I like to cook, but cooking for guests can sometimes be a buzz kill. The art of juggling the role of host while checking the status of the meat cooking in the oven cramps my style.
Enter Chris Blanco, personal chef.
“Personal” and “Chef” are words I associate with the likes of Oprah and Sean Penn. Not to mention, ”personal chef” gives me visions of Mr. Belvedere serving up food on a fancy table with expensive china. That is so not me.
But Chris is a hip, easy-going and down-to-earth chef who is the antithesis of Mr. Belvedere.
Blanco’s clients largely comprise of busy families with young children and couples with an active social life. His services include preparing dinner for families and cooking 2-3 course meals for dinner parties. He supplies all of the food, and like a good friend, he cleans up for you at the end.
Blanco also offers a food delivery service, where he prepares and drops off gourmet meals to your house during the work week.
As a fish monger and trained chef in New York and the Pacific NW, this chef’s repertoire spans many genres. His presentation matches that of a fancy restaurant, but with half the oil and fat of a 5-starred joint.
During Chris’ last visit to our house, my friends and I converse with him as he whips up first of the season copper river with a root vegetable mash. This is right after shucking a dozen kumamoto oysters for us.
Spending the first few years of his life in a small village on a tributary of the Yukon River, Chris blends in the NW as he loves to cook with all types of seafood. He remembers the overwhelming smell and intensity of his family’s smokehouse and vividly recalls people entering the smokehouses of the Yukon Kings decked out in umbrellas or ponchos because of all the fat drippings.
Blanco is a health conscious chef so gluten-free or vegetable only diets are welcome. In addition to Blanco’s fresh perspective on food, he is just plain likable. It is pretty telling when guests insist on hanging around the kitchen instead of retreating to the living room.
My friend’s statement at the end of the night pretty much sums it up, “Do you think Chris will want to be our friend? He is so cool!”
Here is how it works: Chef Blanco only charges for food at cost and his hourly rate is $25. Pricing varies, based on desired menu and availability of ingredients. The price and breakdown will be available by email or phone, prior to the meal. I generally leave it up to him to come up with the menu lineup, but if there is something you really want incorporated in the menu, let him know.
As an example: At a recent dinner party for 6 people where I specified a 2-course pescaterian meal, the grand total: $130.
Tip: Chef Blanco’s schedule is booking up quickly so get on it.