Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
I hate to cook. Not just a little but A LOT! And not only do I hate it - I am terrible at it. Just ask my family. If a recipe requires more than three ingredients, there is a good chance I will mess it up. I take that back... there is a great chance. I once burned a biscuit in a microwave. I am sure you are asking the obvious question: Who cooks biscuits in a microwave? Well, I do, my friends. When I am hungry, I want to eat. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen molesting dead animals, dressing them in spices and mixtures I've never heard of. I recall another time where a recipe asked for scallions and not knowing what they were, I questioned a co-worker. Knowledgeable Sarah quickly summed it up by explaining that they were simply green onions. You have no idea how long I looked for green onions in the grocery that day. I found white, yellow and even red ones, but daggone it, no green ones. Imagine her expression when I revealed that Kroger didn't carry green onions. I am sure it looked similar to the one you have on your face right now.
So needless to say, when my BFFs were coming in for the weekend to stay with me, my immediate thought was where will I take them to eat? But upon further deliberation, I decided to have a personal chef come to my house and prepare an elegant meal for us. This wasn't necessarily an original idea as I had watched this scene play out several times on Bravo's TV show Housewives. On every version from Atlanta, Orange County, New York, etc., there is always one episode where the "Housewives" call in a personal chef (oh, the irony) and throw a little dinner party for the other ladies. "Oooohhhh! I want to do this," I thought. And why can't I? Truly, it's not just for the rich and famous!
So I called Tam the next day and she agreed that it was an excellent idea, and as usual, Ms. Hospitality knew just the lady, Chef Ruthie of La Bonne Vie in Lexington. Excitedly, we reached out to her and she was fortunately available the night we needed her. We discussed the details of the dinner including time, location, food preferences, allergies and any special requests. We were so happy to see what she came up with that we gave her full reign to create the menu. A few days later she forwarded us the plan and we were set!
The night of the party, she texted ahead of time to let me know she was on her way. My biggest fear, not being a real cook, was that I would not have the items she needed to fix the meal, but I was pleasantly surprised. She was so equipped and organized that meal prep was a breeze. A real pro I tell you! She also surprised us with a beautiful floral arrangement, the perfect centerpiece for my table! How sweet was that?
We spent a little time chatting with Ruthie as she truly is a girl's girl. Easy going, personable, warm and friendly, she fit right into our group. We loved her company as much as we loved her food! But she allowed us space to chit chat while she cooked, giving us pals time to catch up. It had been over a year since we had all been together and we were having a blast.
Ruthie asked a few questions like, do you want your salad out first, and how would you like your dinner served, but other than that, you would have never known she was there. She was diligent, professional and self-sufficient. It was like being in a restaurant but in the comfort of your own home.
When dinner was served, my guests were delighted, but not more so than I. We started with a pomegranate and arugula salad with fennel and blood-orange vinaigrette. I had no idea what fennel was and still don't but it was delicious! Next, she brought out the main course, balsamic roasted veggie and white bean pasta with chicken. It tasted as good as it sounded and the best part was that it was healthy, giving me a great reason to eat twice as much! Last, but certainly not least, we ended with a summer fruit crostata. Yum!! I am drooling just thinking about it!
There was no rush, no screaming kids, no delay of service or rude people. It was such a a wonderful experience that there is no doubt I will do this again. And the best part was, it was affordable.
At the end of the meal, us gals continued to chat while unknowingly, Ruthie cleaned the kitchen. I swear my mouth dropped. It was such a nice surprise. She also left a little thank you note that made Tam (aka Ms. Manners) gush for the next 20 minutes. Ruthie is the best at what she does. It's the little details like that, that makes you remember. There's no wonder why she is such a success.
So the next time I am hosting a dinner, the first person on the guest list will be Ruthie. Thank you, Ruthie, for providing us with not only a delicious meal, but an opportunity to impress my friends in a way I just frankly don't how to do. Not to mention, there was absolutely no stress.
The other cool thing about Ruthie's business is she does meal prep. Just click on her menu for the month and select what you want for the week. That's what I am going to do next. I eat out so much it's ridiculous. This is such a better and healthier way to go. I'm trading in my McDonalds for La Bonne Vie. Boy, am I getting fancy.
I think I might be ready now... for Housewives of Georgetown.
Bon Appétit, Y'all!