Utilize Summit County’s personal chef services to take the meal-work out of your winter holiday
FRISCO — Whether you are traveling to Summit County for your winter vacation, or if you live here and are hosting family, figuring out what everyone is going to eat can be stressful — especially when it’s a special holiday occasion. Groups typically have one of three options for meals: wrestle through a local grocery store to cook and clean for a large meal, bring the family to a restaurant or order takeout. What families don’t often consider is hiring a personal chef.
There are several personal chef services in Summit County that allow you to relax during the holidays rather than worry about mealtime. The Mobile Chef is one such service that brings restaurant quality food to your home in Breckenridge, Frisco or the Copper Mountain area.
Owner and operator Tom Castrigno said that his most frequent customers are Summit County visitors who are having a family gathering in a rented home. While Castrigno said he does not do services on Thanksgiving or Christmas, New Year’s is when he is most in-demand.
“A lot of times it’s a family gathering and typically it’s a couple generations involved. Most likely it’s the senior family member that contacts us,” Castrigno said. “They want to host the family and spend time together and not spend time grocery shopping or cooking or cleaning. Dining in allows them to spend quality time together and relax.”
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While Castrigno works with groups to create personalized menus according to their preferences or dietary restrictions, he shares featured menus previous clients of his have enjoyed that future clients may select from. The menu features many traditional starters, salads, entrees, side dishes and desserts. Items such as arugula stuffed chicken breasts, lemon-herbed rice, steamed vegetables and the most popular entree, the beef tenderloin fillet as well as more exotic dishes such as Thai coconut ginger soup and steamed dumplings.
The Mobile Chef does not provide alcohol, which Castrigno says helps groups save money as well as cater to their own tastes compared to if they would have gone to a restaurant and ordered cocktails and bottles of wine.
“A lot of people don’t realize that it’s even an option to dine in. It’s a great experience, they sit down like they’re at a restaurant,” Castrigno said, who explained that he sets the table and does all of the cleaning.
Castrigno said this is especially helpful for families with children, as when the children get tired or cranky, they can leave the table to play or can go to sleep since they’re already at home.
“They’re renting this beautiful house and now they get to enjoy it in a relaxed way,” Castrigno said.
Castrigno’s rates begin at $79 per person depending on the menu, group size and requested services.
If you’re looking for an all-encompassing service that provides several options, including mixologists and service on holidays, check out Chefs At Your Breck and Call. Owner Britany Root employs five chefs for her concierge service business, which includes private chef services.
“I have five chefs that work for me and each chef has their own menu. For example, Oscar is really good at street tacos and Ben is really good at his beef tenderloin,” Root said.
Chefs At Your Breck and Call’s most popular dish is a filet with blue cheese mashed potatoes and garlic parmesan asparagus with a red wine demi. Root said that the majority of her clients are visitors or second homeowners and reach out to her through her website.
“It’s usually big parties that have young kids and want to have a nice dinner, but don’t want to hire a babysitter,” Root said. “They reach out to me and I see what chef I have available. I send them menus, they pick out what they want and I give them an estimate of cost.”
Upon request, Root likes her chef to involve clients and their children who are interested in cooking.
“For the people that don’t ski, chefs can go over to teach them how to cook,” Root said. “The kids can help chop and prep.”
Aside from teaching private cooking classes, Root also provides bartenders, or mixologists, to families who want specialty cocktails. Clients can either provide their own alcohol or order it through the company’s grocery delivery service.
Chefs at Your Breck and Call provide service every day of the year aside from Thanksgiving, with New Years Eve being the most popular.
“I have seven chefs on for New Years Eve, I would have more if I could,” Root said. “We can bring a fine dining experience in-home without them having to leave the comfort of their home or rental.”
The normal rate for chefs from Chefs at Your Breck and Call is $75 per hour, plus cost of groceries. There are different rates for peak times and summer months. Mixologists charge $55 per hour.
Jenny Levasseur, owner of The Happy Cuisiniere, specializes in Colorado-themed menu items. One of Levasseur’s specialty dishes is her elk nachos which feature ground elk, cheese, pico and poblano cream. Levasseur described her other signature, Colorado-themed dishes which included beef tenderloin with charred asparagus, mashed potato, rosemary funnel cake, caramelized onion and garlic sauce and s’mores molten lava cake dessert.
“I like my style because it’s not over the top, but it’s not just your everyday stuff too,” Levasseur said.
Levasseur said she prioritizes interactions with people who want to see how she cooks her food, so she cooks the entire meal from start to finish in the client’s home or rental.
“Some people are more focused on being able to spend time with their families and other people hire me for the interaction,” Levasseur said.
Rates for Levasseur’s services average at $65 per person plus gratuity, but she also teaches cooking classes at her normal rate times 1.5.
For alcohol, Levasseur recently teamed up with Breckenridge’s Carboy Winery which pairs wines with Levasseur’s menu items. Levasseur serves the wine with dinner. She explained that the pairing itself is complimentary, clients simply pay for the wine and are free to purchase additional bottles that they enjoyed at their dinner.
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