Have you ever had a meal that was just wonderful but you are surprised to find such good food in an unexpected place? A dingy diner, school pot luck, cafeteria or casual backyard party? These are some of the best meals of my life. When I do not expect good food and I get great food. Where you just want to corner the cook and find out exactly how they made those cookies, melt in your mouth smoky bbq brisket, fluffy mashed potatoes, spicy sweet pad thai etc… I have been to many fine dining restaurants, trendy cafes and gourmet shops but often it is that simple and perfect meal in an unexpected place that really stands out in my mind.
As a Chef with many years of experience behind me I find that creating this experience for others is the most satisfying part of my career. I could make gourmet meals or work at a renowned eatery creating food for critics and gourmets but that is not what interests me because I have done that. What interests me is when a person comes back to the Cal-Wood lodge exhausted after a long hike and sits down to dinner to enjoy a perfectly cooked meal. The best street style chicken tacos or tender roast beef with sweet and garlicky mashed potatoes. When a meal includes organic collard greens with aged balsamic and slow cooked red onions as a side dish when most people would expect some frozen veggies warmed up is when I really feel my experience is best put to use.
I am frequently trying new techniques like brining, salt baking, slow roasting and dry aging to make sure each meal is delicious and made the best it could be.
My goal is to build a data base of recipes that are the best ever. I have an advantage of being able to make a dish many times and in large quantities to test and tweak each one to result in a perfect dish.
There are a few rules that I employ in cooking for my clients. I believe food should be clean, made with the best possible ingredients and when possible made with local and/or organic ingredients. I never cook with hydrogenated oils, added preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. Nearly everything that comes out of my kitchen is made from scratch. In my kitchen we make stock, salad dressings, baked goods, breads, sauces and seasonings from our own recipes.
We never buy pre-made frosting or salad dressings. There is no chicken or beef base. Never will you find a store-bought muffin or dinner roll. We make all our breads from scratch with organic flours.
It is a lot of work and lots of dishes. Just ask Mike my wonderful assistant and dish jockey.
In this section I will include recipes that serve 20-50-75 people. Great for schools, camps, churches, pot luck dinners or just serious large batch cooking.