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  • Delayne Martin

The Time I Hired a Personal Chef

Updated: May 31, 2022

Charles and I tend to be slack when it comes to birthday presents. We tell each other what we want and the other one buys it. Not romantic, but it has worked for us. This year I wanted to do something a little different. We have stuff so I wanted to have a unique experience. Several months ago we tried Tapas Tuesdays at The Olive in Morganton. Laura Hicks, the chef, prepared small bites of truffle macaroni and cheese. While we chatted with her at the bar, she mentioned that she will do a personal meal in your home. A light bulb went off in my head. Charles and I have never had a personal chef come into our home and prepare a meal. After several emails back and forth we picked out a 4-course menu to celebrate his birthday. Lara arrived early to prepare the meal while we relaxed with a glass of wine and enjoyed talking to her about cooking and entertaining. Our first course was a “mini” charcuterie board. I put the word mini in quotation marks because it was anything but mini. It was loaded with smoked gouda, amarena cherry goat cheese, aged cheddar, tomato garlic and basil cheese, jalapeno havarti, black pepper salami, spicy dry pepperoni, and uncured ham, apricot and blackberry jams. After we enjoyed the board we sat down to dinner. Lara brought out each course and explained each dish.

Our next course was a salad of baby lettuce with apples, gorgonzola, caramelized onions and sliced almonds topped with a lemon vinaigrette. It looked amazing. We ate every last bite when I realized I hadn’t taken a picture. The main course was plantain stuffed chicken with mango gravy. The chicken was paired with orange butter roasted carrots and mushroom and shallot risotto. Again it was a lot of food. We ate leftovers several nights later.

The final course was chocolate cobbler a la mode. It was a decadent ending to the meal.

For the wine pairings we did our own, but Lara will do if you wish. We love to pick out wine so we did our own wine pairings. For the charcuterie board we chose a light bodied red wine Sea Glass Pinot Noir. For the salad we paired our greens with Kaya Winery’s 2020 SS Viognier. We discovered this refreshing wine on our winery vacation through north Georgia over the summer. For our main course we enjoyed a bottle of 2019 Reserve Gruner Veltliner from Burntshirt Vineyards. For dessert a port is usually served, but we aren’t sweet wine drinkers. When we do enjoy dessert wines we just treat the wine as dessert. For dessert the lava cake was rich and we chose to pair it with a nice cup of black coffee. It was the perfect balance.

Having a personal chef come into our home was a splurge that we can’t do often but the evening was amazing. It was nice to get dressed up or not get dressed up and enjoy a fantastic meal in your own home. Personal chefs don’t bring their own serving plates so you need to prepare for that. When in the planning stages be sure to let your chef be aware of any special dietary needs. I used my Christmas china that typically only comes out on Christmas morning. Your chef will need access to your cooking pieces and utensils. Take a few minutes when they arrive to show them where things are if you don’t want to sit and watch. I found it entertaining to sit and talk to Lara as she prepared our meal. Don’t think you have to clean your plate. It’s a lot of food and you want to save room to taste each course. Make sure to leave out your leftover containers. Ask your chef to pack up any leftover food and put it in the refrigerator. While we finished the meal Lara cleaned up the kitchen. I highly recommend treating yourself or celebrating a special occasion with hiring a personal chef.

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