Ticket to Paradise
May was all about the destinations…
Intranational visits from sweepstakes winners to European escapades, Lajollacooks4u was both a destination spot and a tourist!
On May 1st, ten grand prizewinners, their guests, and the executive team of Domino Foods were welcomed into the Lajollacooks4u’s kitchen to enjoy a unique gourmet cooking and dining experience. Celebrity Chef, Nick Stellino, joined Chef Jodi in the Lajollacooks4u’s kitchen to co-host the VIP culinary event!
After everyone was well acquainted, Chef Nick began the cooking demonstration with a heart-warming introduction and a description of the afternoon menu. Chef Jodi followed with a background on traditional Californian Cuisine, highlighting the wonders of ‘Farm-to-Table’ style eating. Chef Jodi then demonstrated how to prepare a sweet Berry Crisp with a Vanilla-Goat Cheese Mousse.
While Chef Jodi’s food was in the oven, Chef Nick shared captivating stories detailing the birth of his two recipes. In groups of four, the guests were invited to join him as he prepared a Pasta Matriciana and Peppered Tuna, Sicilian Style. Mmm…
The group was then escorted to the garden patio where Chef Jodi had eloquently arranged her home into an upscale dining experience.
Each table was beautifully dressed with bright floral arrangements, fine dining ware, and hand-painted tablecloths from South Africa – each accent giving praise to the San Diegan springtime glow.
Everyone, sweepstakes winners, their guests, and the chefs had a wonderful time! Nancy Barbee, Marketing Manager for Domino Foods, said the event surpassed her expectations. “What a wonderful experience for my guests and for myself; it was an event we will never forget,” Barbee said.
Candace Berry, one of the afternoon’s attendees, sent these handmade “Mug Rugs” to Chef Jodi, along with a handwritten ‘Thank You’ letter, following the event. Chef Jodi was incredibly touched to receive such a thoughtful gift from a client. “Our customers are the absolute best. It’s moments like these that really remind me that I truly love what I do.”
Eating & Cooking Her Way Through Europe!
Last month, Chef Jodi packed her bags and ventured to Europe for an unforgettable culinary adventure. Joined by family and welcomed by new friends, Chef Jodi ate her way through the mediterranean.
Greece: The Island of Aegina
Beginning her journey in Greece, Chef Jodi was greeted by the owner of PTA Tours, Yanni Papadakis, a wonderful gentleman who would serve as her personal guide on the gorgeous Island of Aegina. Like Lajollacooks4u, PTA Tours is a partner of Edible Destinations, one of the largest culinary travel companies in the world. Through Edible Destinations, travelers can discover the best foodie secrets a country has to offer – and PTA Tours is definitely one of the best ways to experience Greece.
After showing Chef Jodi and her family around the historical sites of Aegina, Yanni invited everyone back to his family home for socializing and of course, food! His home was amazing; the view alone showed breathtaking views of the rich cerulean ocean.
Chef Jodi cooked with Yanni’s sister – in – law Elena, who showed everyone how to make homestyle Grecian cuisine.
What’s on the Grecian homestyle menu? Fresh Spanakopita, Galaktoboureko, and Stuffed Peppers! And for those of you unfamiliar with the Grecian favorites…Spanakopita is a savory pastry filled to the brim with feta, spinach, onions, and other tasty herbs, while Galaktoboureko is a melt-in-your-mouth custard pie drizzled with a sweet syrup.
In the end, a delicious mouthwatering meal was prepared from scratch. “And trust me,” says Chef Jodi, “All that hard work truly paid off! Everything was fresh and delicious.”
If you’re visiting the Island of Aegina you have to book with PTA Tours, Yanni really knows how to treat his guests! Contact PTA Tours at [email protected] , you won’t regret it!
Greece: The Island of Crete
Chef Jodi and her husband, Glenn , said their goodbyes and took the ferry from Santorini to the beautiful Island of Crete. Upon arrival, they were met with a warm greeting of freshly made pastries, by a man named Giorgos Portokalakis from the Porto Club. From the port Giorgos whisked them off to their stunning hotel, The Blue Palace in Elounda.
The next day, Giorgos surprised Chef Jodi with a beautiful mobile outdoor kitchen, complete with grills, ovens, stovetops, and fully-equipped tables! An entire menu full of Jodi’s seafood favorites awaited them. Together they worked to prepare an elegant menu of Octopus four-ways, Squid three-ways, a Fish Soup, Kakavia, and of course, Galaktoboureko.
Chef Jodi loves her eight-legged delicacies and she never passes up an opportunity to cook them! Giorgos showed Chef Jodi how to make Octopus Stifado, Octopus Xidato, Octopus Pasta-Kofto Macaroni, and Octopus with Peppers, Tomatoes, and Onions. She was in absolute heaven!
Each squid dish was stuffed with varying goodness, from homemade rice to fresh spinach to herb infused cheese. Filling the squid may have been messy… but it was undoubtedly one of the greatest cooking experiences Chef Jodi has ever happened upon!
After 6 long hours of outdoor cooking, they enjoyed their remarkable seafood abundant menu. “Worth every incredible hour!” said Chef Jodi. If you’re heading to Crete anytime soon Giorgos is your man. He’s an incredible guide and a wonderful host. Email [email protected] for more information!
Chef Jodi was in awe with Greece and its amazing people. “There was not a single Grecian person who was not warm, kind, and welcoming.” said Chef Jodi. “The people of Greece are definitely some of Europe’s finest. I recommend a trip there to anyone looking for a European adventure…Greece and the Greek Island have so much to offer and the food – well its beyond delicious!”
Italy: Amalfi Coast
After waving goodbye to the lovely people of Greece, Chef Jodi and her daughter, Aarin made their way to the Italy, where they stayed at the gorgeous Buca di Bacco hotel in Positano. After a couple days of visiting the ‘Must-See’ sites, they scheduled a cooking class at the famous Buca di Bacco Restaurant with Chef Andrea Ruggerio for a day of cooking.
Ristorante Buca di Bacco is rated one of the top eateries in Positano, and it did not disappoint. Working with Chef Andrea, they made a beautiful meal, complete with of-course, SQUID!
The squid was grilled and featured in a bright citrus flavor, atop crisp greens. What a treat!
Alongside the squid, Andrea showed Chef Jodi and Aarin how to make fresh homemade pasta for a Tagliolini Pasta with Clams, Zucchini, and an essence of Basil.
One of Chef Jodi’s favorite dishes from the day was a Sea Bass Filet with a Crispy Potato Crust. MMMM…
Everything from Buca di Bacco was fresh straight from local farms and adjacent fishing spots, truly celebrating our favorite ‘Farm to Table’ mentality. If you’re in Positano and looking for Farm Fresh food, hit up Chef Andrea for a private cooking class at www.bucadibacco.it for an unforgettable stay in their beautiful hotel.
One of Chef Jodi’s favorite places to visit in Rome is the wonderful restaurant, L’Osteria di Monteverde, and this visit failed to disappoint. The restaurant’s five-star Chef, Roberto Campitelli, treated Chef Jodi and her daughter to an 8-course tasting menu.
The highlight entree was a Scallop wrapped in Bacon garnished with a Zucchini Flower. On the side, the dish was accompanied with different sauces: potato, truffle, and a raspberry coulis. “Every bite was amazing and different.” Said Jodi. “It was like trying the dish over and over again every time, each taste better than the last!”
For the dessert tasting? An unreal tiramisu, substituting the usual cream for a custard, transforming the traditional Italian dessert into something ‘out-of-this-world’.
Chef Roberto is truly a master when it comes to food. If you’re looking for mesmerizing ‘Farm to Table’ dining, travel just little bit off the beaten path and find yourself worshipping every mouthful! Charming. Charming. Charming. For more information check out their website at www.losteriadimonteverde.it
Italy: The Last Day in Rome
The last day in Italy was met with great pain, as it always hard to leave such a gorgeous and delicious country; however, Chef Jodi stumbled across a quaint restaurant by the name of Taverna Lucifero in Campo de’ fiori. Chef Jodi and Aarin enjoyed a scrumptious Black Truffle Pasta alongside a sinfully good Steak in a Truffle Sauce.
Chef Jodi highly recommends this restaurant to anyone looking for mouth-watering truffles atop Italian classics. “The perfect meal to end a perfect trip,” said Chef Jodi. “I will be back!” If you’re in Italy and seeking more information check out www.tavernalucifero.it
The Italian people truly embody what it means to eat fresh and live well. Everywhere you look, from backyards to hillsides, there is gorgeous food ripe for the picking!
Italians talk about ingredients just like Californians, and that’s why we love them. We both have incredible gusto for ‘Farm to Table’ style eating, relying on locally sourced organic food to procure a healthy and happy life. You truly can taste and feel the difference – especially in Italy!
Rounding off the Month
Just before the month came to end, Chef Jodi taught a fun cooking class with the Morgan family from Minnesota.
The Morgans, their four adult children, and their significant others stepped into the kitchen for a exciting evening of dining and cooking.
As with every Lajollacooks4u class, the group was extremely hands-on and beaming with smiles – especially Chef Jodi!
“Such a great group to finish off the month,” said Chef Jodi. “We had a blast!”