Yes I am a foodie.
Yes I like going to see what some of the newest chefs are cookin as much as I like hitting the streets and feasting on a chicken tikka burrito.
I have taken the foodie flag even further by diving into all sorts of scenes from baguetting for the Yelp fans, serving alongside cooks from various great restaurants, opening up new restaurants that lost their chef on the first night (Noire Lounge anyone?), and writing stories about my fellow foodies and some of the more underground scenes going on. I was reminded by Twitter that it has already been a full year since I was accepted as one of “the” foodies of America via Eat Retreat which is still an experience and an event that I will never forget. The diversity of the various projects and people that came together to open up and share their recipes and their stories and their lives in the food scene was profound. One person in particular was a feisty feline I met early on by the fire on the first night. It took only seconds for us both to identify ourselves as east coasters (NJ/NY to be precise…badabing!) and minutes to become friends during the weekend. One of her many many projects she mentioned was a new site called Kitchit.
Kitchit is what Lyft brought to cab service and Airbnb brought to old time BnB’ing via the catering/private chef industry. You want to have a dinner party? You wanna have a cooking class? You wanna have a five star dinner by a well known local chef? Go online. Pick your chef. Let them design a menu (or just go for it). Pick a date and there you have it. Before using the service myself I actually had a small stint working Kitchit events with my very successful and talented Chef Joel Coleman. It was an honor to work and serve alongside him at these various parties where we absolutely made each person’s/party/etc night with the food. The best part was hoping and praying for leftovers so that I could scurry home and eat a much more simplified version of whatever we had served, sans usually the event’s favorite courses as those never survived. The Kitchit work stopped only because Chef took on a new role that he is sharing via tumblr! Kitchit the company, however, continues to expand to new cities. It currently serves Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, aka the hottest cities for food in America right now!
It was after my stint with Chef Joel and the upcoming anniversary of my family that I started to have an idea. My parents were both finally retiring from the Garden State of NJ to do what every good East coaster does and move to Florida aka Heaven’s waiting gate. This meant my last childhood home was being sold and my only ties left to the tri-state area would be my friends still in the area. We decided to have one nice last meal and my mom, a fellow foodie, started listing some places she was interested in. My mom is of the old foodie guard which seems to be totally objected to any of the more modern takes going down in the kitchen so she totally scoffed at any Mamafuku or the like. We tried to get into Daniel but it was booked. Per Se was too much and apparently was not good enough as they had tried the bar food and were not too impressed. As it got harder and harder to find a good meal, I got the idea of seeing what Akiko and the Kitchit crew could do.
What she did was find one of her favorite new Kitchit chefs and friend David Goody to drive all the way out from Brooklyn to serve my family in our little old suburb town of Montgomery, New Jersey. We chatted a bit and I basically told him that my parents were foodies and that my mom was French and enjoyed French food. I said you should try to placate my dad with some sort of meat and my mom loves scallops. After that Chef Goody sent me a menu that had me foaming from the get go. The menu looked like this:
— THE MENU —
Chilled Spring Pea soup, salmon roe, pea tendrils, lemon.
Baby Beets, Mache, Marcona Almond and Ginger Shallot Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese Mousse, Toasted Bread.
Seared Scallops, Cauliflower, Onion, Summer Truffle Coulis, Chervil.
Seared Duck Breast, Parisienne Gnocchi, Sauteed Grapes, Broccoli, Walnut Pesto.
Fresh Baked Madeleines with Lemon Curd, Meringue, Raspberry Powder.
I told my parents little. I warned Chef my parents were of the chatty and curious type and then waited for the day to arrive. Our family got all dressed up and treated it like we were going out to any of the above mentioned restaurants. Chef Goody showed up promptly and proceeded to unload his bag of goodies into our kitchen. I think the sheer number of plastic containers he had was enough to get both my parents instantly asking questions while he prepped. We saw paper think slices of cauliflower floating in water, dark black sauce next to bright white sauce, and CO2 containers that neither had seen before in the kitchen. Chef Goody was able to handle the barrage of questions while putting together the meal in our home which made for a fun time for all. We proceeded to drink bubbly and wine in the comfort of our own home while chatting with a Chef that more and more revealed his clout in the community. I was pleased to get to impress my parents in front of him by being able to volley the latest names and restaurants and trends going on in the seen and he shared some great stories about the places he had worked and traveled. I think one of highlights was hearing how he had recently served mister Murdoch himself in NYC, shrinking the world around us even further as well as exciting us about the food that was to come.
Chef did not fail there as each course was more beautiful and tastier than the next.
The amuse was fresh oysters served with some bacon fat and little onion pearls and the beautiful edible flowers you see. He definitely knew how to get the party started with those little buggers.
The first course was a chilled soup, something my boyfriend had not really tried. It was “Chilled Spring Pea soup, salmon roe, pea tendrils, lemon.” Those molecular lemon bites literally could be sold on the crack foodie market and make someone rich. They were a mix of lemon and olive oil and just bursted with flavor each time you found one. The most amazing little tidbit of this dish was the spring peas. Chef actually took the actual peas out, made pea-like balls from cucumbers, and then replaced them with these faux-cumbers. An amazing touch that definitely raised eyebrows and spoons quickly. It only took one course to learn that another bonus that comes from enjoying this fine dining at home was the freedom to be a little more like us while eating. What I mean by that is the GrilledCheezGuy family is not afraid to capture every morsel of tasty goodness if it is that good. And this was no exception. Bowls were licked clean right in front of Chef as he prepared the next course.
The second course was the following: Baby Beets, Mache, Marcona Almond and Ginger Shallot Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese Mousse, Toasted Bread.
IMAGES NOT SHOWN
(DUE TO THE LACK OF RESISTANCE TO NOT START EATING IMMEDIATELY)
It’s true. It seems it only took one course for us to forget to try and capture our foodporn moments. All I can do is try to best describe to you what we witnessed during that course. It was like a beautiful little art sculpture scene made up of beets made in various ways. I am a huge beet fan and can remember savoring each bite of beet I had alongside the delicious goat cheese and other tasty bits. It was quite beautiful and delicious and luckily we noticed our failing to photo before the next course. We vowed to be more on top of our game so that we had some proof after we passed out from the food/wine coma.
The third course was a dedication to my mother’s request with an absolutely breathtaking plate of “Seared Scallops, Cauliflower, Onion, Summer Truffle Coulis, Chervil.” The scene was something out of the garden of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland with the black and white from the truffles and the cauliflower and the scallops battling it out on the plate. It was really hard to decide which sauce to use with the scallops more and I made sure to try and ration things out so that I had enough till the very bitter end. I was happy to see my mom finishing first and raving about how well he had cooked them as I knew he had now satisfied her for sure, if I had any doubts.
It was now time for Chef to take our parent number two with his fourth course: “Seared Duck Breast, Parisienne Gnocchi, Sauteed Grapes, Broccoli, Walnut Pesto.” My dad is a hunter and actually still goes duck hunting on a yearly basis so it was funny when he didn’t recognize the duck right away on the counter (right picture). Once served to us on the plate alongside some sauteed grapes and parisienne gnocchi (big difference!…look it up!) there was no question about what we were having! I remember being quite full already and as I worked my way though this one while my father scarfed it down with delight. So fast actually that he proceeded to watch me like a buzzard to see if I was going to survive the course or not. I let him swoop in for a few bites as I could tell he enjoyed it so much. It was definitely a treat and quite a large portion as well which everyone enjoyed. By this point stories were flying about our lives and he was already family to us as we watched him start preparing our dessert.
And what a dessert it was. Keeping with our frenchy roots he served us all beautiful plates of “Fresh Baked Madeleines with Lemon Curd, Meringue, Raspberry Powder.” I love lemon curd like a fat kids loves cake…..specifically the kind with lemon curd in it. Somehow the taste of the dessert brought me back from the brink and I was able to polish off every last bite of it. The one fascinating fact about this one was the raspberry powder. Chef told us there is a store in NYC (Kalustyans) that actually sells all types of powders you can buy and use. I loved this simple addition that brought life to the plate and the dish at the same time and look forward to seeking it out.
All in all the Kitchit experience truly is like nothing else you can find in a restaurant and not just because it is not in an actual restaurant. It is because both sides bring a little of of their lives and their loves to the table and make for a once-in-a-lifetime meal. A meal that the chefs concoct especially for you in mind which is especially nice as often fine-dining occasions can include a few rounds of plates that you really might not like. I’m not saying this means you should give your chef a list of demands, but like Eleven Madison Park does with their menu, it is nice to list some of your favorite foods to see what the chef might do. It is also fun because you will always be more comfortable in your own home, whether that be literally because of the cozy chairs you have or because you are free from the constraints that some places bring with them. For us, there could not have been a better way to say goodbye to our New Jersey home than to spend it in the room we shared together the most, enjoying a meal that no restaurant in NYC could have made more perfect for us.
If you are living in the NYC area then I highly encourage you to check our Chef David Goody and see if he is still available for hire. If you are fortunate to live in any of the cities that Kitchit serves, then I encourage you to find an occasion or a reason to have a chef come and serve you soon. They are always evolving and now allow for things such as “Going Dutch”, which means you can have your friends all split the cost and pay separately directly on the site! A great way to have a fun food party with friends. I hope to try this idea myself in the near future! Want to learn to cook like the chef that served you? Many teach cooking classes for you and your friends where you can learn AND eat in the same day! There are a variety of options to choose from and they even have full concierge service to walk you through it. Stay tuned for future posts about Kitchit experiences from both sides….
Update: Chef David Goody will actually be doing some traveling before he moves to the bay area to become a sous chef at a yet unnamed mid-market restaurant. Excited to see he will be serving us out here!
Photos by Michael Davidson