Tag Archives: local

Foodie B’Eat: Chefs For Hire

This article was previously featured in my food column in YES! Weekly.  Be sure to check out YES! for the latest happenings around town. 

Sometimes you can take the chef away from restaurant kitchen but you can’t take the kitchen away from the chef.

Chefs for hire are becoming increasingly popular these days. It’s no longer a perk for celebrities or the wealthy. Today, it’s becoming more accessible than ever and for the skilled chef, quite ideal for those who don’t want to be burdened by restaurant hours. For the customer who can afford it, it provides a much-needed convenience, freeing you of all the prep and clean-up.

There’s a difference between a private chef and a personal chef.  A private chef works for a singular client, sometimes full-time and sometimes multiple meals a day. Some private chefs are hired for short spurts of time as well.  A personal chef may cook for several different clients in their homes, providing fully-cooked meals and meals prepped in advance. All work diligently to provide a service that is as budget-friendly as possible.

Lynn Wells, owner of Thyme Well Spent Personal Chef Services in Greensboro, is a personal chef. Wells worked for 21 years in the Nutrition Department at Moses Cone Hospital in various culinary management positions. She has multiple clients and travels to their home to prepare their meals. “Everything is prepared from scratch and cooked in the client’s home. Meals are packaged per my client’s request and stored either in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on their schedule, preference and freshness. I include heating instructions with all meals. I do the grocery shopping the morning of a cook day and often times go to more than one location to shop. I want to get the best and freshest ingredients and always buy local whenever possible.”  Wells says she certainly understands that the expense of hiring a personal chef can be a concern, but… “There is no doubt, this is a luxury service. My first client didn’t cook and she and her husband either ordered take out or ate out every night.  Within two weeks, she noticed a difference in savings. The most important difference was in flavor and how the food was prepared, fresh and made with love.” She adds, “The biggest savings that clients have commented on is they no longer have food going bad in the refrigerator. They would purchase fresh produce, vegetables and meats from the store or farmer’s market with the best intentions, then they get home and not want to cook it.”

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Chef Lynn Wells (photo cred: Todd Turner Photography)

Wells’ schedule now includes weekly clients, some once-a-month clients, biweekly, bimonthly, etc. “Everyone is scheduled in advance for the same day during the initial consultation. That ensures them consistency and it helps me plan my schedule.”  thymewellspentpersonalchef.com 

Darren Atkins of il Centro in Burlington started his private chef/full-service catering in September 2016 and last year opened a store front in Burlington to provide daily provisions like antipasti, salumi, fresh pasta and specialty Italian accoutrements with local North Carolina ingredients. He says, “It’s inspired by the alimentari or food stores/farm grocers all throughout Florence and Tuscany.”  Atkins provides a full-service private chef experience to your home or location.  “We definitely want to cater to the foodie. I am very hands-on with customers and committed to providing them with themes for dynamic experience.”  Budget depends on the client needs and is available to Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Chapel Hill, Durham and possibly beyond.But And since meal prep and meals to go is becoming ever so popular, il Centro provides a Dinner Delivered series where customers can order from a weekly meal plan and have scratch-made dinners for two delivered to their door for $25. The store in Burlington is open Tuesday-Saturday 11:30-6:00.

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Chef Darren Atkins (photo courtesy of Atkins)

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Nikki Miller Ka, of Winston-Salem, has worked in numerous capacities as a chef. She says she started cooking for a family as a private chef in 2011, “It was literally a dream come true. It combined all my favorite things…planning, cooking, shopping and meeting people. I couldn’t believe my reputation preceded me and that these people wanted to pay me for to cook for them on a regular basis.” Miller-Ka says now, as a private chef, she enjoys being hired to chef a class or party per week. “Generally I cater small dinner parties and conduct private cooking classes in people’s homes.” A fee is set based on the number of guests for a cooking class or party. “I send out a menu of options for their event. I meet with the client for kitchen consultation so we can plan logistics and finalize the menu. Day of, I show up with complementary beer and/or wine, an apron, cutting board and knife for each participant during cooking classes.” And best yet, “I clean up. You get leftovers. I go home.” Miller-Ka also provides a grocery shopping service with 10+ recipes that clients can cook at home. niksnacksblog.com 

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Chef Nikki Miller-Ka (photo courtesty of Miller-Ka)

The newest chef-for-hire is popular chef Dion Sprenkle and his new Table ‘0, which offers a personalized in-home dining experience.  “The name comes from our most desired VIP table in the Chef Dion Sprenkle restaurant in Lexington that closed in 2016.”  Sprenkle says from that location, the customer could see him cooking in the kitchen and be close to the staff. “The guest felt like an instant family member and part of the action. The Table would be booked weeks in advance.” Sprenkle says since closing the restaurant, many of his fans missed his cuisine and having access to The Table.

“I decided to become a Chef for Hire with the help of my boss, my wife Jeanette.  She handles all marketing, decorations, set-up, and serves the meal.  Together we create a one-of-a-kind, personalized dining experience in our client’s home. It was primarily to connect with our friends, family and former restaurant customers. And now we create wonderful intimate menus for families, friends and sometimes for corporate gatherings.”

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Chef Dion Sprenkle  (photo courtesy of Sprenkle)

For most chefs for hire,  it’s the connection with her clients that keeps drives their passion. As Wells told me, “Being in someone’s home is very personal and sacred to me. This profession demands respect and I consider what I do an honor. It’s very humbling to have a family or individual put their trust in me to prepare fresh meals that will make their lives easier, less stressful and most importantly, provide them more time to spend on more important things other than meal planning, shopping, and cooking. There is a connection that happens where I learn about their lives, their habits, and why they’ve sought someone to cook for them.” Wells adds that she hopes the experience for her clients goes beyond the convenience, and hopefully deliciousness, of it all.  “I live, eat, and breathe food. Everything I learn, I try to pass on to my clients in some form or fashion. If anything, it recharges my battery to do what I do. I want meal time to be a pleasant experience for my clients and this career gives me an open canvass for my creativity and enthusiasm with food. This industry is an ever changing revolving door of opportunities and I can’t wait to see what’s next!”

Me neither, chefs! I think it’s so cool that you’ve found a way to do what you love on your own schedule.  Be sure to check one of these chefs out if you ever decide to treat yourself and your family. I’ve found that after I’ve shopped and prepped for a dinner at my house for a large group, I could’ve almost hired someone to do the work for me.

Have you ever hired a chef?

 

Our next Chef’s Table: B. Christopher’s Steakhouse on Feb. 19

I had to update this before it went out on its scheduled post. Less than ten tickets left!

We’re so thrilled that our February Chef’s Table features Chris Russell, a chef that has been an inspiration to so many, not to mention so incredibly talented. This venue has definitely been on our “must haves.”  Click here to get your ticket! 

B. Christopher’s Steakhouse has been a hit in Downtown Greensboro since moving from Burlington a few years ago. Such a gain! We love the cozy feel of his restaurant and oh my, the steak is perfection. In additon to being a successful chef and restauranteur, Chef been a mentor to other chefs who now have successful restaurants themselves, like our beloved Chef Kristina Fuller of Crafted.

Let’s let Chef Chris surprise us with multiple courses.  He’s excited about seeing you! Please join us on Monday, February 19.

Here’s how it works:
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, February 19. Please note our start time of 7:00 (a bit earlier than our last dinner). A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 INCLUDES your multi-course dinner as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service. Seating is limited.

We’ll see you on February 19!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @BChristophers and #triadfoodiesChefsTable on Facebook and Instagram.

Please notify me at Kristi@triadfoodies.com if you have any food sensitivity or if the chef needs to be aware of any concerns.

Triadfoodies Favorite Things: A Gift Guide to Glorious Deliciousness

Below is the annual triadfoodies Favorite Things, aka Triadfoodies Gift Guide of Glorious Deliciousness. For your chance to win, visit YES! Weekly

Foodie fans and locavores…you know I look forward to this every year. For years, my family has created gift baskets full of our favorite things that we’ve discovered throughout the year. I dare say that at YES! Weekly, we might be making a tradition of it, as long as they’ll have me. So here’s the 2nd Annual Triadfoodies Gift Guide of Glorious Deliciousness. And once again we’re going to give our basket (or bag) full of goodies to a lucky winner (for details, click here, as the giveaway is by YES!).

These “favorite things” make perfect stocking stuffers or gifts on their own. My criteria…It must be fabulous and it must be local. We have such talented makers in our area that they deserve to be supported and loved. Another important aspect of these faves are that they are relatively easy to find. We can’t have you going all over town looking for these items. And in most cases you’ll be able find these items at a locally owned shop near you.

Shall we begin the Holiday Magic?

Brewmaster’s Malt Mustard

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We loved Al Wolf’s mustard when we featured its whole crunchy mustard seed, grainy goodness for our Super Bowl spread feature last January. And since then, we have not been without it. It’s the perfect German mustard made by a German brewmaster, with simple ingredients. The mustard, made with malted barley, is robust and thick and perfect on brats, hotdogs, smoked sausage, sandwiches, pork, you name it.  We like that Al, who came to his new country searching for the American dream, found it right here in the Triad of North Carolina as the brewmaster for Red Oak Brewing.  You get bonus local supporter points if you pair Malt Mustard with a Red Oak Lager and/or Lowe’s Foods SausageWorks Sausage, particularly anything with Texas Pete in it. You can find Malt Mustard at Lowe’s Foods and Whole Foods or buy online at brewmastersmalt.com   

Sutler’s Spirits Gin

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True to form, we must always include a NC spirit when it comes to our gift guide. And we’ve never been without Sutler’s Gin since discovering it a few years ago. As a matter of fact, the bottle is so good looking that we just keep it out on display on our bar cart. The science that goes into distilling a quality spirit is one thing, but the art that goes into Sutler’s is on another level altogether. Owner Scot Sanborn has introduced flavors into his award-winning gin that set it apart from any other. It’s really great on the rocks, where you can really appreciate the botanicals. But I also love it with lemonade and a splash of soda. Plan a visit in the near future to Sutler’s distillery in Winston-Salem. You’ll get a lesson in flavor profiles and appreciation that you never expected.  Sutler’s is always holding super fun workshops and tours are available.  Find your Sutler’s at any North Carolina ABC store or your limited bottle amount on site at Sutlers. sutlersspiritco.com 

Little Black Dressing Company It Takes 3 to Tango

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I know you know that quandary when you can’t decide which salad dressing you want. Do I want ranch? Thousand island? Bleu cheese? What if you could have all three dressings whipped into one? That’s LBD’s It Takes Three to Tango for you. You get a little of all three of these popular salad toppings. It’s just an amazing marriage of flavors and perfect for the indecisive type. The only thing is, I’ve decided that it’s one of the few salad dressings I actually want anymore. It is magic on a wedge salad or a Cobb or as a veggie dip. LBD Company is based in High Point and has a number of other interesting looking dressings but honestly I can’t stay away from 3 to Tango. You can find it in the refrigerated dressings section all along the east coast at local grocery markets as well as Lowe’s Foods and Harris Teeter. littleblackdressingco.com 

Fool’s Gold Honey (Colony Urban Farm Store)

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If you love honey, you’ll love Colony Urban Farm’s Honey Bar. A honey bar! Honey on tap. Honey in jars. Honey! Honey! Honey! It’s paradise for honey-lovers and Winnie the Pooh too.

Just a few days before press time, Colony announced that they’re branding their honey as Fool’s Gold Honey Co. My favorite in the Colony line-up is the Bourbon-infused honey. You get a little essence of bourbon with their wonderful local honey, from bees they raise right here. Colony threw in a Southern Wildflower and Lavender-infused because …well, because Christmas! Really the choices for honey at Colony are endless. “Because eating honey is a very good thing to do.”—Pooh. There are some exciting things about to happen in the West End in Winston-Salem and these little bees at Colony are in the mix of it, so stay tuned for some fun buzz from these folks. You can find Colony Urban Farm and Fool’s Gold Honey at their new location (opening soon) at 492 West End Blvd, Winston-Salem. foolsgoldhoneyco.com

Batistini Farms Vanishing Grape White Balsamic 

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Okay, okay, we know we’re not growing local olives or Modena grapes here. But Clemmons couple, Cindy and Tom Sephton, are getting us as close to the local experience as possible. About three years ago, the Sephtons began importing 100% Toscano extra virgin organic olive oil and balsamic vinegars from the heritage La Batistina farm in Tuscany.  So you get the real thing and you’re supporting a local business at the same time. We love the pure, clean taste, look and finish of the Vanishing Grape. Paired with a little olive oil on a spinach salad or drizzled on cheese, or you can go wrong with crusty bread. You can find Batistini Farms Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars at Whole Foods, Wine Merchants in Winston-Salem, and online at b-farms.com.

Lily Leaf Soap-Handmade Soap and Spa Products

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No, it’s not food. It is made with food-like, organic ingredients by Tara Kercheval, who puts so much pride and hard work into her soaps, lotions, serums, scrubs and balms and they’ve been a favorite for several years now. Tara has been so devoted that she was able to leave behind her job and focus on her soap business full-time.  We love her soaps to use of course, but they make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer. And they come in all kinds of fragrances but I like anything that reminds me of the spa, like the lime mint, eucalyptus, or grapefruit lavender. We also love the shave bar. Winner gets two soaps. You can find out more about Lily Leaf soaps, lotions, serums and balms by visiting their Facebook page.

The Traveling Bean Coffee

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Words cannot express the heartbreak over here when our beloved Beans Boro Coffeeshop announced its closing in Greensboro earlier this year. But, let not your (or our) heart be troubled. Roast Master, Kyle Burge, is back in his hometown on Kernersville, right downtown, under a new name. The Traveling Bean is located on Main Street with plenty of roasting action and a family-friendly environment to enjoy your pick-me-up. Winner gets a pound of whole bean Colombian, known for its full, rich flavor with chocolate notes. The Traveling Bean is located at 126-A South Main Street, Kernersville. thetravelingbean.com 

Cackalacky Beer-B-Q Nuts

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Also making a return appearance from our “Super Bowl” special, Cackalacky’s BeerBQ peanuts are the perfect party snack, late night snack, car snack…well, you get it. Our absolute fave of all the nuts out there. And we’ve tried a ton. They’re just  big and special. Trust us. You can find Cackalacky nuts and their other products at retailers across the state, including Lowe’s Foods and Harris Teeter. cackalacky.com 

Black Mountain Chocolate Fruit Cake

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And the Triadfoodies Gift Guide of Glorious Deliciousness (and Giveaway) just wouldn’t be the same without the Queen of Fruitcakes. Like I’ve said before, it’s boozy and so chocolatey and will make you completely forget about that heavy, stumpy thing you once called fruit “cake.” BMC’s fruitcake is made with next door neighbor’s Broad Branch Distilling Company’s Nightlab 1.0. And you can taste to too. Consider this your grown-up dessert and enjoy!  blackmountainchocolate.com 

So there you have it, my gift guide of favorite things.  And you can win this treasure! Find this post on the YES! Weekly Facebook page where you’ll find out how you can win it. Winner will be announced on December. 18. And I’ll be showing this collection of awesomeness …er…glorious deliciousness on Thursdsay, December 14 on WFMY 2’s Good Morning Show. So set your DVR for 6:45am if you aren’t up and going at that crazy hour. 

 

Announcing our next Triadfoodies Chef’s Table at Sophie’s Cork & Ale

Foodies, we are so excited to announce that our next Triadfoodies Chef’s Table is in sweet uptown Lexington at Sophie’s Cork & Ale where we’ll let Chef John Wilson surprise us with  multiple courses. It’s all happening on Monday, November 13.

Have you been to Lexington lately? The food scene there is really on the grow.

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One needs only to look at Chef John’s food photos to know that he loves to work with color, texture and local goodness.  We’re so excited to showcase his talents with multiple tastings at Sophie’s.  His wine dinners always look amazing.

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Sophie’s Cork & Ale is a wine bar that offers small plates, sandwiches and entrees. It’s completely charming and inviting. We know you’ll love it as much as we do.

Here’s how it works: Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, November 13. .A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 INCLUDES your multi-course meal including dessert as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service.

Come a little early to enjoy drinks or do a little shopping at Sophie’s.

We’ll see you on November 13!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @sophiescorkandale and #triadfoodiesChefsTable on Facebook and Instagram.

Please notify me at Kristi@triadfoodies.com if you have any food sensitivity or if the chef needs to be aware of any concerns.

Carolina Poutine with Pulled Pork

Did you say poutine? Yes, yes! This is your all local poutine inspired by the abundance that North Carolina offers. I am receiving compensation from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to raise awareness about purchasing pork at NC farmer’s markets. All opinions and content are my own.

IMG_7515Every once in a while a great opportunity comes along and you get a little more bang for your buck when it comes to being a cheerleader for all things local–you get a whole TEAM of cheerleaders. I’ve partnered with the NC Department of Agriculture’s Got to be NC program along with bloggers across the state, to highlight some of our local farmers. Bloggers like me, who love local goodness (I’ll call them my SQUAD), are shopping at their local NC farmer’s market, buying the ingredients for a meal and sharing the recipe with folks like you. We’ve got chicken and pork coming at you. I’ll share links to those at the end of this post.

My farm is Mill River Farm in Mount Airy. I’m actually familiar with farmers, Kim and Steve, as I subscribed to a CSA with them a few years back. Such quality meat and produce!  I looked forward to what would be in my box every Saturday when I picked it up from the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market.  market - booth2

Kim and Steve have an abundant farm and they sell pork products such as bacon, pork belly, pork butt and loin, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, produce of all varieties like lettuce, kale, peas, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and I could go on and on. You can visit them at the farm (details here) or at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market, where you can speak to them directly and find out more about how they raise their animals and grow produce that you can feel so great about.  They’re both super knowledgeable and enjoy sharing what they do. Kim even has a cookbook called Cook Like a Farmer .  It’s full of great recipes. The thing that we don’t want you to forget is: When you visit your North Carolina farmer’s market, don’t forget the meat!

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When I saw Kim and Steve, they weren’t in their traditional digs inside the farmer’s market since the fair was in town. But they had enough yumminess on hand for me to purchase the main ingredients for my #GotToBeNCPork Carolina Poutine.  Poutine? Yeah, baby! Poutine is typically french fries and cheese curds with a rich brown gravy.  If you’ve had it, you know it’s like the guiltiest pleasure ever. Mine is a riff on that.

Let’s take a look at my truly local…

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Carolina Poutine with GotToBeNCPork
Serves 2-4

2-4 Sweet Potatoes (count on about one per person), preferably #gottobeNC
Pulled pork (from a 2-3 pound #GotToBeNCPork butt or shoulder)
Ashe County Cheese Curds
BBQ Sauce of your choice (I used a blend of chipotle sauce with some Eastern NC sauce I had on hand)

To prepare the pork: Give the pork a good liberal rub of your choice of seasoning plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you’re able, grill the pork on all sides. I don’t have a smoker, so I let my grill and my slow cooker do the work for me. Get it good and browned on all sides, then place in the slow cooker with about 1 1/2 cups of water or broth (beer or a mixture of bbq sauce and water is fine too–you just want a flavorful liquid). Allow to cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Once tender and falling apart, remove from cooker and shred it, baby.

Cut your NC Sweet Taters into fry-sized sticks. Coat with oil (I used avocado oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional), salt and pepper. Bake at 400-degrees until lightly browned and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Just before you remove the fries from the oven, heat up the sauce. I simply used my favorite Sam Jones Eastern NC style sauce and added some smoky chipotles to it.  You will want that sauce to be PIPING hot so that it can melt the cheese curds as it hits them.

On a platter or pan, place the crispy sweet potato fries in heaping pile. Top with shredded pork, cheese curds and drizzle the sauce over the top. The sauce should be hot enough to start melting the cheese curds. If not, it’s okay to blast it under the broiler until they appear to be just melting.

Garnish with chopped green onions and enjoy!

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I want you to know that this delicious and fun recipe is simply a guide. If you can slow cook your meat on a smoker, so much the better. As I said before, I don’t have a smoker but I do have the grill and a slow cooker. I get a really good crust by grilling on high, though I keep an eye on it as the fat and any sugar on the outside can cause it to light up. You can also bypass the slow cooker and modify by cooking on a low heat in the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. The sauce is also up to you. A mole would be amazing with those sweet potatoes. Play around with your flavors and have fun!

So… what makes it poutine? To a purist, is it still poutine if it doesn’t have real gravy but rather a sauce?

I’m not here to debate that. I just do know this poutine delicious party, nosh, use-up-leftovers kind of fare that tastes great with a NC craft beer. Support your local farmers at your local market. I’ve got links below to plenty of convenient locations and some of the best pork in North Carolina.

PS: You are going to have plenty of pork leftover for another poutine, tacos, breakfast…or a good ol’ BBQ plate.

Here’s a list of the pork and chicken from my squad:

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Got To Be NC Pork at Your Local NC Farmers Market

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Watch Heidi’s video!

Got to Be NC Chicken at your NC Farmers Market