Months ago I was contacted by a gentleman from Austin that was planning a trip to the Northwest with his girlfriend. He wanted to hire me to make a special private dinner that he could propose to his girl at. I was instantly on board. I’ve found over time that I love to cook but I really do this job to create special moments for people around tables. Cooking is pretty automatic and not something I really think about in the same way I sit up at night trying to think of ways to make special lifelong memories for people. Cooking is like breathing; it just pours out.
So this dinner was right up my alley. He had a vacation rental for the few days they were here exploring the city but he hoped I could find him a more romantic setting. I racked my brain and sent him a few suggestions of outdoor farm settings and then the thought of renting the kitchen at the Yale Union occurred to me. It is a nonprofit art center run by a friend that has a beautiful kitchen. The building overall is at piece of art so I knew it would feel special and be a real adventure for both her and him. It was built over a hundred years ago and features a large industrial warehouse ballroom with wood floors (see above link).
Once we had the location we planned a menu from my many menus online. I was sure to point him towards my best plates as well at the charcuterie board I gather from my favorite (female owned) butcher CHOP. They have some of the best meats, pâtés and sausages in the whole city. I use the andouille, country pâté and smoked duck breast on most platters with some seasonal variations. I was also sure to include my favorite cheese, Sleeping Beauty from Cascadia Creamery.
I really wanted them to have a taste of our best items. I shopped specially for Petrale Sole, Linda Crab Meat, Pearl Bakery bread and spring morels. From my own farm I hand harvested radish and arugula flowers for their salad course. I was also sure to bring eggs from my hens, flowers from my garden, antique silver from my set and my grandmother’s antique embroidered linen napkins. I spent many nights thinking of all the small details I could include to make the night as special as possible.
She of course said yes, but I had nothing to do with that part.