Monday, September 26, 2011

My favorite Williamsburg "event"

Photo from A Chef's Kitchen website

Stephanie put a lot of research and work into this vacation (can you tell?).  That's how she found the good deals for homeschool week and our condos.  One day she called me to tell me about something special she wanted to do for a "mother-daughter" night out.

The "tables" set for guests as we arrived

There was a place in the downtown area of Colonial Williamsburg that lets you watch the chef's prepare the food you were eating and the food was suppose to be spectacular.  Well, she told me the price (I think I choked) and I asked if she was sure this was what she wanted to do???

She assured me it was and that this place had all rave reviews online and since we only get together once a year (and rarely join them on vacation), she thought we'd both enjoy this... after all, we share a passion for great food and cooking.  Since she was paying, I agreed.  ;)

Photo from A Chef's Kitchen website

So... one evening we left behind husbands and children (that being grandchildren for me) and headed out to a special dinner.  We arrived a little early so we looked around the quaint downtown area a little (love it!) and arrived back to find the gourmet gift shop area had become full.

At (I think) 6:30, we were all escorted into the room where the two chefs were already making preparations and we were offered champagne and hors d'oeuvres.  Yes, I had to sip some of the champagne.

Chef John Gonzales

Chefs John Gonzales and Sam Hall

That began what... to me... was a magical night (Narnia magic) as John Gonzales and his sous chef Sam Hall not only prepared each course but they taught how to make the various dishes!  No wonder the higher price, this was both a gourmet meal and a cooking class (obviously Stephanie had read the website but I hadn't).

Our menu for the evening was...

Warm Tomatillo Puree Scented with Kaffir Lime and Coconut Reduction

Green Mango Slaw with Carrots, Spring Onions and Virginia Peanut Vinaigrette

A Chef's Kitchen Skillet Baked Corn Bread

Crab "Rangoon" with Lemon, Basil and Cilantro Pesto

Asian Glazed Smoked Rack of Berkshire Pork
with Summer Squash Stir-fry

Key Lime Pie on Homemade Pecan Sandy Crust
with Cointreau Meringue

Sigh... yes, we ate it all.  By taking a little extra insulin I could have half my dessert but I had to decline the different wine served with each course.  That may have sent me over the edge with blood sugars!  Believe it or not... my favorite was the green mango slaw.... no, really.  As for Stephanie, she is still talking about that cornbread.

Why was this so wonderful?  Well, as I've written before... my original plans were to become a caterer or a study to be a pastry chef once my children were older.  Two circumstances made this difficult and then impossible... having my second child twelve years after the first (and then deciding to homeschool him) and developing Juvenile Diabetes in my 40s.  You'd think at least I could have been normal and developed type 2 diabetes!

This place is amazing and I can't think of anyone I'd rather share it with than my daughter.  The chefs are skillful teachers and easy to understand but they also share their enjoyment of cooking.  It makes for an entertaining as well as instructive (and may I add delicious) evening.

As I sat there enjoying each course, I thought of the difference between that evening and this past year as I've struggled with health, finances, and the Job-like summer.  I mean, really... how many people do you know whose house was hit by lightening and then almost blew up with a gas leak this summer?

But God... don't you love that... but God in His mercy and grace put a thought into my daughter's head long ago which resulted in a wonderful vacation and that very special evening.  I can assure you that I didn't worry about insurance settlements while enjoying spectacular food being prepared by two excellent chefs.

I know I have quite a few blog friends who live close enough to Williamsburg to enjoy such an evening.  It is not cheap but it is worth the price for what it is... a combination gourmet dinner and cooking class.

A Chef's Kitchen website is located at or by clicking here.  It provides information about the classes and dinners (we attended a dinner) and has a few YouTube videos including how to make that skillet baked corn bread.  You are sent home with all the recipes of the dishes prepared for the evening, too.

Pictures:  Pictures taken by Stephanie except the two from A Chef's Kitchen website.


Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Oh, Brenda, this does indeed sound magical in the best sense! A wonderful evening to share with your daughter and remember forever. With recipes, too!

becka said...

I'm glad the Lord allowed you to have such a wonderful trip with such a special event with your daughter. Williamsburg is a great place to visit and it sounds like you found extra special events to make it even more special.

becka said...

I'm glad that you got to have such a wonderful evening with your daughter. Visiting Williamsburg is a special event in itself and Stephanie found some extra-special events to make it even more memorable.

Mrs.Rabe said...

What a wonderful, special evening with your daughter!

Glad you had such a wonderful vacation!


Vee said...

Oh it sounds like a lot of fun especially in the company of your daughter. How wonderful that it all worked out for you both. I've got to go see what's up with the skillet corn bread...

Vee said...

Oh that was fascinating. I'm going to try it and see what I think.

Pen Pen said...

Your daughter is precious... that looks like so much fun for just the two of you! What a memory for both of you!

Beth said...

How wonderful! My oldest daughter is quite growwn up now...21...and you just reminded me that I need to take the time to have a dinner out with just the two of us. I have more daughters, but they are not quite as grown up!
Thank you for sharing your lovely evening with your daughter!

Vee said...

Thanks for your help, Brenda. I knew that the post had pictures of the chef and that it had Williamsburg in the title. I connected to it last night as I postdated. And when I checked this went to the wrong post so I started looking for the correct one and, if it was here, my eyes were blinded. I could NOT find it and I even went to my reading list because I knew that it would be listed there even if you took it off, but nothing. I don't know. It's all right now and that's all I care about. Should I confess that I used a box of cheap mix and simply used that method? It was so amazingly good that I can't imagine what would happen if I actually used a from scratch recipe. I did take down the recipe as I watched, but I'm not sure of the amounts because he didn't exactly give any except for the 1 and 3/4 cup of cornmeal or 9 oz. Did you get printed copies perhaps? Oh and I visted Stephanie's blog, too, to see if she had posted anything on it. That's what hooked me you know, when you said that she was still talking about the cornbread.

Thanks again!

Heather L. said...

Isn't it wonderful the gifts God gives us!!!! The whole weekend in NYC I was thanking Him for letting me have such a time and for all the lovely things I enjoyed, including food. It sounds like you had an amazing evening -- really a wonderful week with everyone. And Anna is so cute!!!! She and Laura would have a lot of fun together. :)