January 14, 2014

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Chefs for Hire


Chefs for Hire

Entertaining? Leave the Cooking up to the Kitchen Gurus

By Rachel Madison

January 14, 2014

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party for close friends or a cocktail party for clients and colleagues, making a good impression counts—especially when it comes to the food. Hiring a private chef to cook a delicious meal and provide high-quality entertainment for you and your guests is just one way to take your party to the next level. Two of Utah’s private chefs share their cooking secrets and favorite recipes below.

Ellie Shropshire

Owner of Park City-based Ellie’s Personal Cooking and Catering

Tell us about your company. We cook for local people, second home owners and people on vacation. Some people like to have us in the front cooking for them or that’s the way their kitchen is set up, but other times they don’t want that. We will do whatever our client wants.

What are your favorite ingredients to cook with? Our motto is “simple and delicious.” We try to use the freshest possible ingredients we can get. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of Rocky Mountain elk tenderloin and Utah trout. In the summer we use whatever produce is fresh and available. We’re really open to suggestions. Once we get an idea or feel for the group and the vibe they want to create, we can base the menu off that.

Where do you shop before cooking for a private dinner party? I do a lot of shopping at a local market called The Market in Park City. I also try to support the Park City farmers’ market. We also get some staples at Costco, and we source a lot of cheeses and meats from a Park City company called A Local Table.

What kitchen tool can you not live without? My own knife. It’s a good brand but not super expensive—just a good knife.

What’s the secret to cooking a successful meal for a private dinner party? Put some love in the food. The main ingredient is love.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who is cooking for their own guests? Be prepared. Plan it out ahead of time. Do as much ahead of time as you can so you can enjoy your party.

Sebastian Alexis Lizarzaburu

Owner of Salt Lake City-based SLC Private Chefs, a division of Rocky Mountain Private Chefs

Tell us about your company. My business is a chef-for-hire concept. It’s fun because we cook in front of an audience and there’s a lot of guest engagement. Being able to talk to guests and establish a friendship before they try your food is really fun.

What are your favorite ingredients to cook with? I love lamb, ground beef and root vegetables. I enjoy braising and barbecuing any kind of small game. We also do a cauliflower bisque. A lot of my clients say it’s the best soup they’ve ever had.

Where do you shop before cooking for a private dinner party? It depends on the season. If it’s warm, we use the local farmers’ market. In the wintertime we use city markets.

What kitchen tool can you not live without? A microplane.

What’s the secret to cooking a successful meal for a private dinner party? Engaging the guests is a huge part, as is making sure your food is cooked slowly and you’re consistent with seasoning and just enjoying the whole environment. You want to make the house smell wonderful.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who is cooking for their own guests? Write everything down. Be organized and focused.

Chef Ellie’s Spicy Party Nuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups shelled nuts (whole almonds, pecan halves or mixed nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix first seven ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat.

Add spice mixture and stir well.

Simmer to mellow flavors, four to five minutes.

Stir in nuts and mix well to coat.

Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes, shaking pan once or twice during cooking.

Remove baking sheet from oven and stir again to mix well. Sprinkle with salt.

Let rest two hours in a cool place.

Store in an airtight jar.


Chef Sebastian’s Lamb Shank with Potatoes and Carrots

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