Private Dinner Party in Yateley, Hampshire, "Back to ChefGary's Roots"
Amidst the summer of 2010, ChefGary started as an enjoyable and rewarding side line, whilst at the same time it had the ambitious beginnings of a real business. Still juggling full time employment at Yateley Manor for the early years, I spent lots of time developing my culinary skills in the home kitchen, networking ChefGary, donating my services for many charity events and did all else I could to help grow awareness of my culinary journey.
At Yateley Manor, I spent the best part of 5 years from 2008-2012 providing the catering for all the school staff, over 400 hungry pupils and on occasion, many of their parents as well. It was certainly a challenge to start with though I filled the shoes quite quickly and growing my business alongside came quite naturally, almost by accident and with great support by all the parents of the children at the school. Cooking for many of them outside of school hours for private dinner events on top, it was a very rewarding part of my career. I still cater for many of them now and it was this weekend just gone that I did so most recently. All the children are now grown up but the memories of the early days (ChefGary's roots) will always be there when I think back to when I first started out :)
My Dinner Party this weekend was helping celebrate a special birthday for Lesley and her close friends who literally live down the road from Yateley Manor. As with all my dinner parties, all crockery and cutlery comes with the package and I allow about two hours prior to the first course to set up, lay the table and finish everything off. All the hard preparation is always done off site so that the evening will flow smoothly and efficiently on the evening. I was welcomed very warmly on the day, had plenty of time to chat over everything before the other guest's arrival and it was quite amusing to see myself in an old school group photo on the wall whilst setting out the cutlery :)
All in all, everything went brilliantly, I had a superb evening and feedback on the food was very well received!
Chef's decadent array of handmade canapes
Salmon, kale and spring onion "fishcake" - horseradish, lemon, black pepper
Assiette of roast chicken:
Pan roasted breast, crispy sea salted skin, confit of thigh, boneless wing in panko crumb,
Dauphinoise potato, roasted carrots, saute greens, Dijon and cream sauce
Apple tart tartin, lemon and stem ginger creme fraiche,
crushed toasted hazelnut granola, caramel tuilee.