What’s Trending: Graduation Parties and the Return of Spring Veg

Welcome to Kitchensurfing’s trend report for April 2014. We all know about spring food trends in the most general sense: the annual ramp craze, creative Kosher for Passover menus, the return of grilling weather. This is a closer look at what Kitchensurfing chefs are creating, and what their clients are craving.

Here are 5 themes we’ve identified from Kitchensurfing requests this month:

1. Graduation Parties

image

Every year spring brings birds, bees, and — among other things — newly minted graduates.

We’re already seeing requests for graduation parties, in particular two kinds of celebrations: the blow out dinner party and the meet-the-parents brunch. Speaking of which…


A Wedding Gift Guide from Kitchensurfing

With warmer months approaching, wedding season is upon us. As we gather to celebrate matrimonies of friends and family, we make ourselves pretty, dress ourselves up, clink some glasses, and give speeches. And, of course, we bring gifts. So, what do the modern-day newlyweds really want? We have a few ideas.

Cooking Classes
Let’s be honest, they need to learn to cook. Everyone else is getting the couple random gadgets for their new kitchen. How do you really use that mandolin? What is that garlic press really for? Luckily, Kitchensurfing chefs can help. Let’s put that new pasta maker to use, shall we?

image

Brunch
After all the partying, you’re going to need a brunch to recover from the nuptials. Throw your friends a phenomenal brunch, with a bloody mary bar, homemade donuts, fresh fruits and waffles. Forget the hotel omelette bar, this is exactly what your friends want.

Epic Dinner Party
What’s the first thing the married couple wants to do when they get back from their honeymoon? Have a dinner party with all their friends so they can talk about how the margaritas in Mexico are so authentic, riding with dolphins in the ocean was amazing, and the cabana boy massages are better than Swedish massages.

image

Gift Card
When all else fails, get the gift card. Your friends and family can use it toward any sort of Kitchensurfing experience, any type of cuisine, any day of the week, they want. It’s like a grab bag of professional chefs!

Romantic Dinner for 2
Oh yeah, they’re newlyweds! The couple probably wants to spend time together. Alone. Over a delicious meal. Perhaps steak?

Whatever approach you land on, we think there are some great options up there. And remember – don’t be the guest who forgets to bring a gift. Be the guest that brings the best gift.


"Using food to create an extraordinary experience," This Week’s Kitchensurfing Guest Book

image

Each week, our Kitchensurfing chefs prepare gorgeous meals for diners in their homes and at events. One of our favorite things to do at Kitchensurfing is read all the reviews that guests write about their chef, the experience, and — of course — the food. Today we highlight some of our favorite reviews from the past week:

Guest: Rebecca B.
Chef: Mariko Amekodommo

Mariko is the best!!!!  I gave her a menu of what I wanted served and she took it and ran with it. She catered my 130-person wedding, all the guests are still raving about the food!

Guest: Anna C.
Chef: Eric Bolyard

Every single course was so beautifully plated, created from the freshest ingredients, and with such thought and imagination. His passion for cooking was evident in every bite. I’d highly recommend Eric to anyone who appreciates really good food and wants to enjoy a unique dining experience in their own home.

Guest: Ann W.
Chef: Lori Hill

Chef Lori sent great menu options and worked with me to create exactly what I envisioned for our sushi lunch for 60+ people. She showed up on time, arranged the food beautifully, and came well-prepared with sauces, serving utensils, dishes, etc. Our guests walked away with full bellies and smiles on their faces.

Guest: Stephanie A.
Chef: Ozlem Oguzcan

Chef Oz dedicated our menu to one of her favorite Turkish singers who sings of being at a seaside table with close friends, good food and drink and the simple beauty of that moment. Chef Oz is wonderful and always wears a big smile. Her Turkish delights were absolutely delicious. Thanks for transferring us to a warm Turkish evening at the sea.

Guest: Emily W.
Chef: Mark Hardin

Chef Mark is the epitome of what Kitchensurfing can be - using food to create an extraordinary and memorable experience. He came with short notice to cook a surprise birthday dinner for my sister. I asked if he would be willing to attempt to make one of my sister’s favorite dishes from when she traveled in Malta, Pastittzi, and he hit it out of the park. It was so delicious and the surprise brought tears to my sister’s eyes. Chef Mark also delivered a chocolate mousse flourless cake that is something I will dream about for a long time. 

Guest: Adriann K
Chef: Pistache NYC

Christine & Noemie were AMAZING! Every dish and pastry they made was “the best anyone had ever had.” They were able to find their way around the kitchen (i.e. didn’t bother us with questions, etc.), the kitchen was left the way it was found, and they (tried) to sneak out quietly but not before a standing ovation and cheers from our many happy and satisfied friends. I would highly recommend using Pistache for your next event. I know I will!

Guest: Brendan D.
Chef: Anthony Sasso

Anthony completely nailed it. We hired him to launch our first monthly chef series for 30 clients in the West Village. His 4-course menu had us drooling at first read. And each plate that came out was ridiculously delicious and gorgeously presented. He also worked closely with us to build a menu that relied heavily on local and sustainable ingredients. A Hudson Valley pork chop with miso parsnip puree and cider vinaigrette anyone? Yes, please. Don’t ever leave Anthony. We beg you.

Start your own Kitchensurfing story today. Start here to find your chef.


The Kitchensurfing Guide to Passover

image

Passover starts on Monday at sundown, which means it’s time for many to start brainstorming innovative unleavened meals and preparing for seders with family and friends.

This year, eaters are booking Kitchensurfing chefs for all sorts of seders: from classic large menus, to interpretations from various regional traditions, from relaxed kosher-style to strictly kosher.

To help you get excited for this night, different from any other, here’s our rundown of must-have menu items for Passover.


Surf’s Up: Kitchensurfing in the Hamptons

image

The days are getting longer, the water’s getting warmer, and Kitchensurfing chefs are starting to get booked up for summer in the Hamptons.

We’re excited for the beginning of our second Kitchensurfing season out East, and we’ve compiled a few observations from last season’s meals to help whet your appetites.

1. The grill is king
image

Whether it’s burgersseafood, or veggies, summer is the time for cooking over an open flame (we’ll leave the gas vs. charcoal debate for another time).

2. There’s no better time for local, LI seafood

image

Long Island’s surrounding waters are home to some of the best seafood on the East Coast, a fact both chefs and diners want to take advantage of. More than half of the customers who send Hamptons requests last season were looking for a local seafood dish.

3. Fresh, Summer Veggies from Right Down the Street
image

In addition to the local seafood, the summer produce season on Long Island is fantastic, with local corn and heirloom tomatoes taking center stage. Chefs build salad courses and vegetarian meals from produce grown only miles away.

4. Cocktail parties are big
image

Like, really big. From small gatherings to poolside events for hundreds, we’ve fielded requests for every conceivable type of request. This year, we’ve already in requests for bachelor and bachelorette parties alongside the standard coats and cocktails routine.

5. Things get busy (so start planning now)
image

The dates you might expect — Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day — are the most popular times to hire Kitchensurfing chefs. It’s only the first week of April, and chefs are already starting to see requests for dates throughout the summer season. Luckily, we have more chefs than ever ready for a summer in the Hamptons. Start here to find yours.


The Future of Junk Food with Kitchensurfing Chefs Mark O’Leary and Samuel Monsour

image

What if junk food wasn’t junk?

Last Friday, Kitchensurfing presented the first dinner "The Future of Junk Food" pop-up series by (genius) Boston chefs Mark O’Leary and Samuel Monsour. The dinner took place the intimate “Ruby Room,” a crimson-hued hideaway within the Emerald Lounge at Revere Hotel Boston Common.

The concept: take the chefs’ favorite junk foods, and make them gourmet, delicious, and free of preservatives.

The menu featured childhood favorites like “filet of fish,” a dressed up Snickers bar, and a foie gras Handi Snack, each made with ingredients from local farms and thoughtfully assembled with aesthetics in mind. Take a look at the future of junk food, as prophesied by chefs O’Leary and Monsour:


#KSgrams $100 Winner: @ryanpkelly

Last week we introduced the #KSgrams Instagram contest, and today we’re excited to announce our very first winner. 

For this contest, we want to see photos from your Kitchensurfing meals: chefs in action, beautiful dishes, and well-fed party guests. Each week, we’ll choose our favorite shots, and the ‘grammer behind the best photo will win $100 off their next Kitchensurfing booking.

Winner:

image

@ryanpkelly: Chef Stephen Coe plating 18 sashimi tuna nachos#ksgrams #grownupnachos #mmmmm

Notable Runners Up:

image

@jmart73: Friday night dinner party with balsamic chicken, slow cooker pot roast, roasted veggies, salad and vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Yum! #foodie #chef #KSgrams

image

@vktb12: Beautiful spread by @lorishill3 @kitchensurfing #kitchensurfing #kitchensurfingla #kitchensurfingtestkitchen #KSgrams

Each week we’re going to post our favorites, so keep on ‘gramming! To enter, tag @Kitchensurfing and use #KSgrams when you post your pics. Full terms and conditions here.


"Taste Buds on An Adventure," This Week’s Kitchensurfing Guest Book

image

Each week, our Kitchensurfing chefs prepare gorgeous meals for diners in their homes and at events. One of our favorite things to do at Kitchensurfing is read all the reviews that guests write about their chef, the experience, and — of course — the food. Today we highlight some of our favorite reviews from the past week:

Guest: Michelle E
Chef: Carlos Dalisay

I can’t wait until a few years from now, when Chef Carlos skyrockets into celebrity chefdom, so I can say, “Oh yeah, I ate his food back in the day, before anyone knew how good he was!” There’s no question that Chef Carlos will hit the big time SOON. I love his “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy when it comes to food. Let the ingredients speak for themselves. And what they say is, “I’m freaking delicious!!!”

Guest: Beckie
Chef: Ryan Rondeno

My boyfriend and I kept saying to each other, “it’s like our taste buds are on an adventure” and they were! My favorite part was dessert… maybe because I am a girl, maybe because it was chocolate. All I know is I want more! 

Guest: Sharon L.
Chef: Free Dominguez

Chef Free dazzled us with her flavorful and delicious dishes. The dinner party was a smash hit with all of our guests. And the dessert was so divine—loved that crunchy brittle, ice cream and chocolate cake. So so good! 

Guest: Dominique C.
Chef: Jasmine Sheth

Jasmine cooked for my daughter’s 30th birthday party last night and I could not recommend her more highly. A couple of hours before she was due to arrive, the gas in the building where the party was being hosted was turned off, leaving no stove or oven to use to prep the dinner! In a panic, I called Jasmine who calmed me down, told me not to worry, and that she would cook all the good at her home and bring food warmers to keep it warm. The food arrived—first rate and delicious. Everyone raved about the food, which surpassed all of our expectations by a good measure (and I have eaten all over the world at top restaurants!) I am very grateful to Jasmine for helping to make our special event such a success. 

Guest: Alex D.
Chef: Tim Fahy

We had friends in town visiting for the weekend and Tim came to our apartment to cook a hangover brunch. While our energy was on the low end when we started the morning (late night…), Tim arrived with such enthusiasm and charisma within minutes the apartment was buzzing. He really brings positive energy and excitement into the kitchen; undoubtedly due to his sincere and obvious passion for what he does. Cooking a hangover-style brunch could have resulted in mediocre/bland/safe food, but Tim ran with it - deftly balancing classic recovery foods and flavors with exciting twists - all without pushing our weakened stomachs too far.

Start your own Kitchensurfing story today. Start here to find your chef.


Kitchensurfing Austin: Dinners, Brunches, and BBQs at SXSW

This year, Kitchensurfing headed to South by Southwest for the first time. Amid the usual Texas-sized marketing stunts, we focused on intimate gatherings over food and drink (and one giant barbecue), highlighting our favorite kind of social experience: the shared meal. Here’s a quick rundown of our time in Austin:

image


Introducing the #KSgrams Giveaway: Kitchensurfing’s Instagram Contest

image

Today, we’re announcing our brand new Kitchensurfing contest on Instagram. 

We want to see photos from your Kitchensurfing meals: chefs in action, beautiful dishes, and well-fed party guests. Each week, we’ll choose our favorite shots, and the ‘grammer behind the best photo will win $100 off their next Kitchensurfing booking. We’ll also post the best of the best from the Kitchensurfing account.

To enter, tag @Kitchensurfing and use #KSgrams when you post your pics. Full terms and conditions here.

Cooking beautiful food is hard. So is shooting it. That’s why we’ve asked Cait Oppermann and Yael Malka, the artists behind much of Kitchensurfing’s food photography, for a few tips on how to make your food shots look their best.

Read on for the tips, then put them to use.