Second Helpings

Hail to the Chefs: Interested in having Christopher Gross come over to your house and cook for you and your guests? Maybe you'd prefer Vincent Guerithault (Vincent's), RoxSand Scocos (RoxSand), Eddie Matney (Eddie's Grill), Fred Yamada (Sushi on Shea), Michael DeMaria (Michael's), Razz Kamnitzer (Razz's), Donna Nordin (Cafe Terra Cotta) or Mark Henry (Chaparral)?

Each is part of the high-powered stable of Valley chefs working with the Culinary Arts & Entertainment group, a local company.

How does the program work? Let's say you want to feed dinner to 30 friends this holiday season. Get in touch with the company, and it'll help you arrange a menu and pair you with an appropriate chef. Looking for Italian? The company may direct you to Angelo Livi of Avanti. Want something with a regional flair? You might want to consult Patrick Hughes, chef at Old Town Tortilla Factory.

Once you've decided on the food, the chef will take care of everything else--setting up, cooking and cleaning up afterward.

As you can imagine, this kind of service doesn't come cheap. The price depends on many factors. If you want a big blowout the Saturday night before Christmas, it will cost a lot more than a Tuesday-night soiree in the middle of August. Naturally, your food expenses depend on what you choose to serve. Filet mignon is going to be more costly than chicken, and wine more expensive than bottled water.

According to the company, figure on a minimum of $50 per person, although, depending on your bill of fare, the cost can go significantly higher. Whatever the final tally, it will reflect your total expense, including the chef's services.

For more info, call Ashley Bradley at 998-5810.
Cordial Greetings: It seems like more and more menus are featuring after-dinner liqueurs these days. The French call these high-proof drinks a digestif, since they're supposed to aid digestion. I can't vouch for their medicinal powers, but I can say they make any meal end on a high note. Here's a guide to some of the more familiar ones:

Benedictine: A secret blend of 27 ingredients, first fashioned by French Benedictine monks in 1510. Hints of vanilla, honey and almond. In 1938, the company introduced B&B, Benedictine blended with brandy.

Chartreuse: Developed by Carthusian monks, it's a beautiful pale green color, scented with notes of anise, basil and mint.

Cointreau: Also from France, made from West Indies bitter orange peel and sweet orange peel from Spain.

Sambuca: A notable Italian liqueur, clear, thick, sweet with a heavy taste of anise.

Amaretto: Another Italian effort, with a strong, sweet almond aroma (which comes from crushed apricot pits).

Kahlua: Mexico's best-known liqueur, it's smooth with a rich coffee flavor.
Drambuie: From Scotland, it's a blend of whiskey, heather honey, herbs and spices that's great on nippy winter evenings.

Southern Comfort: A whiskey-based liqueur from the USA. It's got a somewhat sweet, fruity taste.

--Howard Seftel

Suggestions? Write me at hseftel@newtimes.com or New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,

 
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