Entries in What's on the menu? (4)


Vegetarian Catered Party

Last week, I catered a vegetarian party. Near the end of the party, a guest asked me if it's true that chefs hate cooking vegetarian? I forgot exactly what I replied, it had been a long day of cooking and I was caught off guard with the question. Thinking about it now, I cook and eat just about everything – meat and potatoes, tofu and eggplant, as long as it’s good quality and tastes good to me.  

I think many chefs would agree that the most frustrating thing is extensive limitations. As a chef, I love hearing the words, “We eat everything, surprise us, ” and being able to go wild!  I can shop for what looks fresh that day.  But, as a chef, I'm also up for challenges and when they come along, I put myself into a different mind set, it's time to get very creative. 

I cook for all kinds of clients with all kinds of tastes and diet limitations. Some are allergy- or health-related, some are personal taste, some religious or cultural, some for personal and environmental reasons. I respect all diets, everyone should enjoy good food. Basically what I'm getting at, if you are a real chef, and truly care about food and people, drop the snobby attitudes, use your creativity and prepare delicious dishes with what you are allowed to use. With a little extra work I'm sure you'll come up with something that you would be proud to serve. 

I once cooked for a dinner party, not being allowed to use, onions, peppers, garlic and few other things. That was the hardest cook date so far and I survived.

Here's the vegetarian party menu, which went over great!


Chilled Gazpacho soup

Bread crumb, vegetable and parmasean stuffed tomatoes with a homemade molecular Greek olive oil powder

Roasted multi colored beets with a baslamic reduction

My own style of Buffalo tofu with homemade blue cheese dressing, carrot and celery sticks

Vegetarian outdoor cooked Paella with broccoli florets, artichoke hearts, red peppers and peas

Fried eggplant slices with a homemade spicy tomato jam

Mini whoopie pies from local Whoopi Monster


Everyone enjoyed the dishes. Many items were local and organic.




Happy New Year

2010 was an inspiring year in food: More and more, I find increasing interest in and awareness of food – everything from food safety and nutrition to interest in different ethnic foods, local foods and farmers markets. This is matched by a new interest among those who want to learn how to cook and want to learn more about sustainable foods and local products.  These are inspiring developments and I believe they are more than just trends.  

I’ve been working on many new menu items for the upcoming year, keeping in mind good taste, good health, eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day and everything in moderation.

Now that winter has officially set in, I miss my local weekend farmers market, but some markets are starting to continue into the winter months and even year round. I plan to visit a few.

Coming up in warmer weather, I have the following two projects in the works. Call or email for details, I will be ready to add bookings very soon for:

I plan to continue leading folks on The Roslindale Farmers Market and Gourmet Ethnic Shopping tours.

Lester Teaches BBQ- A day-long group class on BBQ ribs and Southern sides.   I have a wealth of information to share, as anyone who’s had my BBQ will tell you.

Of course throughout the winter I’m still offering a wide variety of services, including weekly fresh service, parties of all types and cooking classes and parties.

Here’s a new dish that I created after being inspired from my annual December trip to Florida:  Guava and rum BBQ glazed ribs.  They are great, served with my traditional Cuban black beans and rice and fried plantains.



Having an excellent time

I've been cooking up a storm for a wide variety of parties and events.  One highlight  was teaching appetizers at a wine tasting party for a food group, The Kitchen Club in Attleboro. The wines we tasted were supplied by The Swirling Vine in Norton. Valerie did an excellent job describing the wines and matching them to the dishes I prepared and the artisan cheeses I supplied. I hope to see and work with The Kitchen Club and The Swirling Vine again. What a fantastic party.

Some other great items I've been cooking up for parties, Grilled sirloin steaks topped with gorgonzola butter, cedar plank roasted maple glazed salmon, panko and almond encrusted pork tenderloin medallions with a Dijon mustard sauce, pink peppercorn tuna tartars, truffle oil roasted broccoli, kale with cranberries, everyone is still loving my homemade hummus and the port wine poached fig goat cheese tarts.

I've been making time for some of my own food hobbies, preserving, canning and pickling, curing salmon for homemade Lox and smoking salmon. I'm now on a sausage making craze, inspired by the book Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn. I can't forget the Thanksgiving feast I prepared for 14 great friends and family, the 20lb organic turkey came out perfect and my oyster stuffing has become a tradition. 


Dinner Parties

The last couple of weeks have brought many adventures with food. I'm going to begin with sharing a couple of menus I've developed with my clients for their upcoming dinner parties. 

Two person intimate dinner menu


Pink Peppercorn Tuna Tartare

Toasted crostini drizzled with olive oil and goat cheese

 Crab salad lettuce wrap

 Miso glazed Chilean Sea Bass with a miso sake reduction sauce

 Thai red rice (mold)

 Baby Bok Choy simmered in a ginger vegetable broth

 Lemon and a mango sorbet w/ a selection of berries and sliced mango



A taste of the South meeting the West 10 person dinner party menu


South Western yellow squash soup with an ancho chili cremma, chilled

 Batter fried pickles

 Buttermilk garlic and herb biscuits

 BBQ ribs with Lester’s Espresso Rocket Bomb Sauce

Grilled Texas corn on the cob with lime, cilantro, butter and cayenne

 Stewed seasoned collard greens

Macaroni and cheese (not just macaroni and cheese, this is Lester’s).         

Peach cobbler ala mode drizzled with Fat Toad Farm from Brookfield Vermont Goat Milk Cinnamon Caramel sauce