Celebrating Life during A Night Of Bling Cuisine!Beef / January 31, 2023
I really love to cook. I love the sultry atmosphere of a hot kitchen. The familiar height of the countertop against my waist as I wield a knife across whatever is currently being prepped on my cutting board. I geek out over the little dishes that I arrange in straight rows holding the ingredients I will systematically add to a simmering crock of possibility. And I love it when my guests begin to arrive and remark how good everything smells as I offer them a taste and straighten my apron.
But make no mistake. Cooking is work. It requires discipline, skill, patience, and a familiarity with techniques and flavors. It requires the biggest commitment of all: time.
What else is like this? Well, life, really. Your career. Raising children. Vacuuming stairs. Following a passion. Fishing out snack remnants from behind the third seat. Maybe even buttoning your lip around family during the holidays. And each of these actions offers an outcome that feels satisfying. But why has cooking become the villain when the result can be something that gives you strength, fortifies your health, brings people together in conversation and peace, and helps nourish someone who needs a little love-on-a-plate?
These are all the thoughts that go through my head when I’m planning one of my Night of Bling Cuisine Indulgent Dining Experiences. It’s how I form the narrative I will share with them upon introducing my style of approaching food. During the heat of the moment, I feel alive. I feel gratitude for how our bodies work and think. I am awed by the ease with which we summon our fingers to deftly slice a pear into perfect halves; to knead dough and know it’s ready because of a sensory cue in our minds that can’t possibly be written into a recipe. I am HOME when I am feeding others.
Let me tell you about an evening that defined all this and more. A night where I was feeding people who understand what ‘hard’ means. As survivors of ovarian cancer, they are part of the community of people within Teal Diva in Charlotte, NC. They ‘get’ an experience like that refines you, but they also understand that hard equals satisfying. And even more so that to be in the moment, especially while around the sacred space of a dining table, is exquisitely unique and celebratory.
Planned for weeks, eaten in one evening, let me share with you a couple of the dishes I created and served, and included these important ingredients: Friendship. Laughter. Connection. Grace. Love.
Appetizer: Roasted heirloom tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and cocktail olives with buffalo burrata topped with an African inspired parsley, mint, jalapeno and lemon pistou.
Main Course: Black lava salt and rosemary crusted filet mignon over browned butter mashed yukons topped with mayonnaise and mustard roasted asparagus and featuring a spiked apple plum and ginger chutney with whole grain, citrus, and parsley croutons.
Dessert: Honey butter and balsamic roasted Asian pears over a lemon crema topped with butter fried sage leaves and candied pecans.
Special thanks to my Sous Chef Mandi Jenkins, Olive This! and Winestore of Charlotte for donating oils and vinegars and wine, and our hosts Mike and Shawne.
If you’re interested in hiring me for A Night of Bling Cuisine, click here.