Tonya’s Birthday Bash

Appetizers

  • Sun dried tomato and basil focaccia, roasted red bell pepper aioli, bacon, parmesan, cucumber canapés
  • Strawberry basil balsamic and goat cheese crostini
  • Rum glazed bacon wrapped pineapple

Salad

  • Wild Blueberry and Gouda goat cheese tossed with mixed greens, cucumbers, and toasted almonds, drizzled in a blueberry balsamic reduction.

Dinner

  • Aglio, olio, peperoncino pasta (garlic, olive oil, Italian chili pepper, tomato, basil, and shrimp tossed in angel hair pasta)
  • Lemon and Thyme marinated chicken served with sun dried tomatoes and creamy pesto pasta
  • Artichoke, asparagus, parmesan and lemon pasta

Dessert

  • Lemon and lavender poppy seed cake
  • Banana bread with candied pecans glazed in a hazelnut spread

Cox Wedding

The Cox Wedding was our first big catering event since moving to Colorado. We cooked for 100 guests and the light rain made for some incredible views and pictures! The bride asked us to finish the night with a post dessert charcuterie and olive bar and a cheese quiche, which was a unique and fun way to make sure everyone left full and happy after all that dancing.

Appetizers

  • Tuscany Marinara Meatballs with Parmesan cheese
  • Mini BLT Canapés
  • Watermelon Caprese Skewers
    watermelon, tomato, fresh mozzarella drizzled with a basil balsamic glaze
  • Fresh basil & Parmesan focaccia served with a roasted red bell pepper aioli, cucumber and bacon

Entrees

  • Mixed greens garden salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette 
  • Garlic, basil, red pepper, fresh tomato, and basil with shrimp tossed in angel hair pasta
  • Beef and ricotta lasagna
  • Chicken and mushrooms served in a red wine and truffle cream sauce with penne pasta

Ernie & Laura’s Anniversary Dinner

Chef Lucas prepared our 45th Anniversary Dinner.  He  came to our house and prepared a 6 course dinner that was a feast for the eyes and palate.  We felt like royalty as each course was presented to us.
From the appetizers to the main course of Duck Confit Crostini and finishing with a dessert of Peach Brie Crepe with fresh Palisade Peaches, we enjoyed every bite.
When Chef Lucas was finished, he even packed up the leftovers for us and the kitchen was as clean as when he arrived.
We talked about our anniversary dinner for weeks with family and friends and what a fabulous night it was !
Thank you to Chef Lucas for a beautiful and elegant anniversary dinner.
                                              Ernie and Laura

The Anderson’s Anniversary Dinner

Chips and Guacamole
Homemade flour tortilla chips with fresh avocado, tomato, cilantro, and lime

Lobster Bisque
A modern twist on the classical French soup, thickened with rice instead of rue, served with lobster claws and perfumed with sherry

Kiwi Lime Sorbet
Tart and refreshing with a little crunch drizzled with vodka to cleanse the palate

Seafood Pasta
Shrimp and scallops seared to perfection along with butter poached lobster in a white wine, garlic, tomato, and basil cream sauce over a nest of linguine noodles

Flan
Vanilla custard marinated in fresh caramel sauce accented with berries and a maple vanilla whipped cream

Ouray Wine, Chocolate, and Cheese Festival

We had a fantastic time at the Ouray Wine, Chocolate, and Cheese Festival. We teamed up with local wine makers from Talon Wines for a five course wine paired dinner. The menu was a hit.

Rosé Valentina
Béchamel & Black Forest Ham rolled in homemade pasta, resting on a bed of tomato and herb cream sauce, drizzled with a rich sage butter.

Duck Confit Crostini
Tender duck smothered in creamy Gruyere served atop toasted French baguette with a honey port wine reduction, glazed grapes, sautéed beech mushrooms and sunflower sprouts.

Creamy Tomato Soup
Thick and hearty, roasted tomatoes pureed with a heavy cream served with a mini sour dough mozzarella and basil grilled cheese.

Chicken Saltimbocca
“Jump into the mouth” Chicken, sage, and prosciutto seared together with saffron risotto, maple glazed sugar peas and Marsala wine sauce.

Palisade Peach Crepe
Brie stuffed crepe topped with white wine marinated Palisade peaches.


 

 

 

 

 

About Chef Luca

I grew up with my Swiss grandparents who immigrated here as missionaries. This meant everything we ate was fresh from the garden, or baked that day. If we wanted to eat cherries, peaches, plums, etc during the winter, we had to can them during the season.

I got my inspiration and desire to cook from my grandmother Elisabeth, and started working in my first restaurant, under the table, at age 12 in Steamboat Springs, CO. I was allowed to portion pasta, cut salad and vegetables, and clean. I would make $20 and a large pizza every shift, and I was HOOKED!

After that I worked at the Flying Fork, in Paonia, CO, when I was 15 years old. The head chef/owner was a real hard ass, and made me learn and practice my knife skills and everything else for that matter to perfection. I started culinary school in Grand Junction at Mesa when I was 17, but after the first year, I realized I wasn’t going to make any money as an American chef.

Since my grandparents were Swiss, I was born with dual citizenship, so I continued my education in Lucerne, Switzerland. I went to school at DCT, in Vitznau, and then did my apprenticeship in Hotel Rigiblick in Lauerz. At the time, it was rated as the second best restaurant in Switzerland, but the chef/owner has since retired.

After school I started working all over the country, Lugano, Bern, and Gstaad are a few of the bigger towns. In total I spent 10 years in Switzerland, learning, and working my way up the food chain, finishing as a Sous Chef.

I moved back to the states when my sister gave birth to identical twins in Southern California, and her husband was deployed. During which I helped start the Restaurant Devilicious, in Temecula. When I left we had three food trucks, and a restaurant with 47 rotating taps, were ranked number one food truck in California, and in the top five of America.

I moved to Wisconsin with my new wife and turned a panini coffee shop into a fine dining supper club on Saturday nights, with reservations only. After two months of working at Hill of Beans in Ogema, Wisconsin, we were booked out two months in advance! This was fun for me because I would change the menu every week, and it was chef’s choice. The meals usually consisted of 6-10 courses including fresh baked bread, homemade ravioli or pasta, edible flowers, and homemade sorbets.

When we found out we were pregnant, we moved back to Colorado to be closer to family. We’ve since settled into Montrose in December of 2017. I worked as the GM at the Four Corners Restaurant, in Chipeta Solar Springs Resort, in Ridgway in the summer of 2018, and have now gone into private fine dinning full time.

Fine Dining for a Good Cause

This article was written by Rita with Morning Rounds. The original article appeared here: https://dukkaqueen.com/2018/04/13/fine-dining-for-a-good-cause/
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An amuse-bouche started the meal…

We don’t have a lot of fine dining options around here, not like you find in a city. There are some good neighborhood restaurants, but they don’t change their menus for years at a time, and you can’t count on wanting the special. We fill this lack of gustatory variety by eating excellent and often exotic meals at each others’ houses, and we are a bunch of gourmet cooks.

Once in a blue moon, or more rarely really, because we have a couple of blue moons a year, an opportunity comes along for an extraordinary treat. Last weekend about 40 people attended a benefit for the Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy, and enjoyed a six-course meal created by Swiss-trained chef Lucas Wentzel. It was a 5 star meal.

Amuse-bouche translates more or less literally from the French as “Fun for your mouth!” and is an intensely flavored bite-sized appetizer selected by the chef and offered free to each guest. Lucas chose to delight our taste buds with Rosé Valentina (from the menu): “Béchamel & Black Forest Ham in homemade pasta served over a creamy tomato sauce, drizzled with a succulent sage butter. A popular dish from the Italian part of Switzerland, Chef Lucas learned from Chef Valentina herself. Available as a vegetarian option with spinach in place of the ham.”

This dish, I’ll tell you straight off, was my favorite of the night, and they were all delicious. Lucas went all-out with edible flowers for the meal, topping this teaser with a sprig of basil flowers, and adding several other blossoms to the remaining dishes.

VCEP1123The second course featured a creamy roasted carrot soup seasoned with ginger. Now I know the secret to the most full-flavored carrot soup is to roast the carrots first.

FQTQ0910This was followed by a ravioli filled with with sun dried tomato, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese in a pesto cream sauce. I am not a goat cheese fan. I try now and again to taste it, because my damn friends all love it, and it keeps showing up. But invariably, a musty goat smell comes out my armpits within ten minutes of eating it and I can’t stand to be around myself. So I typically avoid it. However, that night, I’d have had to miss a course, so I did try it, and it was so mild I barely noticed eating it, and there were, luckily for my neighbors, no after effects.

DUVK5980A kiwi-lime sorbet came before the main course, two tiny delicious scoops of tart sweetness with a slight bitter crunch from the kiwi seeds, which was a perfect palate cleanser.

TCCV6472The main course featured seared salmon with a creamy Béarnaise sauce (or stuffed roasted red pepper for vegetarians), parmesan encrusted asparagus, and a simple jasmine rice topped with another edible orchid blossom which tasted startlingly like watermelon. HGWE1291

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PELA Director Dr. Emily Wassell discussing the school with fine diners.

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Chef Lucas preps dessert plates with students, while head teacher Phil Wassell washes dishes.

GYBI0584 - Version 2For dessert, an exquisite chocolate mousse with a hint of orange, drizzled with a chocolate merlot sauce from local winery Azura Cellars, came atop a plate of sweet white sauce with a pansy flower and strawberry garnish. None of us could eat another bite, and we drove home through a steady rain feeling deliriously satiated.

The pastas were homemade, pesto, eggs, goat cheese, and other ingredients came from local farms, and even the chocolate for the mousse came from a Colorado family starting an organic cacao farm in Costa Rica. Students from PELA helped chef Lucas prepare the meal, and their siblings, friends and parents served, bussed, and cleaned up. All this community action occurred at Edesia Community Kitchen in Paonia, a certified commercial kitchen available for events, preparation of value added agricultural products, and weekend wood-fired pizza.