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Cooking with Chef Manny – A Great Way to Celebrate a Birthday!

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My Mother-in-law just celebrated her 70th birthday and the family wanted to do something special to recognize this.  Since we all love food and cooking, we decided to have a chef come over to our house.  Prior to the party, Chef Manny and his wife Patty planned a fabulous Tuscan themed menu.  On Sunday when they arrived, they went to work preparing appetizers and organizing the rest of the  food into stations around the kitchen.  We then divided up into five groups and worked on preparing this wonderful feast under the direction of Chef Manny.

The day started with Chef Manny and Patty preparing the appetizers before the guests arrived.  They made a classic bruschetta that was so fresh and delicious tasting.  They also make a grilled pork tenderloin with a dried cherry marmelade, which was absolutely amazing.  The marmelade was sweet and spicy and complimented the pork perfectly!

While Chef Manny was preparing the appetizers, he was also helping Kelly and me to make pasta dough for the fresh pasta we were going to have with our main course.

Making the perfect pasta required a lot of kneading.  But I figured we got a work out before we started eating all of the wonderful food!

Once we’d finished eating the appetizers, we broke up into our five groups to make the rest of the meal.  Chef Manny moved around the kitchen giving everyone tips and instruction, so that every dish turned out perfectly!

Kelly was on the pasta team and she got to roll out the dough we’d made earlier and transform it into perfect fettucine.  I think she is now a master at pasta!

Team pasta is pretty pleased with their results!

While pasta making was going on there was also soup making going on.  Team soup made a beautiful pot of minestrone and it was incredibly delicious!

Then of course we had to have a decadent dessert.  Team dessert made rich and decadent molten chocolate cakes.  There was a lot of butter and a lot of  eggs that went into the making of this!

The third course was a delectable panzanella salad.  There was a lot of chopping involved in this one and Chef Manny was there to give team salad tips on the best way to chop tomatoes and onions.

I was on team chicken.  We made a mouth-watering chicken saltimbocca with a Marsala wine sauce, which was served with the homemade pasta and fresh steamed asparagus.  Chef Manny showed us the best way to slice a chicken breast in half in order to get a nice thin pounded out piece of chicken.

As you can see, there was quite a flurry of activity in the kitchen while everyone was cooking!

Once all of our teams had finished our work, we went and sat down in the dining room.  Chef Manny and Patty then put the finishing touches on the meal, plated it and served us each course.

After we’d eaten the last bite, we stayed at the table enjoying each others company while Chef Manny and Patty cleaned up the kitchen. Such a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon and celebrate a special birthday!



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