The Night We Hired a Chef and Mixologist To Our House for a Private Dinner
I have this constant desire for new and unique experiences. And with Megan’s birthday around the corner, I was thinking about what to do for dinner. Typically, we would have dinner somewhere and call it good. This year, though, I wanted to do something that we’ve never done before. Then the idea hit me, why not have some friends over and hire a chef and mixologist for a private dinner at our house?
Determining which mixologist to use was a no-brainer because we attended a class at Exploration Place hosted by master mixologist Nelson Escalante. Then, I asked on my Facebook page for suggestions on chefs to hire. There were loads of comments and one that came up was for Gerard Rodriguez, who people may be familiar with from R Coffee House and Adios Nachoria at Wave. A few years ago, we attended a 5-course Valentine’s Day dinner at Wave that Rodriguez put on and loved it. So with the familiarity of Rodriguez and Escalante’s work, I reached out to them to see if a private dinner was something they’d be open to.
They were, and it was officially on. Megan and I had meetings with the both of them to determine wants, likes, dishes and alcohols we disliked. In the end, we wanted no rules. Creative freedom is so important for me, and giving them that to express whatever they wanted in the dishes was priority number one. We walked away having no idea what would be on our private 5-course meal.
The night of our dinner, all we had to supply was the silverware, a table, chairs and a clean kitchen space for them to work their magic. They handled everything else from plates, stemware, you name it. Escalante and Rodriguez showed up roughly an hour before the set dinner time to prep and get everything ready. Each of them had someone to help them out as well.
We loved that they even had menu cards made. It all felt so professional.
Our dinner started off with a toast and shot of tequila from Rodriguez, who gave everybody an idea of what to expect. Many of our dishes and drinks even used locally owned products, restaurants, and liquors like PeeWee+Sweet’s Bakehouse, Greatness Vodka, Una Vida Tequila, and Kan-Grow Hydro Farm. Even many of the plates used for the night were handcrafted and made here in Wichita from Del Notre Ceramics. To keep with the trend, we used the locally owned Knork for flatware.
Here’s what we had during our dinner and cocktail experience:
Chorizo | Manchego | Pickled Carrot & Onion | Date Coulis Charred Prairie Loaf
Greatness Peach-Cherry Vodka | Pineapple | Citrust Blend Honey | Hibiscus Cube | Topo Chico
Seared Scallop | Mole Verde
Citadelle Jardin d’Ete Gin | Herbal Liqueur | Guava Syrup | Lime Cracked Peppercorn | Sea Foam
Barramundi | Brown Butter Cashew Mole | Charred Asparagus Salmon Roe | Garlic Chips
Una Vida Reposado | Rothman Peach Liqueur | Spiced Agave Syrup Tri-Pepper Shrub | Lemon | Orange Bitters
Beef Short Rib Enchiladas | Nopal | Guajillo Mole | Queso Fresco
Cooper’s Chase Small Batch Bourbon | Cocchi Vermouth Torino | Smoke Creme de Cacao | Dark Cherry | Guajillo Agave | Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Classic Churro | Fresh Whip | Cajeta | Berry Compote
Canerock Jamaican Spiced Rum | Ferrand Dry Curacao | House-made Horchata | Banana Brulee | Black Walnut Bitters Espresso Dust | Cinnamon ‘Cigar’
Oh my gosh. Everything was so wonderful and everyone at the table couldn’t help but complimenting the dishes and drink pairings all evening. It was so much food. I’ve done many blind course dinner before and always underestimate how full I’m going to get throughout the evening. At one point, I even left the table to go take my belt off. I think my waist expanded a couple of inches, but it was all in the name of good food and drink.
Perfect is the best way to describe it. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday. The night was incredible and filled with laughter and silent moments of praise each time someone took a sip or bite. Escalante, Rodriguez and their team handled everything from set up, clean up, food prep, serving. It was like being in a restaurant in your own home. We really can’t thank them enough for the experience they provided.
And for me, I have to be honest. As someone who dines out several times a week and gets a high from making memories, this was the type of dining experience I needed for my soul.
One of the questions I’m going to get will be the cost of a night like this. It all comes down to what you’re wanting in terms of dishes and/or drinks. The price can vary greatly on that. This is certainly not a cheap outing and it shouldn’t be as everything is catered to you. They are coming to your house and handling everything from beginning to end. Then we also tipped every party involved with the night. This is something definitely best reserved for special moments and if you’re willing to splurge.
To get a hold of Nelson Escalante, you can private message him on Facebook. He also does private classes for mixology if you’re ever interested. For Gerard Rodriguez, you can message R Coffee House on Facebook or Instagram.
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