I've sharpened my knives and have amassed pages of plans. And now I'm ready to begin. For the next two weeks, I will be preparing and rehearsing for two dinners that I’ll be hosting on February 4th and 5th. They will be the first two nights of what I hope will become a dinner series, where guests are asked to pay for the cost of ingredients in a multi-course tasting menu. By charging $40 - $50 per person, I hope to be able to host fancy dinners more often (instead of only once a year), and to also cook and experiment with preparations I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
On February 4th, my friend Renée will help with service and will contribute a couple of her own dishes, and on the following night I’ll be on my own. We’ll be doing a plated service of small dishes, and tentatively, our menu will include canapés, three appetizers, two mains, three desserts, and mignardises to take home.
One of the most exciting aspects of hosting a dinner is the opportunity it gives me to experiment with new ingredients and recipes. There are so many dishes that I’d like to try, but without the urgency and money to do so, many of my cookbooks have been relegated to the coffee table. Hopefully these upcoming dinners can begin to change that. There's really nothing I enjoy more than cooking for friends and family.
For the most part, I’ll be preparing dishes based on recipes from restaurants including Yountville’s French Laundry, Paris’ L’Astrance, and Las Vegas’ Joël Robuchon at The Mansion. As you may know, I love preparing complex and intricate dishes. I find I learn so much from them as there’s so much refinement, and I’m fascinated by how each step and ingredient contributes to the final dish.
This coming week, I’ll be testing the four dishes on the menu that I haven’t made before. To prepare for this, I spent the past weekend making veal, chicken, and lobster stocks (so far so good). Next week, I’ll begin my preparations for the actual dinner, making everything from ice cream and sorbets, to soaking and deveining foie gras. In total, there are about 30 components and recipes I have to make, so I’ve tried to space them out and prepare all the non-perishable items first.
I’m very much looking forward to the next two weeks, and hope to write more about my progress soon!