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Press, Testimonials

Chef Lawson Gray in the News- “A Chef’s Special Molé Sauce Will Help Dozens of Immigrants Apply for DACA Renewal”

FROM MOTHER JONES:

Because without immigrants, there’d be no restaurants.

Traci Des Jardins, a Top Chef Masters finalist and owner of six San Francisco restaurants including the much-lauded Jardiniere, hopes her award-winning French-rooted cuisine inspires pleasure and satisfaction above all—but knows that it’s sometimes impossible to avoid the spice of politics. The question of how far to wade into political territory—without distracting from the food she concocts—is often on her mind. “I’ve always tried not to be preachy in my restaurants,” she said on a recent episode of Bite podcast.

But some causes tip the scales. On Jardiniere’s receipts, she now includes a tiny message at the bottom that reads, “Immigrants make America great! They also cooked and served you dinner this evening.“Immigrants are the backbone of the restaurant world,” Des Jardins says. “I think it’s incredibly important in the political climate that we’re

“Immigrants are the backbone of the restaurant world,” Des Jardins says. “I think it’s incredibly important in the political climate that we’re in to really acknowledge that.” But even in liberal San Francisco, not all diners agree, she says:

“We’ve had people write on the bottom of the checks: ‘I’ll never come back here again,’” after seeing the message. “There’s a lot of vitriol.”

In early September, President Donald Trump rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allowed certain undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers to procure two-year work permits. Though the program is slated to end, roughly 154,000 immigrants in the country are eligible to renew their benefits one more time if they file before October 5 for a fee of $495.

And Des Jardins was once again drawn into a political cause. It started with chef Andrea Lawson Gray, author of Celebraciones Mexicanas and a private chef in San Francisco who runs a group of top-rated local private chefs. “The night Trump was elected, I felt we really needed to do something,” Lawson Gray says.  “We had the power to put ourselves together and create a meal for good.”

When she learned that the DACA program was ending, Lawson Gray thought first of her daughter-in-law, a former Dreamer who had finally qualified for her permanent residency just weeks before. The aha moment arrived when a friend put Lawson Gray in touch with Mission Asset Fund, a nonprofit lending organization that is providing financial assistance to more than 2,000 Dreamers eligible for DACA renewal, many of whom can’t afford the fee.

Lawson Gray spent the next three weeks organizing a benefit dinner to raise funds for Mission Asset’s scholarship. One of the chefs who agreed to help was Rogelio Garcia, executive chef of Des Jardins’ The Commissary restaurant. He approached Des Jardins about the benefit, and she offered up a dining room at her restaurant Jardiniere. “I think Rogelio got the impression that this would happen,” Lawson Gray says of Des Jardins’ offer. “I think this is very personal for her.”

Des Jardins’grandparents came from Mexico, and she has employed DACA recipients at her restaurants. “They’re part of the fabric of our culture, and they have a place here,” Des Jardins told CBS Local.

The dinner, which took place on September 25, raised nearly $10,000 that night, with donations continuing to arrive in the days after. Lawson Gray, one of the four chefs preparing the dinner, made blackberry mole with shredded chicken on a puree of sweet plantains, served on a blue corn tortilla topped with queso fresco and a plantain chip. Two Dreamers spoke about their own experiences and the importance of renewals.

The day after the event, Lawson Gray reflected that the dinner really seemed to “touch a nerve for people,” and said she believes it was the first event of its kind in the country. City leaders in pockets of the country, and Rhode Island’s governor, have also offered funding for DACA renewals, but Lawson Gray hadn’t heard of any other chef events like this one. She hopes to work on similar politically inspired fundraising dinners in the future. “Just take whatever talents you have and get together with other people and make things happen,” she urges.

 See Chef Andrea Lawson Gray being interviewed on KPIX 5 here!
California Cuisine

A California Culinary Experience

Exactly what is California Cuisine? Ask a dozen chefs and you’ll get at least a half a dozen different answers, but all of them will have 3 words in common: local, organic and sustainable. And that is where I start, in the farmers’ markets that abound in the SF Bay.
Cal Cuisine has also been described as “a style of cuisine marked by an interest in fusion cuisine (integrating disparate cooking styles and ingredients)” (WIKI). Add “chef-driven” and “a focus on letting the ingredients speak for themselves” and this becomes a very good description of my approach to cooking.
Salmon 3 ways edited
Salmon 3-ways: Salmon Roe/ Tequila-cured Salmon/Salmon Rillettes

My cooking has been influenced by my time in Mexico, where I am building a Casa de Huspedes (guest house) and cooking school. I fell in love with the old world techniques:  the time taken to grind spices with a mortar and pestle, toast seeds and chiles on a comal,  working the masa to make tortillas by hand— honoring the ingredients and coaxing out the flavors in a way that no other techniques can. These techniques lend themselves beautifully the locally-sourced, organic ingredients we are blessed with in the SF Bay Area; where the food scene is all about a chef’s creativity– the perfect place to explore the fusion of the cuisines I love to cook.  Allow me to share this privilege with you, with an exquisite meal which I will prepare in your kitchen.

The featured photo here (left) is one example of the results: Foie Gras presented on a delicate hand-crafted corn masa shell with poached green apple and salsa verde 

 

Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 2.25.50 PM
Mexican woman grinding spices with a molcajete while chiles and tomatoes are roasting on a comal

veggie-tarts-ready-to-roast
SAMPLE MENUS

Below are sample menus; I custom-design every menu I produce, working closely with the host/ess. Get in touch and we can work on something truly memorable, together!

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-9-19-44-am

(menus are seasonal, each one is custom-designed working closely with the host/ess)

Steak Tartare edited
Steak Tartare/Salt-cured Egg Yolk/Pickled Beet/Fired Caperberry/Brown Rice Crackers

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Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 3.58.43 PM
Porcini-crusted Black Cod, photo by Chun Yip So

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Grilled Peach

Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Holiday Menus, New Year's Eve

Elegant Holiday Cocktail or Dinner Party

5622325575_53de65b427_zWhen you want to go all out for the holidays, we recommend you greet your guests with a glass of champagne! Below is a menu of traditional party favorites that are sure to impress. For a Holiday Cocktail Party, we recommend up to ten passed and/or stationary appetizers (depending upon the size of your crowd and duration of your party, see Cocktail Party tips here). If its a Holiday Dinner Party, 3-5 appetizers are best, while all your guests arrive and gather, followed by a sit-down dinner (see sample dinner menu below)

Foie Gras Poached Apple Salsa Verde
Foie Gras / Green Apple / Handmade Corn Masa Shell/ Salsa Verde

 

Scallop Spoons
Scallops / Burnt Chipotle-Agave Salsa

 

Ceviche Tasting:

Scallops /Habanero /kumquat / sweet potato / smoked sea salt

aguachile

Chef’s choice of white fish / Aji Amarillo /pineapple /vanilla/tomatillo

Arabesque: tuna / soy /citrus / Chile Verde / sesame seeds

Elegant Holiday Cocktail Party

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 3.31.52 PM

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

HOLIDAY DINNER PARTY SAMPLE MENU

AMUSE BOUCHE

Deviled Eggs / Caviar / House-cured Tequila Gravlax

caviar smoked salmon egg

OR

Pelotita / Cranberry-Chipotle Chutney

Goat cheese Amuse Bouche.jpg

Cranberry-stuffed Brazil nut-crusted Napa Valley Goat Cheese

APPETIZER

Salmon Three-ways: House-cured Tequila Cilantro Gravlax / Salmon Rillette/ Salmon Roe w/ Cowgirl Creamery Creme Fraiche

Salmon 3 ways edited
Salmon 3-ways: Salmon Roe/ Tequila-cured Salmon/Salmon Rillettes

OR

Albondigitos: mini lamb meatballs / Sherry cream sauce / pea purée

Albondigos Peruvian

SOUP  

Haitian New Year’s Eve Soup: savory pumpkin soup / beef broth / scotch bonnet chile

SALAD  

Classic or Kale Caesar prepared tableside/ black-pepper-and-salt-cured egg yolk

Caesar Salt Cured York

ENTREE

SURF & TURF LARGE PLATES (or choose just one)

select a “surf” course from the following)

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BourbonRoasted Lobster / herbed butter / succotash

OR
Camarones con Naranja y Tequila y Chile Roja 

 shrimp/ garlic / orange peel /chiles del arbol / flambéed with tequila

TURF

Sous Vide Filet Mignon (4 oz. for Surf ‘n Turf Menu, 6 oz. for “turf” only)

served with

Truffled Potatoes

OR

Rack of Lamb / Roasted Root Vegetables

Pecan-crusted Wild Salmon

Pecan-crusted Salmon edited

INTERMEZZO

Spiced Cranberry Sorbet / Pistachio Dust

Fig Sorbet

DESSERT

Chocolate Flourless Torte

choc chipotle bundt

soaked with agave and rum

Holiday Menus, New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve Tasting Chef’s Tasting

Below is a sample menu. All my menus are custom designed, working closely with the host/ess.

Pricing is determined by # of guests and menu selections and starts at $120/person with a $2000 minimum. Except for the Appetizers, this menu is designed to be served plated (restaurant style). Our sommelier can recommend wine-pairing for each course and our Mixologist can create a Bar Menu and/or pair a signature cocktail to specific dishes (additional charge applies). We are happy to accommodate special dietary requirements.

PRIMERO PASO: APPETIZERS  (served from 7 pm- 8:30 pm)

COLD
Cheesemonger’s & Salumeri Tray
Salumeri and Antipasto edited
Ceviche Tasting‡

Ceviche Tasting Station

Scallops /Habanero /kumquat / sweet potato / smoked sea salt

Chef’s choice of white fish / Aji Amarillo /pineapple /vanilla/tomatillo

Arabesque: tuna / soy /citrus / chile Verde / sesame seeds

Cold passed appetizers (con’t)

Crab Salpicon (Jumble)/avocado aioli

crab tostada (not mine)
Photo by T.Tseng

oysters

caviar-deviled-eggs-not-mine
Caviar Deviled Eggs
Hot passed appetizers

Albondigitos: mini lamb meatballs / Sherry cream sauce/pea purée

Albondigos Peruvian

SOUP  (served at 8:30 pm)

Haitian New Year’s Eve Soup: savory pumpkin soup/beef broth/Scotch Bonnet chile

OR

Saffron Mussels and Smoked Scallop Chowder

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 3.04.31 PM

SMALL PLATES (Starting at 8:45)

Salmon Three Ways: Salmon rillettes/ House-cured tequila cilantro salmon/ Endive Wrap, creme fraiche, Golden caviar

Salmon 3 ways edited
Salmon 3-ways: Salmon Roe/ Tequila-cured Salmon/Salmon Rillettes

OR

Grilled Calamari Citrus Chile

Calamari/anchovy butter and lemon

Steak Tartare/salt & pepper cured egg yolk/ beet carpaccio

 Steak Tartare edited

Classic or Kale Caesar prepared tableside

Caesar Salt Cured York

OR

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 4.43.24 PM

Holiday Salad

Tamal de Cazuela

tamal de cazuela from book

OR

Roasted Root Vegetable Tart

veggie-tarts-ready-to-roast

SURF & TURF LARGE PLATES (served at 10 pm)

select a “surf” course from the following)

9496054927_20c7a8534f_z

BourbonRoasted Lobster ‡/ herbed butter/succotash

OR
Ahi Tuna 

Tuna (not mine)

TURF

Coffee-crusted Sous Vide Filet Mignon

OR

Surf ‘n Turf Plate

surf-n-turg

DESSERT BAR (served at 11:00 pm)

Chocolate Chipotle Flourless Torte

choc chipotle bundt

Poached Pear

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photo by neenahkay

Spiced Cranberry Sorbet / Pistachio Dust

Fig Sorbet

Grilled Mexican Corn Cake

IMG_1067

soaked with agave and rum

‡ indicates dishes with premium pricing
featured, Latin Cuisine, Mexican Specialties, Seafood Specialties

Menu of the Month: Californio Tasting Dinner

The following is a small sampling of the menu items I offer. For a more extensive selection, please see the Modern Mexican menu on Tres Señoritas Gourmet, our sister site

 APPETIZERS

Mexican Cheese and Cured Meats Board

Mexican Cheese Board
Grilled Chile-Lime Baby Cactus/ Queso Fresco/ Habanero Jack/ Cured Chorizo/ Panel Cheese with Guava Paste/ Cecina: cured Mexican beef (not shown)

Elote Pops: (seasonal) our version of a Mexican street food favorite, grilled, dusted with lime butter and Cotija cheese, topped with my signature Burnt Chipotle Mecca Salsa

Charred Elote Bites

Alas Locas- “crazy” chicken wings, select from Mole, Chipotle BBQ, Mexican Dry Spiced

chicken wings riNux
photo by riNux

Handmade Blue Corn Tortillas / Black Bean Hummus/ Chorizo & Wild Mushrooms (see below) or choose “Higo” de Gallo (Pico de Gallo with fresh figs) or Charred Panela Cheese & Avocado

Black Bean Hummus Chorizo Mushrooms

Tapenades / Flatbread

Poblano / Black Olive / Fig Tapenade

 Hearts of Palm Dip

Salpicon de Mariscos Mixta: “salpicon” literally translates as a “jumble”, I use crab meat and shrimp with fresh lime and chile, served on a house-made tostada

OR

Seared Scallop/ Burnt Chipotle Mecca Salsa

Scallop Spoons

OR

House cured Tequila-Cilantro Salmon Rosettes on Cucumber Coin

cured-salmon-rosette-spoons

SMALL PLATE SELECTIONS

Trio of Moles

Mole Verde made with tomatillo, cilantro, romaine lettuce, pumpkin seeds, and epazote/ Blackberry Mole/ Hazelnut Mole / handmade corn tortillas made from locally-milled masa

trio of moles

OR

Tostadita de Pollo en Mole
Blackberry mole / handmade “green” nopalito-corn tortilla / shredded chicken / Queso Cotija / plantain chip

  • blackberry-mole-small-tortilla-app

Tamal De Cazuela

Choice of Corn /Sweet Red & Poblano Chiles/ Onions / Garbanzos / Green Beans or Tinga de Pollo (Mexican chicken fricassee with Chipotle Chiles, Spanish White Onion, Cinnamon, and Spices)

tamal de cazuela from book

OR

Eggplant en Nogada

Eggplant Nogada

Eggplant/Poblanos/Golden Raisins/Walnut with a Walnut Crema Mexicana Sauce

PLATOS FUERTE (LARGER PLATE)

Halibut Plate.JPG

Grilled Chilean Sea Bass grilled in Banana Leaf / Meyer Lemon & Peruvian Orange / Pasilla & Ancho Chile Adobo

OR

Pistachio-crusted Salmon with Pistachio Pipian
(Pipians, similar to moles, are thick sauces made with seeds, nuts, chiles and spices)
Purple Peruvian Fingerlings / shredded rainbow carrots / roasted tomatillo half

pipian-salmon-plate

Fresh Mango Salsa / Sweet Potato Plantain Mash

OR

Carne Enchilada Estilo Michoacán: Beef Brisket / Pasilla Chile Salsa /Tomatillos

INTERMEZZO

Fig Sorbet

Spiced Fig Sorbet / Pistachio Dust

DESSERT

Mexican Corn Cake

Cienna’s Agave & Rum Soaked Mexican Corn Cake

 

Seafood Specialties

Seafood Specialties

Whenever possible, I cook with sustainable seafood, sourced from local fishermen who meet rigorous standards so as to guarantee the highest-quality. The following is just a sampling of the dishes I prepare.

APPETIZERS

Salmon 3 ways edited
Salmon 3-ways: Salmon Roe/ Tequila-cured Salmon/Salmon Rillettes

Ceviche Tasting*

Ceviche Tasting Station

Rosemary / Pancetta Shrimp Skewers

shrimp-skewers-rosemary-proscuitto

Seared Scallop / Parsnip Purée / Pressed California Caviar 

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 3.15.45 PM

Crab Salpicon Meaning “hodgepodge” or medley in Spanish, in Mexican cuisine, the term refers to a salad mix containing thinly sliced or chopped flank steak, onion, oregano, chile serrano, avocado, tomatoes, and vinegar. This version combines delicate, sweet crabmeat, crunchy jicama, scallions and lime juice. Served with housemade tostadas.

 

crab tostada (not mine)
Photo by T.Tseng

Grilled Calamari

Grilled Calamari Citrus Chile

SOUP

 Saffroned Mussel and Smoked Lobster Chowder

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 3.04.31 PM

Chilled Corn Cob Stock & Buttermilk Soup / Crabmeat and Crispy Prosciutto

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 3.23.13 PM

Sopa Siete Mares/Seven Seas Soup, also can be an entrée

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 5.33.54 PM

ENTREES

Crispy Halibut/ Handmade Udon/ Wild Mushroom Broth/ Bonita Flakes & Chicharron Crumble

Chef Gray's Crispy Halibut Handmade Udon Wild Mushroom Broth Bonita Flakes & Chicharron Crumble

Pecan-crusted Wild Salmon Pecan-crusted Salmon edited

Crab Carbonara with Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper and Parsley (James Beard Foundation recipe)

Sole Meunière/ Haricots Verts/ Peruvian Purple Potatoes in Truffle Butter

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 3.01.31 PM

Mexican Paella

Saffron Rice / chicken bites/ housemade Chorizo/ scallops / shrimp /mussels

house-roasted sweet red peppers / sugar snap peas

Paella

Sous Vide Ahi Tuna

Tuna (not mine)

Plantain-wrapped Halibut

(from my Cuban Taste Adventure Menu)

Chilean Sea Bass / Pipian Sauce /Mango Salsa

Halibut Plate

Roasted Garlic Scallops with Toasted Almonds

Red-Chile Seared Scallops with Jalapeño Polenta

Surf & Turf: Bourbon & Brown Butter Poached Lobster Tail/ Sous Vide Filet Mignon

surf-n-turg

Pescado Pibil

45 - Pescado pibil

Shrimp Volavanes

from my Comida Alfrancesada (French-Mex) Menu

68 - volovanes de camaron

Shrimp / Hazelnut Mole / Wild Rice

Cuban-style Fish

IMG_0999

* These items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (or may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

featured, French

French Bistro & Provençal Specialties

I began my love affair with French cooking as a 16-year old au pair, living with a family just outside of Paris. Our family has close ties with France; with one son living in Paris, I am a frequent visitor and always updating my repertoire of French recipes! (scroll down to see additional menu selections following the sample menu).

verrines
Zucchini-Tomato Verrine

 

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ENTREE SECTIONS

(FIRST COURSE)

Leeks with Bacon: Hard-boiled Eggs/ Vinaigrette

Coquille St. Jacques

IMG_3516

Endive & French Country Ham Au Gratin

ham-endive-au-gratin

Mushrooms Duxelle Tartin

Onion / Goat Cheese Tartin

photo by Ruth Hartnup

Smoked Salmon / Dill-Mustard Sauce

Caviar de Aubergine: Eggplant Caviar / Toast Points

Beet Hummus

photo by katie hargrave

Pissaladiere

French Onion Tart / Anchovies and Olives

French Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese

11927517683_104be2ea6a_z

LES POTAGES

(SOUPS)

Potage Parmentier: chilled Bodega Bay Potato-leek Soup

487923306_6e3f804d41_z
photo by mari

(option to serve hot and add bacon for a Soupe Poireux)

French Onion Soup

LE PLAT PRINCIPAL

(MAIN COURSE)

Bouillabaisse

bouillabase

Cassoulet au Canard

photo by David Blaine
photo by David Blaine

Rancho Gordo Classic Cassoulet Beans/lamb sausage/duck leg

OR

Cassoulet Catalan en Pistache

Rancho Gordo Classic Cassoulet Beans/ Lamb Shoulder / Pancetta / French Sausage

Sous Vide Steak Frites with Red-Wine Shallot Sauce

Filet Mignon Bordelais

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Bordeaux wine / thyme / shallot sauce

Pot au Feu

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photo by stu spivak

Beef shank / rump roast / root vegetables

French Country Ham

Beef Bourguignon with Haricots Verts

IMG_3519

Coq au Vin

271868775_63ad52c088_z

Homard a L’Americane / Cayenne / Garlic / Tarragon / Tomato / Cognac / White Wine

347956985_1ca63ed204_z

Filet de Sole a la Bretonne: Pan-sauteed / Caper-Mushroom-Shrimp-Vermouth Reduction

photo by Jeremy Keith
photo by Jeremy Keith

PALATE CLEANSER

Sorbet 

OR

SALAD

Arugula / Bruléed Ruby Red Grapefruit / Toasted Pine Nuts

Citrus/Agave Dressing

Organic Bay Spring Greens / Jicama / Mango
Raspberry Vinaigrette

Shaved Asparagus / Baby Carrots

Shaved Asparagus SaladRicotta salata / lemon / almonds

CHEESE PLATE

individual cheese plate (not mine)
photo by Larry Hoffman

DESSERT

Creme Brulée

14198325397_2f01161afc_z

Chocolate Mousse

Rose whipped cream / pistachios

photo by jamieanne
photo by jamieanne

Cherry Clafoutis

7326966018_9064a9f7ca_z
photo by Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin

Pomme Bonne Femme/ Cinnamon Mascarpone/ Coffee Salted Carmel Dulce de LecheIMG_1938 (2)

 SAMPLE MENU

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 1.50.44 PM

Cuban Fare, Gluten-free, Latin Cuisine

A Cuban Taste Adventure

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 3.02.20 PMWhy just dine when you and your guests can take a virtual voyage to somewhere exotic? Let our Mixoligist pair a Cuban Bar Menu, and then add a tablescape that matches your menu.

SIGNATURE COCKTAILS

pisco sour not ours

CHOPIN CUBAN COCKTAIL
Vodka / Champagne/ Sprig of Mint

MOJITO

VOLSTEAD
Fresh strawberries muddled / simple syrup/ vodka/ elderflower liqueur

CEVICHE TASTING

Scallops /Habanero /kumquat / sweet potato / smoked sea salt

Chef’s choice of white fish / Aji Amarillo /pineapple /vanilla / tomatillo

Arabesque: tuna / soy /citrus / chile verde / sesame seeds

Scallop Ceviche

SMALL PLATES

(served plated,  restaurant-style)

TROPICAL SALAD

Beets /grilled blood orange /almonds /radish coins /Manchego/ Blood orange vinaigrette

beet salad 2

ENSALADA DE PULPO: Grilled octopus salad

Enslada de Pulpo

PLANTANOS MADUROS

IMG_0996

YUCA CON MOJO DE AJO

IMG_0984

LARGER PLATES

PLANTAIN-CRUSTED HALIBUT GIMG_0999

ARROZ CON POLLO G
Slow-cooked chicken with saffron rice, olives, capers and roasted red peppers
served with white rice and Cuban-style Black beans
OR
CHULETAS CON ARROZ CON COCO  G
Grilled Chile-marinaded Pork Chops with Mango Salsa
and Coconut Rice
OR
CUBAN PORK ROAST
Cuban Pork Roast

DESSERT BAR

Parfait de limon verde y mango: Mango-Key Lime Mouse Parfait/ shredded sweet coconut

Mango-Key Lime Parfaits

Chocolate con crème de aguacate: Artisanal dark chocolates filled avocado cream

Pastelito de naraja y almendra con ron y yogurt: Orange-Almond Cake / Rum & Yogurt Sauce

Panna Cotta de Coco con Mango: Coconut Panna Cotta/ Mango Purée

coconut-panna-cotta

IMG_1002

INDICATES GLUTEN-FREE OPTION

* These items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (or may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

featured, Modern American Cuisine, Southern Specialties

MODERN AMERICAN FARE

Long before I immersed myself in Italian, French, Mediterranean and Mexican cooking, I cooked at my mother’s side, learning to make what can only be called  classic American food: Roast Beef and Popovers, Brisket and Mashed Potatoes with Succotash, Chicken with Dumplings— this was the fare of my childhood. When it was clear that cooking was my calling, I began first to expand upon what I knew, and perfect some of my mother’s favorites. Here are updated versions of the dishes I was raised on! I can create special appetizers, soups, salads, entrées or desserts, or an entire menu along one of these lines. I love designing new menus and am happy to develop a meal around your tastes, just let me know what intrigues you!

 VERY PARTIAL LISTING!

(for sample menus, scroll to bottom)

SNACKIN’

Watermelon Rind Pickles
Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cups

Steak Tartare/ Black Pepper & Salt-cured Egg York / Pickled Beet / Fried Caperberry / Brown Rice Crackers

Steak Tartare

APPETIZER

Grilled Nectarine / Buratta / Basil / Balsamic Reduction

Grilled Peach
SALAD

Massaged Kale or Traditional Caesar

Caesar

ENTREE OPTIONS

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with a Peach-Red Wine Reduction

(finished with torch, below)

Searing Beef Tenderloin

Surf ‘n Turf

surf-n-turg

Chicken in Rose and Hibiscus Sauce

Screen shot 2015-04-06 at 1.40.35 PM

Sous Vide Beef Brisket with Texas Mopping Sauce

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 10.08.25 AM
Barbecued Pork Loin with Bourbon Sauce

SIDES

Savory Bread Pudding: Leek or Spinach/Artichoke or Mushroom/Parmesan

(also available gluten-free Cheddar/Thyme Cornbread Pudding)

savory-bread-pudding-photo-by-k-r-b
photo by K. R. B.

 

Kickin’ Cole Slaw: Fresh corn (seasonal) / Habanero sauce

6644329035_ec5eebea5e_z
Foot Stompin’ Baked Beans: Rancho Gordo black beans stewed for 24 hours in a clay pot / bacon lardons / Chorizo / Blackstrap Molasses / piloncillo  
Herbed Butter Grilled Corn

grilled corn

DESSERT

Lavender Bread Pudding / Currants and Bananas Brullée /Amaretto Mascarpone

Chef Gray's Bread Puddingserved warm

see our full Dessert Menu here

SAMPLE MENUS

Framed Menu American 2

Framed Menu American

BBQ, Southern Specialties

Southern Specialites

This is a very partial listing of dishes I prepare from recipes shared with me by my bestie and Southern sister, Rutha Mae Barr. Eating her Chicken Supreme with Sour cream, Lima Beans and Dumplings is one of my fondest childhood memories.

SNACKIN’

Watermelon Rind Pickles
Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cups

SALAD

Massaged Kale or Traditional Caesar*

ENTREE OPTIONS

Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs with Sweet & Sticky Sauce

1465633049_2606516c6f_z

Barbecued Beef Brisket with Texas Mopping Sauce
Barbecued Pork Loin with Bourbon Sauce

9496054927_20c7a8534f_z

Roasted Lobster with Bourbon and Brown Butter

Shrimp and Crab (seasonal) Gumbo

Jambalaya

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photo by stu_spivack

SIDES

Kickin’ Cole Slaw

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Foot Stompin’ Baked Beans

Rancho Gordo black beans, first stewed for 24 hours in a clay pot,

then cooked with bacon lardons / Chorizo / Blackstrap Molasses / Dark Rum  

Herbed Butter Grilled Corn

grilled corn

DESSERT

Peach/Blueberry/Fig Cobbler

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* These items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (or may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

Appetizers, Cocktail Party

Appetizers

Planning a Cocktail Party, a happy hour before dinner is served or looking for an appetizer course a part of a formal seated dinner…

Crudite Station

Crudite and Anchioade

Grilled Calamari

Mexican Cheese & Meat Tray: Grilled Chile-Lime Nopalitos /
Ate de Membrillo / Cecina

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Grilled Calamari Citrus Chile

Antipasto

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Charcuterie

antipasto-artichoke-hearts-small-peppersCheesemonger’s Board

Cheesemonger's Plate

 Mini-Tlacoyos: nopalito (green), blue corn and achiote (orange) masas and broccoli / Queso Oaxaca and Sweet Potato / Goat Cheese fillings with Poblano Aioli

Tlacoyos After

Seared Scallops / Burnt Chipotle Salsa

Bacon-wrapped Scallops

Bacon-wrapped Scallop Spoons

Agua Chile

aguachile

Pineapple / Jicama / Cucumber / Chile-peanut sprinkles  G  

beets & baby mozz

Mexican Crab Cakes G  

poblano / sweet red & yellow peppers / jalepeños / chipotle aioli

Deviled Eggs

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Bruschetta Skewers G  

Baby Mozzarella / Napa Valley Olive Oil / Basil / Balsamic Reduction

Grilled Shrimp Scampi Crostini

Shrimp Scampi App

Endive Wraps G  

Meyer Lemon-dill House-cured Salmon / Cowgirl Creamery Creme Fraiche / Dill

Endive Wrap

Warm Mushroom Salad G  

Fontina Polenta Bites G  

Roasted Tomato Marinara / Grilled Italian Sausage (also available as a vegetarian offering) ‡

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Pelotitas: Brazil-nut Crusted Napa Valley Goat Cheese

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filled with Mission Black Fig / fig-chipotle chutney‡ G

Black and Blue Crostini

Carmelized Onions/ Blue Cheese / Filet Mignon
Antipasto

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Salumeri

Prosciutto-wrapped Grilled Asparagus w/shaved Parmagiano Reggiano G  


Carne Tartara de Chiapas G  

4505 Meats beef marinated in lime juice with chopped onion, tomato and guajillo chile topped with Queso Anejo

Melon Bites – sweet, ripe cantaloupe wedges with a hint of chile and lime, wrapped in Iberica ham thinly-sliced

Ceviche Tasting Station

Ceviche Tasting

Chilled Avocado Soup Shooter G  

Guacamole con Totopos  G  

choose Basic, Apple-Tequila or Pineapple Cucumber ‡

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Elote con Queso Cotija G  

corn bites with chile, lime, coated with grated Mexican cheese (seasonal) ‡

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Bruschetta de Camote G  

 sweet potato bruschetta topped with chipotle roasted pecan strudel and goat cheese crumble ‡

 

‡ VEGETARIAN

G  GLUTEN-FREE

Client Reviews, Client Reviews & Awards, Reviews, Testimonials

Review & Awards

Carrie D. August 30, 2017 

“Chef Andrea provided us with a wonderful celebration dinner at our rental Villa in Sonoma. She was super helpful in developing a menu that satisfied all our requirements. Her response time to all questions was quick and greatly appreciated! The food she prepared and served us exceeded our expectations!! Thank you Chef for a lovely meal and we really enjoyed meeting you. Cheers!”

Greg G. Aug. 25, 2017 

“Una Senorita did a nice job for an event we were trying to have last minute. Food was well prepared, she interacted well with our guests and was very professional. Our evening was very casual and flexible and her style worked well with the evening.”

Polina M. July 5, 2017 

“Andrea’s cooking was fantastic! The dishes were unique and really well-made, with fresh ingredients and close attention to detail. The planning process was also really smooth. She was easy to get in touch with and very accommodating to dietary restrictions. Highly recommend!”

Liz. S June 29, 2017  

“I can’t wait to hire Chef Gray again! She prepared a custom7-coursee meal for my husband’s surprise party – every single dish was outstanding. She was also incredibly responsive and reliable. The meal absolutely made my husband’s party a success. She also accommodated various food allergies. Her staff was also amazing. I can’t recommend her highly enough!”

Andre W. February 5, 2017 

“Chef definitely went above and beyond in helping managing the event with a tight timeline and multiple changes due to the nuances of the guest of honor. In addition to great food, she gave me advice and specific examples on how to make every aspect of the event memorable.”

 

Bryon O. Jan 15, 2017,

“I hired Chef Gray for a 40th birthday dinner for my wife. She prepared great food and felt amount of food served justified the cost would definitely recommend.”

Dan C. January 4, 2017,

“All was Great!! would use them again”

Jenna B. Oct. 1, 2016,

“Thanks so much for a fabulous evening! It turned out so much better than I ever could have hoped. It was truly special for my parents and the food was fabulous!! Thanks for working with our group and making it a delightful experience.”

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Elissa B. June 10th 2016 

“It was all great. Exceptional food. Worked with us when we wanted to eat in front of the Warriors game and served us each course plated individually when we had requested an appetizer buffet. Left the kitchen spotless. Exceptional all around!!”

McKenna C. May 11, 2016 

“She was a fabulous chef and made it fun and exciting for our guests. She was the perfect chef for our event because she lightened the mood and made what could have been awkward (corporate retreat hosted at an air BnB with no alcohol) not uncomfortable at all! She was interactive and talkative. She even chimed in on our discussion about shared economy since she is an expert in the field. I would definitely recommend her if you’re looking for a fun, entertaining, and delicious dinner!”

May W. April 11, 2016 

“We all loved this experience! Chef Gray helped figure out a menu that suited the occasion. She and her crew served amazing tacos with tastes that made everyone sigh. They were also most accommodating about serving the food in an area we hadn’t considered but needed due to the coolness of the evening. When we later moved inside, the food arrived seamlessly, course after course. And, when the event was finally done, the kitchen looked like no one had been in it at all.”

From Sheila R. March 9, 2016 

“Andrea helped me with an engagement party for my brother. I had a number of food restrictions and personalities that she was able to work into the menu. No one felt like that were left out! She helped me with decor and brought a great staff to help her. The party was a huge success and everyone is still talking about how great the food was! Thank you Andrea!!”

Sierra H. Dec. 10, 2015,

“Andrea did an outstanding job. I could not have asked for a better fit. She is experienced, professional, and easy to work with. She was uber-responsive to txts, accommodative regarding payment method, and flexible regarding food preferences. My team loved her high-quality food selection for the main course and the finesse of the appetizer, initial courses, and desserts. For instance, the chocolate-covered strawberries were custom-made with coconut shreds, dark chocolate, and praline. She dressed the part and brought a wonderful helper / assistant along. She shopped at the best meat shop in SF, and the king salmon tasted amazing- buttery, rich, and fresh. She cleaned up 100%, and left the kitchen cleaner than she found it. Finally, she was able to get this production for 11people together in less than 48 hours. I’d definitely recommend her and her staff, as well as hire her again. Thank you, Chef Gray!”


Annabelle R. July 13, 2015, 

“I can’t say enough about Andrea’s catering service. Food was not only DELICIOUS it was unique. A feast of spicy flavors. Each dish was well prepared–cooked to perfection. Andrea was very easy to communicate with. Very patient even through my busy event preparation stage. She arrived on time on each of our meetings, returned every phone call or email. Most importantly, she easily set up all our food for our garden party in very timely fashion.

I’ll definitely use Andrea again and highly recommend her for all catering events!!”

 

Paul W. May 17, 2015,
“Before the event, Andrea took great care to create a menu that would fit our party. At the party, she and her staff created a wonderful dinner and they were very friendly without creating any distractions. I can definitely recommend her.”
Lana G. April 25, 2015,
“Andrea served a delicious meal and provided amazing service. We had a 5 course sit down dinner and she timed it perfectly with each dish presented beautifully.”

Nikki April 9, 2015,

Delicious food, great service, kitchen perfectly clean afterward! The easiest and best dinner party for 12 people I have ever hosted!!”

Brayton Feb.15, 2015 

“Andrea was great, all dishes were special and a few with a surprising kick. She was wonderful to work with and would highly recommend her!”

From Christophe Jan. 11, 2015″Andrea did a fantastic job to help me throw a private dinner party for my wife’s birthday. We were 23 guests and Andrea was very constructive and helpful in devising a menu with my feedback. Execution was flawless and she left the kitchen in pristine condition. Highly recommended.”

Larry Oct. 27, 2014 

“I hosted a 50th birthday dinner at our home last night form my wife and 12 of her close girl friends. Senorita Gourmet Andrea Gray catered a Mexican themed dinner for us and did an outstanding job. The ladies absolutely loved it and my wife could not have been more pleased with her birthday dinner. Thank you Andrea.

We interviewed three other private chefs for our dinner before deciding to go with Andrea. She was the most professional, the most responsive, and by far the most creative. Of course we wanted great food (Andrea can deliver that), but we were also looking for something unique and creative, without being stiff and formal. Enter Andrea, with her Mexican themed dinner complete with her own plates, glasses and table decorations. Fun, Festive, and Uniquely Fresh!

As for the food and drink. Key highlights were the Raspberry Mojitos, Avocado Soup, Quiche de Calebazita, and Mexican Corn Cake. I highly recommend the Una Senorita Gourmet.”

Roxanne July 15, 2014 

“We hired Chef Gray to prepare an intimate birthday dinner for my boyfriend. She was wonderful to work with. She prepared a creative menu and worked with me to align it to his food restrictions and tastes, while still keeping the interesting flavor combinations that attracted me to her work in the first place. She was on time, well-prepared, and efficient, and the food was fresh, unique, incredibly tasty, and perfectly presented. The kitchen was left orderly and clean. Beyond that, she was very pleasant, professional, and friendly, and we had a lovely conversation at the end of the evening. I would definitely recommend her to friends”.
Roxanne D.