So, things are getting interesting around here! I spent a lot of time menu planning prior to arriving only to get here and visit the local island grocery stores where most of the ingredients simply do not exist on this tiny island! Quick, think back to culinary school days when we were given a secret ingredient and two hours to come up with and prepare a main dish and dessert! Only this time a lot more is on the line! But in the words of Bob Marley, “everything’s gonna be alright!”
Speaking of Bob, I visited Captain Bob’s store for my first provisioning trip. The amazing stewardess, Amanda, chose to take me there first as it is “the largest grocery store on the island.” The entire store is just a modest room filled with an assortment of dry goods (some of which is only carried in high end specialty stores in Colorado and some that could be found in the smallest of 7-11s), about 6 varieties of frozen seafood, frozen mystery meat and ‘fresh’ produce.
Fresh is a relative term here on Harbour Island as they get one shipment of fresh food per week and even that was likely delivered to a larger island sometime before then. But if you ask the gentleman there if he has fresh herbs or certain items, he will go in the back, which very well could be as large as the store itself, and says he has anything you need! Phew! A pleasant surprise to see fresh basil, parsley and cilantro! Oh, and they also seemed to carry a very high caliber of fine cheeses. Don’t mind if I do! I will, however, source the fresh fish from a local fisherman though!
Come back to hear about my second shopping trip at… Piggly Wiggly!
This is “walking home” on the dock for the week. One of those large yachts over there is where I will be cooking for the next three weeks. Follow along to see more pictures of the digs.
Day 1 was kind of a whirlwind with an overnight flight, two layovers and then landing at the most adorable small airport where I was picked up by the kindest gentleman. He drove me down to the dock where one of my new crew mates was waiting for me with the tender to take me to the smaller island with the (much) larger boat. Once arriving on the yacht, I met the other crew members who were extremely welcoming and then they showed me to my sleeping quarters (about the size of a mummy sleeping bag!) So, enough on that. We then scooted off on the golf cart to explore the island and get a bite to eat (one of the few meals I won’t be responsible for cooking!) The “grocery stores” that I will be provisioning at are more of a small island convenience store than anything resembling a US grocery store. More on that later as I start provisioning for the first group of guests this afternoon!
Stay tuned for the adventures of chef life on a private yacht where I exchange my snow boots, negative degree weather and hopefully really pale winter skin for turquoise waters, coral sands and a galley kitchen!
With so many services available via the internet these days, it’s easy to forget that some services simply cannot be emulated by a robot. A personal chef provides a very intimate and personable experience in your own home. When looking for someone who you will be inviting into your home, you’ll want to feel an immediate connection with them. Personal Chefs typically suggest, after the initial email connection, that you have a phone conversation. You can learn a lot from someone even in just speaking briefly with them. Are they responsive? Friendly? Available? Willing to customize their service to fit you and your needs or your guests’ allergy constraints? You’ll also want to make sure that the personal chef cost fits within your budget. There are an array of chefs and services out there from quick meal prep drop off to high end gourmet dinners. Even if it isn’t a good fit, likely from talking with the personal chef, he/she can point you in the right direction and refer you to someone who may better suit your needs.
Likely, you’re familiar with the phrase ‘you get what you pay for.’ Personal chefs are just that, personal. Typically, we own our businesses. More often than not, it is a one woman/man show fueled by passion. Your personal chef should take great pride in providing clients with the highest level of service and sourcing the highest quality ingredients. Even before a prospective client decides to hire a personal chef, the person on the other end shall have already provided a great level of service. The personal chef’s name is on the business and they should care about the experience and the food they put on the table. And, while we cannot always compete with a large catering company on cost, the service will go from bland to extraordinary. After all, you have taken the first step to bringing someone in to create a perfect foodie filled evening for whatever you may be celebrating, even if it’s just because it’s a Tuesday, you’ll want that 5-star service that comes with a personal chef.
In a nutshell, when looking for a personal chef in Vail or Denver, pick up the phone and see if your personalities match. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell quickly if you want to invite this person into your home.