This week we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Chef’s Expressions! 30 years ago, Jerry Edwards CPCE opened his sandwich shop in Towson (then called Chef’s Express). One day, a client called and asked us to cater her son’s Christening celebration – and a catering business was born. By the way, that young boy, whose Christening we catered, also gave us the joy of catering his College graduation from the Naval Academy.
The journey over the years has been filled with great moments shared with clients and friends. It amazes us to think of the thousands of people we have served with care and consideration for their celebrations. We truly believe that this is the best business in the world, because we are always celebrating life’s milestones and high points.
We have many ideas of how to celebrate our 30 years in 2012, but we will start off with a list of 30 Pearls of Wisdom from our team!
Pearl 1 – Give Back!
Every year, our team spent over 1000 hours of their own time volunteering for charities and civic causes and in the latter part of this year, Chef’s Expressions was honored with the Business Philanthropy Award from the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
Pearl 2 – Do Sweet the Short Stuff!
We’ve been having a lot of fun lately making A la Minute Ice Cream – not something to necessarily try at home…
Pearl 3 – Never Trust a Skinny Chef!
Never Trust a Skinny Chef!
Pearl 4 – Embrace your Hang-ups!
For the 30th Anniversary of Maryland Art Place, Chef’s Expressions did a food installation – the Hanging Hors D’oeuvres for our Vegan Beet Soup infused with Aromatics and Brunoise Vegetables served in a Clear Cone, Crab Cornets with a White Truffle Sabayon, Braised Korean Barbeque Beef served atop a Fresh Chiffonade of Romaine Lettuce and Vegan Summer Rolls with Chinese Vegetables and Thai Dipping Sauce
Pearl 5 – Make Friends with your Vendors!
We are spoiled here at Chef’s Expressions with wonderful food – on special days, food vendors will have us taste new products. We just started visiting our vendors – our first trip was to Ettline. In the spring, we hope to have a team trip to the Towson Farmers Market where our chef goes every week to pick up farm fresh ingredients for events.
Pearl 6 – Desert Traditional Desserts!
Create a Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Bar for a more creative evening cocktail party or dessert reception. Here’s an example with Alexander Valley Vineyards Chardonnay…
Alexander Valley Vineyards Chardonnay
The Alexander Valley Vineyards Chardonnay is a medium bodied white wine with fine ripe apple flavors and a hint of sweet oak. Aromas of apple and tropical fruit along with flavors of apple, pear and citrus. A little creaminess on the long finish.
Goat Cheesecake Lollipop with Apricot and Sage coated in Biscotti Crumbs
Dried Fruit (Pineapple, Pear, Apple, Apricot) Fondue with Vanilla Caramel and Milk Chocolate with Sage
Pearl 7 – Spice it Up!
Ras El Hanout is a North African Curry that finds its way into a lot of our more aromatic dishes. It is so fragrant and our chef compares it to the Coco Chanel of spices.
Ras el Hanout (Moroccan Seasoning)
4 whole nutmegs
10 rosebuds (dried)
12 cinnamon sticks
12 blades of mace
1 tsp aniseed
8 pieces of turmeric
2 small pieces orrisroot
2 dried cayenne peppers
1/2 tsp lavender
1 Tbsp white peppercorns
2 pieces galingale
2 Tbsp whole gingerroot
24 allspice berries
20 white or green cardamom pods
4 wild (black) cardamom pods
Grind all the ingredients in a blender until you obtain a fine mix, and pass it through a strainer.
Pearl 8 – Brand Your Events!
Our favorite new item – the Smart Bar. Clients can customize the bars for their events – with a monogram, company logo, design, there is no limit. We have created a Chef’s Expressions branded Bar for our events… very cool!
Pearl 9 – Pair Each Course!
Why just choose a red and white wine for your events? Why not pair each of your courses with a wine that matches perfectly? Jerry Edwards CPCE frequently help clients pair the food with budget conscious wines so guests can have the best culinary experience at their event.
Pearl 10 – Waste Not, Want Not!
Paul Koutz and Katie Bittinger have been working on getting us certified by the Green Restaurant Association. New Lights, Recycling – Glass, Cardboard, Plastic and Oil. Soon, we will have a composting program set up with Waste Neutral.
Pearl 11 – Make it POP!
We’ve come up with fun ideas over the years, but one of our recent favorites is the Popcorn Bar – flavored popcorn with spice mixes like our Cocoa Fireside Rub. We did this for an Open House for Carla David Designs.[caption id="attachment_245" align="alignnone" width="275" caption="Photo courtesy of Love Life Images"][/caption]
Pearl 12 – Give them Options!
In lieu of sit down dinners, our clients are loving creative food stations! In October, we introduced a Panini Station where we served petite Panini’s to guests
Mini Grilled Cheese with Jalapeno Mustard on Sourdough
Braised Pork Belly on Grilled Raisin Walnut Bread
Grilled Duckling on Focaccia with Oriental Marmalade
Pearl 13 – Shaken or Stirred?
One of the fun things we’ve been able to offer our clients is a Signature Drink for their special event. We created a menu of creative concoctions and painstakingly tested them in a team meeting! Enjoy this recipe for the Yuzu Asian Margarita
Yuzu Asian Margarita
2 ounce of silver tequila
1 ounce of Yuzu juice
½ ounce of lime juice
¼ ounce of St. Germain elderflower liqueur
¼ ounce of agave nectar
Lime Coconut Smoked Sea Salt
Swab rim of chilled cocktail glass with agave nectar and rim with salt. Add fluid ingredients and a scoop of ice. Shake until chilled and strain into the prepared glass.[caption id="attachment_164" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Our team taste testing Spring Cocktails at Silo Point"][/caption]
Pearl 14 – Upscale Your Tailgate!
Pearl 15 – Celebrate with Every Meal!
Sparkling Wines pair with almost every meal, not just with special occasions. Rita Blackwell from Wine Express (a sister company of Chef’s Expressions) was just asked to give advice on delicious sparklers at every price range.[caption id="attachment_165" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Photo courtesy of Jennifer McMenamin"][/caption]
Pearl 16 – If you can’t take the heat, Use Australian Candied Ginger!
Australian Candied Ginger is one of our favorite ingredients. It has a clean sweet flavor without the heat of regular ginger. We love using it in our Smoked Salmon Maki.[caption id="attachment_270" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="photo courtesy of Sachs Photography"][/caption]
Pearl 17 – Pick a Favorite!
Executive Sous Chef Bill Crouse can’t do without his Mortar and Pestle (favorite spice mix is Toasted Coriandar, Fennel, and Clove). Chef Jake Hack favors the Cleaver for its versatility.
Pearl 18 – Engage the Senses!
Create a Sensory Experience for your events. For a wine bar, pull out some aromas from the wines, and set those ‘aromas’ out in wine glasses. Guests can smell the wine and then smell the food items associated with the wines aromas.
Tango Privado Malbec Cabernet
Consisting of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine has aromas of red fruit, black currants and cloves. It has a sweet entrance in the mouth with soft, but intense tannins and a persistent finish.
Suggested Food Items To Display and Use for Pairing
Currents ◊ Cocao ◊ Cloves ◊ Black Pepper ◊ Chilis
Pearl 19 – Dress it Up!
Our Event Design Consultant, Melanie Brzozowski is especially creative when it comes to designing parties. For a recent wedding, we used this White Pearl Sheer Overlay with Silver Circles from Party Rental. Photo courtesy of Jennifer McMenamin
Pearl 20 – Citrus is the New Salt!
Our Executive Sous Chef Bill Crouse wants to explore a variety of citrus flavors to enhance the flavors of our dishes – like our Braised Pork with Orange and Fennel
Pearl 21 – See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Savor!
If you have ever been to one of our Wine Suppers, you are certain to have heard Jerry Edwards CPCE review the Five S’s of Wine Tasting… he does this at the beginning of the Supper so people are more apt to remember it – before the 6 courses of wine and food pairings begin. If you need a refresher, here’s a great article from the Wine Enthusiast…
Pearl 22 – Keep it Clean!
For any Kitchen, the term CAYGO is very familiar – Clean as You Go – that way you can enjoy food and friends instead of dealing with a messy kitchen.
Pearl 23 – Always Play with your Food!
Executive Sous Chef Bill Crouse came up with this fun presentation for Hors D’oeuvres – a bread plate… here we have our Beet Macaroons with a Fois Gras Mousse!
Pearl 24 – Give in to Bottle Envy!
We are always striving to be our best and of course, our best is usually paired with a great bottle of wine! Lucky for us, the Wine Spectator just released it’s top 100 wines of 2011. And the winner is…drumroll…Kosta Browne’s 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir! You can be sure Jerry Edwards CPCE has already ordered a case!
Pearl 25 – Set the Bar!
In addition to our signature drinks menu – we’ve had some fun with Bar Nibbles! Items like Spiced Popcorn , Parmesan and Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Straws, Crispy Moroccan Chickpeas, Salt and White Balsamic Vinegar Yukon Gold Potato Chips. photo courtesy of Jennifer McMenamin
Pearl 26 – Color Outside the Lines!
Our Event Design Consultants help clients with their entire event. We always are interested when the season’s Pantone Colors are announced!
Pearl 27 – Butter Makes Everything Better!
In the Chef’s Expressions Kitchen, we boast about our butter which has a 91% butterfat content – source from a local farm. Grapeseed Oil and Italian Olive Oil also hold a special place in the kitchen. Executive Sous Chef Bill Crouse makes homemade vanilla ice cream with a floral Olive Oil from San Giacomo, Italy.
Pearl 28 – Beer Me!
A beer enthusiast, Senior Event Design Consultant Bonny Opper, is very pleased to have more clients asking for beer pairings to their meals and we see this as something we will do a lot more often. As a team, we explored menus paired with Flying Dog Beers, a local favorite.
Simcoe Hops Seared Scallop
Butter poached bok choy, orange lemongrass reduction
Woody Creek White
Pan Seared Mallard Duck Breast
Lingonberry reduction, grilled Bella mushrooms
Grilled Short Rib
Napa Cabbage/mango slaw, toasted cashews
Snake Dog IPA
Pearl 29 – Be Precise!
Our Pastry Chef, David Brooks, is adamant about following recipes. In his words “Baking is a Science and recipes are meant to be followed”. We won’t argue – his desserts never fail to lure us to the kitchen![caption id="attachment_293" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Photo courtesy of Amy Deputy Photography"][/caption]
Pearl 30 – Figure out the Why!
We watched this video in our weekly team meeting! This is a video that you can watch over and over again and still pick up nuances to inspire you. We wish you a wonderful 2012 and we can’t wait to continue to celebrate and innovate during our 30 year pearl anniversary!