RECIPES FROM PRIVATE CHEFS OF THE SF BAY
The following recipes incorporate the ingredients from our Marketing Partners and have been developed by various chefs in our collective. You are welcome to request on of these dishes as part of your customized menu, for you and your guests at your dinner parties and events. These partnerships provide a unique way for you to experience some of the best small producers and purveyors in the Bay Area. Check back, our list is always growing….
Chocolate Labne Crémeux/Port Sauce
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(Makes 2-4 servings)
10-12 dried figs
2 oz. Dandelion Chocolate’s Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania Chef's Chocolate (or 70% chocolate, finely chopped)
10-12 whole almonds, toasted
½ cup labne or thick Greek yogurt
2 oz. ground chocolate (or 70% chocolate, chopped into small pieces)
Port Wine Sauce:
½ cup Port wine
2 Tbs. heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut or snip the stems from the dried figs. Use a small paring knife or spoon handle to gently open the figs at the stem end and create a small pocket. Stuff the fig with the chocolate, and top it with a toasted almond. Place the figs upright and snugly together in a heatproof ramekin, or make one from aluminum foil. Roast the figs until they soften and the chocolate melts, approximately 10-12 minutes.
To make the crémeux, melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave (stirring at 20 second intervals) until melted. Fold the melted chocolate into the labne. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When it’s time to make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the Port with the cream and reduce it over medium heat until it’s as thick and syrupy as honey. Pay attention, as it will thicken up fast! To assemble the dish, spoon some of the sauce onto a plate, then top with the figs. Place a dollop of the crémeux beside each fig, and serve. Be careful; the chocolate inside the fig may be very hot.
“At Dandelion, we believe great chocolate starts with the bean. Because we only use two ingredients to make our chocolate—cocoa beans and organic cane sugar...”
Pomp and Whimsy Lacquered Foie Gras
(Makes 4 servings)
4 (2-3 oz) slices of frozen Foie Gras (available from D’Artagnan , cleaned and portioned)
1 Freshly made Belgium waffle
4 ounces Pomp & Whimsy Gin Liqueur
12-20 fresh blackberries or raspberries or both
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
Score the frozen foie gras filets in a crosshatch pattern, be careful not to cut in too deep. Try to stay just below the surface. Salt each one. Using high heat, warm up a non-stick skillet. As soon as the pan is very hot add your first filet, only work with 2 at a time. After 20 seconds flip over if the filet is dark brown, wait another 29 seconds that remove to an oven proof pan. Repeat with remaining 2 filets.
Lower heat to medium low, pour off 1/2 of the fat in the pan, reserving for later. Add Pomp & Whimsy to the pan, 1/3 of the berries, 1 sprig of thyme. Allow to sauté until the berries have burst and the pan sauce has reduced a little. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more P&W.
Place Foie Gras in pre-heated 450 degree oven for exactly 4 minutes. Warm up waffle and cut into 4 even pieces. Heat up the reserved fat in a separate pan. Heat up the pan with the berries and sauce.
Place one piece of waffle on each plate, gently arrange one filet 1/2 on , 1/2 off each waffle. Drizzle the plain fat across each waffle and around the edge of the plate. Drizzle the pan sauce over the filets and around the perimeter. Place berries and thyme. Enjoy.
Pomp and Whimsy brings modern sensibilities to the tradition of gin making, by infusing classically distilled gin with a natural, delightfully flavorful botanical liqueur.
(Makes 6 servings)
7 firm pears, any kind that are in season
2 cups Riesling
5-6 oz. Pomp & Whimsy Gin Liqueur
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
1 Piloncillo, available in Latin/Mexican markets (or 3 oz. of brown sugar if unavailable)
4 Juniper berries’
Peel pears and leave whole with stem intact, use immediately after peeling so pears do not oxidize. Add 2 cups of Riesling, 3 oz. of Pomp & Whimsy, one piloncillo (or 3 oz. brown sugar if unavailable), one stick of cinnamon, 4 cloves, 4 juniper berries and pears in a saucepan large enough to accommodate all the pears, but just barely. Add water to cover pears. Bring to a boil and reduce immediately to a low simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Make one extra “tasting” pear. This is the one you will check the texture. Remove pears after 15 minutes, check texture. Pears should be still a little firm but not hard (not soft either). Continue to cook if needed to achieve desired texture. Remove pears and allow to cool. Turn pot up (without pears) to a full boil. Boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat, cool and add Pomp & Whimsy to taste. Can me made up to 3 days in advance. Store pears in the refrigerator with the syrup you have made. To serve, if pears are small, serve whole, if larger, cut in half (tip to base) leaving the stem on but using a small spoon, “carve” out the core, that’s the small area where the pits are, after you have cut the pear in half. Serve with a mint or tarragon leaf.
private chefs of the sf bay in the news
acclaimed San Francisco Chefs Hold Fundraiser to help daca recipients stay
A serial entrepreneur at heart, Chef Andrea was part of the now defunct Kitchit, an on demand private chef startup. When that failed, she saw her fellow colleagues, all extremely talented chefs and suddenly without the steady stream of clients that Kitchit had provided, and had a vision for something different. A co-op of sorts, with shared costs, shared values, and shared talents. Thus Private Chefs of the SF Bay was born, an extremely high end personal chef brand that brings fine dining to you, whether it be an executive luncheon, a special treat in your home, or just a way to take your California vacation to the next level.
Chef Andrea first owned an ad agency and then discovered her love for cooking, spiraling those marketing talents into this wild ride of a career that has led her to dominate the personal chef industry—which is saying quite a lot, considering the talent in the bay area. We sat down for a scrumptious meal with Andrea to chat about everything everything from the unique funding for the business, how to work as a collective, and the importance of keeping your standards (and pricing) high.
Jenna Bostock: How long have you been a chef for – was it always a dream of yours?
Chef Andrea: I’ve been a chef for 15 years. I never envisioned myself as a chef, actually. I am what I would call a “serial entrepreneur” and started my catering company because I saw a business opportunity. Little did I know that I would fall in love with cooking! I discovered a passion and talent that frankly, I don’t know whether it was always there and just dormant, or came to me as a gift when I was 40 years old.
Jenna Bostock: Have you always been entrepreneurial then?
Chef Andrea: Yes! I owned an ad agency for several years that those skills really allowed me to brand, market and promote my businesses expertly.
Jenna Bostock: Tell me about the inception of Private Chefs of the SF Bay.
Chef Andrea: It rose from the ashes of Kitchit. When Kitchit (the on-demand private chef startup) folded, I could see how hard this hit many of the Bay Area chefs who had been dependent upon this marketplace to connect with customers and find work. Heartfelt and often almost desperate comments were appearing on the Kitchit Chef’s Table (FB group) and many of us were messaging back and forth about how we needed to do something. So I did!
I mentioned above that I’ve been an entrepreneur almost my entire life; well, during much of that time I was a marketing and branding strategist. I could see the opportunity to create something to fill the void, and do it better than Kitchit had done it, at least from a marketing perspective. From there, it was just about finding the right partner (I didn’t want to start this alone as I find starting a business with someone is just better if its the right person). I reached out to Chef Rose Johnson, and Private Chefs of the SF Bay was born.
Jenna Bostock: How did you fund Private Chefs of the SF Bay?
Chef Andrea: The chefs all chipped in a small amount to get started; we really bootstrapped it (and still do). This is why we modeled ourselves as a co-op. A small percentage of each gig booked goes back to the “fund” that keeps us afloat. This way, we can offer the very best value to both the chefs and the clients. There’s no commission, which was part of Kitchit’s model and is the model for many of the platforms that connect chefs to customers.
Jenna Bostock: What do you think differentiates a private chef experience from a fine dining experience at a restaurant?
Chef Andrea: Where do I start?! In the first place, there’s the pleasure of being in your own home, the pace of the meal is of your choosing, there’s no worrying about driving home afterward, your friends can relax before dinner in your living room or out on your gorgeous deck, and you may even get a chance to use that fine china you never break out if you want to. And it makes you cool because you’re on-trend!
Jenna Bostock: Who is your typical clientele?
Chef Andrea: We get clients celebrating special occasions (milestone birthdays, anniversaries and graduations are big), executive team off-sites and board meetings usually at the CEO’s home, fundraising events, holiday dinners and parties, and even the occasion very special dinner date.
Jenna Bostock: How do you separate yourself from other private chefs, by acting a whole collective?
Chef Andrea: Each of our chefs has been chosen because of their specialties, consequently, we are able to offer a broad range at a very high level: 31 different cuisines and between our 9 chefs, we have a combined 70+ years of experience. Every chef has been vetted, not just for their cuisine but also for their skills managing service, pre-event prep and on-site kitchen organization, plating and number of years in the industry. I wear two hats, and as the concierge, I am able to match the chef that is best suited to each client request. For larger events, we often team up, so the client gets the benefit of the talent and experience of two seasoned chefs and the service level of a boutique caterer. We also have the ability to cover each other in case of any last minute chef emergency.
Jenna Bostock: Tell me about the focus on sustainably-sourced, organic and local ingredient aspect of the business.
Chef Andrea: This was one of the requirements for chefs to become part of our co-op, but it is so much more than that. It really is, for us Bay Area chefs, a way of life and cooking philosophy. We have chefs who forage for mushrooms and hunt for seaweed. We all shop the local farmer’s markets and have personal relationships with many of the vendors.
Jenna Bostock: What is the trend these days, is there a big rise in the demand for at home private chef experiences?
Chef Andrea: There sure is! Our clients enjoy opening their beautiful homes and, in many cases, this is the best way to welcome out-of-town guests and business associates. It’s just so much more personal and memorable than just taking them to dinner. We also get many clients who are visiting Wine Country and don’t want to dine out, but prefer to stay in and enjoy the beautiful villas they have rented.
Jenna Bostock: Tell me about your staff and how you create an elevated fine dining experience with Michelin experienced servers, sommelier, etc.
Chef Andrea: It has taken us a couple of years, but we now have an amazing on-call staff, whom we share. We are at an advantage here in the SF Bay area, as there are so many great restaurants that have trained support staff over the years and we pay top dollar, way better than restaurants are able to pay, so we attract and keep great people. We have a Mixologist, as Sommelier (as you mentioned) as well as FOH staff for our clients who request this, usually for large holiday parties or business events.
Jenna Bostock: What’s been a few of the biggest barriers to overcome?
Chef Andrea: There’s is a lot of competition in the marketplace, on the promotion side, it comes from platforms that are looking to connect customers and chefs but are almost always do not have a culinary background. This creates confusion, with home-cooks-turned-chefs and newbies undercutting pricing. The word “chef” gives the impression of expertise and experience, but there is no barrier to entry, so anyone can try their hand.
On the chef side, there are so many truly talented, experienced and amazing chefs in the Bay Area. I wouldn’t call it a barrier, but it does keep us all on our toes– keeping up with the latest culinary trends and constantly advancing our education in the field.
Jenna Bostock: What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
Chef Andrea: You’ve got to have grit! If you’re not prepared to accept that nervous feeling you get when the phone doesn’t ring for a week, or there are no emails coming in as just part of the life-cycle of your business, it that is going to make you crazy, don’t become an entrepreneur. The other piece of advice that I like to share is that you never lower your prices.
Set your prices based on the value of what you have to offer and even if business is slow and you are desperate for work, don’t cut them. This only erodes your brand and people who underpay know they are underpaying and are looking to see what corners you’ve cut to give them that discounted price so they are suspicious of everything and much less likely to be impressed by what you deliver. (Of course, this only applies to service businesses, I am not suggesting a retailer should never have a sale!)
Jenna Bostock: What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Chef Andrea: COOKING! It is my happy place… no matter how stressful the situation (cooking in other people’s kitchen brings it’s own level of stress), it all melts away as prepare my sauces, perfect my soups and place the food artfully on the plate. It’s what makes everything else worthwhile. This is something all of our chefs share, this passion. For us, cooking is a way of life!