be again this year).  The Oyster Cloyster is an annual fundraiser for the aquarium science program at the community college.
  • I’m a sponsor and volunteer for the upcoming Harvest Meal at Forks Farm in Yachats on September 16.  The meal is a fundraiser for Ten Rivers Food Web which helps to develop programs that focus on local foods within our communities.

Whew!  I am so excited that I have been able to take my passion for cooking and sharing of good food and make it my life’s work.  This year has been one of growth personally and professionally and I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.  I’ve made some beautiful contacts with like-minded people this past year, many of them farmers, and I look forward to the continued relationships.  I am very happy that I made the choice to change my path in life and encourage all of you to find your passion and follow it!  It’s why we are here!  A presto!

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Buy Local Radio: April 11, 2012

I was the guest on Buy Local Lincoln county’s radio program this morning.  You can listen to what I’m up to these days as well as what else is going on with other Buy Local members and events.

To download this podcast to your computer’s hard drive, simply right click on the link below and choose ‘save link as’ or ‘save target as’

BuyLocal4.11.12

cucina bene: mangia bene (the many faces of seafood stew)

I’m competing in a chowder cook-off this Saturday, November 12 at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City.  There will be about 650 people in attendance and each competitor has to provide about 12 gallons of chowder!  The entry categories are either clam or seafood chowder.  Most of the competitors are going to be making a white clam chowder, but I am making a red seafood stew that is really a brodetto from Italy.  American red chowders originated with the immigrants from Portugal who added tomatoes to clear chowders made along the east coast, but nearly all the countries bordering along the Mediterranean make a type of seafood stew with tomatoes.  The brodetto recipe I am using is from the restaurant I worked at last summer as part of my culinary program: Alla Lanterna in Fano, Italy.  Chef Elide has won many brodetto competitions with this recipe; we’ll see how it works for me.

Brodetto, like many favorite Italian foods, originated from necessity and poverty. It is a fish stew from the region of Le Marche, similar to the Cacciucco from Livorno in Tuscany, Burrida from Liguria, Bouillabaisse from Marseille, France, and even Cioppino from San Francisco (whose name comes from Ligurian dialect: ‘ciuppin’ or ‘chopped’ since the Italians who emigrated there are mostly from Genoa Liguria).  The fisherman living in the coastal towns of Le Marche would bring back their catch to sell at the markets. The fish (Cuttlefish, gurnard, cod, scorpion fish, gray, striped, and or reef mullet, mantis prawns, monkfish, mackerel, or sole) that could not be sold, for whatever reason, was brought home for the fisherman and his family to consume. A stew would be made with the fish and it would be served with sliced and or toasted bread. Oftentimes, the stew would be cooked onboard the fishing boat in a cauldron over hot coals. The fish used was often spoiled which is why an acid, such as wine or vinegar, is used in most of these recipes as a way to counteract the spoilage. In Fano, the fisherman would traditionally drink a beverage of water mixed with of wine that was close to being vinegar (acetella) to go with their version of brodetto.

Brodetto

Mussels, clams, scampi and other more prized shellfish would never have gone into a traditional brodetto — they’d have been sold. The fishing families often would keep the heads of the fish they had sold and boil them separately to make a fish stock which they would then add to their brodetto to enhance the flavor.

Other ingredients and seasonings varied from town to town, and family to family, but were simple, as the fishing families had to barter with farmers for herbs. Olive oil was a constant, and one could also find onions, fennel, garlic, parsley, vinegar (often substituted for by dry white wine), a little salt, and abundant freshly ground pepper. Tomato paste and tomato sauce (used sparingly) didn’t appear until the mid-late 1800s, and the use of hot pepper (pepperoncino) is very recent (and is only used with pasta con sugo di brodetto in Fano).

Today, there are 4 styles of traditional brodetto in Le Marche officially recognized by the Accademia Del Brodetto. All of them vary slightly in the type of ingredients used:

· Brodetto Anconitana

· Brodetto alla Fanese

· Brodetto di Porto Recanati

· Brodetto San Benedetto

To be recognized by the Accademia Del Brodetto, the fish must be 100% fresh with 80% of that fish from the Adriatic Sea and from one of the 4 coastal areas: Ancona, Fano, Porto Recanati, and San Benedetto.

The Confraternita Del Brodetto (established in 2004) is an additional association with the following objectives:

‘The Brotherhood of Brodetto is an apolitical and non-profit organization. It aims to promote culture and traditions of the cuisine of local seafood, especially the match of brodetto and wine, and preferably those of the area (Pesaro/Urbino). To achieve its objectives, the Brotherhood: organizes and promotes activities and meetings aimed at developing knowledge of culture and culinary traditions in the local fishing industry; establishes and gives awards to those who work for the goals of brotherhood, and collaborates with other associations with similar objectives.’

The differences between the 4 brodetto’s are as follows:

· Brodetto Anconitana: this one calls for 13 different kinds of fish to symbolize the Apostles. It is made with onion sautéed in olive oil, fish, tomato sauce, parsley, and vinegar.

· Brodetto Porto Recanati: this one made with onion sautéed in olive oil, fish stock, saffron, fish that has been floured, white wine, and black pepper.

· Brodetto San Benedetto (which is the most famous outside of Le Marche): this one is made with onions sautéed in olive oil, white wine, green and red peppers, fish, vinegar, and black pepper.

The final version, brodetto al Fanese, is made with onion and garlic sautéed in olive oil, fish, water, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, and freshly ground black pepper.

Brodetto

Fano is an ancient town in Le Marche, it was known as Fanum Fortunae after a temple of Fortuna located there. Its first mention in history only dates from 49 BC; Julius Caesar held it, along with Pesaro and Ancona as a way to control the Adriatic Sea. Caesar Augustus established a colony, and built a wall, some parts of which remain, around the town. In the AD 2 Augustus also built an arch (which is still standing) at the entrance to the town. Today, the city is an important fishing port on the Adriatic Sea and a well-known beach resort.

Fano

The fishing boats in Fano leave in the evening and return the next morning with their catch. There is a large commercial fish market near the port that services the restaurant industry as well as a smaller, retail market serving the public within the city walls. One can find the freshest fish available at either location.

Fishing Boats

Brodetto al Fanese Recipe: (serves 6)

4 lbs. fresh seasonal fish and seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, halibut, cod, crab)

1 1/3 cups EVOO

1/4 cup wine vinegar

2 cups fish stock or clam juice

3/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

Lots of freshly ground pepper

The brodetto made at Alla Lanterna is Fanese style and starts with onion and garlic sautéed in plenty of olive oil. Once the onion and garlic is soft, fish stock mixed with tomato paste is added along with salt. The fish is then added in the order of time it takes to cook. For example, clams are added first as they takes a longer time to cook. Once all the fish is in the stew, copious amounts of freshly ground black pepper is then added. The stew is simmered for about 10 minutes longer and then served in shallow bowls with sliced bread to be dunked in the stew.

Once the stew has been eaten, the leftover sauce and fish are cooked with rigatoni (red pepper flakes are also added) for a delicious pasta dish.

Yummy

Enjoy the stew and wish me luck!  Here’s a nice article covering the event from a local paper: Oregon Coast Today

Oyster Cloyster Demo and Chef Garnett Black

I am the chef coordinator this year for the 2011 Oyster Cloyster , a benefit to support the Aquarium Sciences Program at Oregon Coast Community College. Chefs participate in a oyster competition and  must come up with a hot or cold oyster dish that is judged by a panel of peers and the public.  One of a kind glass trophies are made by The Edge Art Gallery in South Beach for the winners; it’s a fun event and for a worthy cause.

During the first week in October, I partnered with Chef Garnett Black, a long-running participant and winner in the chef competition, to provide oyster recipe demonstrations from the 10th annual Oyster Cloyster cookbook.  The following photos are from the demo at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City.  The dishes were Chef Black’s Asian Rouge Rumaki Oyster recipe from 2009 and Chef Enrique Sanchez/Bruce Jackson’s Happy Curry Oyster Clouds from 2007.  Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of Joy Gregory, Joy Gregory Design

A Posto personal chef services llc celebrates 6 months of biz

I can’t believe we’ve been in business for 6 months!  A year ago, I was wrapping up my time in New York and getting ready to fly to Italy for the rest of my training.  I wasn’t sure, at that time, what I was going to do after I graduated.  During my externship at the seafood restaurant: Alla Lanterna, I came across a website for a personal chef somewhere on the east coast.  I had been doing research for a paper for school and stumbled upon my new career!  6 months later, I can say that it was definitely the right path to follow.  While we are not quite a household name yet, our presence and business continues to progress.  Some highlights of what we’ve been up to are as follows:

  • I will be teaching my first official hands-on pasta making class at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City on March 19.  I will also be teaching a hands-on brunch class to celebrate Mother’s Day along with Executive Chef, Sharon Wiest on May 7.  And, we just scheduled a week-long Italian Intensive class October 24-28.  I’m excited to be part of the team that provides culinary instruction to the residents and visitors of Lincoln City.
  • I will be teaching my first workshop at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on August 20.  The participants will be making pasta and sauces from several Italian regions on the beautiful and pristine campus located just north of Lincoln City at Cascade Head.
  • I am working with Food Share of Lincoln County to develop a cooking class program for the Food Share clients who receive monthly food boxes.
  • Bruce & I have also been volunteering at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City.  We’ve met some great chefs, nice people, and have learned new recipe and techniques.  Plus, we get paid in food!!!
  • I worked with the Taft High School Culinary Program from October-February as a chef mentor to help the team prepare for the annual ProStart competition which is held in Portland.  The team chose a Sicilian menu which included caponata, cannoli, and tuna.  While they did not win, they had a great time and added some Italian words to their culinary vocabulary.
  • We have embarked on a 6-month radio campaign with BOSS/KCUP here in Newport to help make us a household name.  Our clients are ‘anyone who eats’…… Smile
  • We’ve donated 4 in-kind dinners to both the Lincoln City and Newport Chambers, and to Samaritan Hospital in both Lincoln City and Newport.  We’ve cooked for three of those donations and have made new friends from the experiences.
  • I’ve become a Lincoln City Chamber Ambassador, and will be meeting with the Newport Ambassadors in May to present the business and feed them a good Italian breakfast!
  • We moved our website to a CMS (Client Management System) so we could respond more quickly and easily.  The website has been revised over the past couple of months in content only; the original design remains intact as it is exceptional….we’ve received numerous compliments from many of our clients and potential clients.
  • We created a Facebook page for the business and keep our fans up to date on the latest status……….become a fan yourself.
  • I’ve been a guest on local AM radio a few times and will be on again twice this month: March 14 on KBCH with the Lincoln City Chamber Chat and on March 23 on KCUP.
  • We’ve booked several small dinner parties for wine tastings, weddings, anniversaries, and life celebrations for this Spring, Summer, and Fall.  It feels good to have work scheduled 6 months or more out and know that more will come in.
  • I’ve taught several private cooking classes and have more scheduled.  They have all been  hands-on up to this point, but we can also do demonstration or a combo if the client desires.  All we need is a private kitchen and at least 4 people to make one happen.
  • I’ve also done some private one-on-one instruction.  It’s been really fun to help the client learn to make something new and then enjoy it with their family and/or friends.
  • Bruce has been helping me with preparation and serving at our dinner party bookings, managing our finances, and contributing to the website and the blog.  He’s also been feeding our friends his incredible pizza; he continues to improve his skill with every pie he makes.

It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time and we thank everyone who has supported us along the way.  We look forward to cooking more great food for great people that is always healthy, fresh and in season, and affordable!

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giving back to the community

Since our inception, we have been busy implementing our company vision and working to make a difference in the community.  Our goals are to use our passion and creative cooking talent to produce excellent food for our clients, share our  knowledge and recipes to help inspire creativity and passion in others, and to act as mentor to those who may have similar aspirations. 

Pati  has started volunteering for Food Share of Lincoln County here in Newport.   A little time spent working with this terrific organization, and you soon realize how much need there is in the community for simple necessities like food and water, and you realize how dedicated the people who run the organization really are towards helping people in need. Pati is learning the basics of the pantry distribution right now and will be working on developing a plan to provide recipes, samples, and eventually cooking classes for the food box recipients.

We are both involved with the Culinary Center in Lincoln City directed by Executive Chef Sharon Wiest. The center offers some great classes for food lovers and has allowed us to connect with some of the local culinary resources.  This past weekend, we participated in the Pacific NW Wild Mushroom Cook-off.  Some of the event proceeds went to support the Taft High School Culinary Program located in Lincoln City.  We had a chance to meet Pam Simpson, the driving force behind the program, and we were very impressed by her vision, passion, and desire to help the students achieve their goals in the culinary world.  We may have an opportunity to act as mentors to the students in the future.   

Beyond these activities, we are supporting some of our local chamber events by donating gift baskets bundled with our personal chef services. Pati created ‘A Night in Italy’ gift basket and the lucky recipients will be able to enjoy dinner and a movie in the comfort of their home. This past weekend,  Bruce spent a day volunteering at the Oregon Coast Cake and Cupcake Camp held in Newport. The charity event raised money for Donate Life Northwest.

We feel good about what we have done in such a short time, and we are looking forward to more opportunities to give to our community in the future. 

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
    Margaret Mead

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