“FRESH, delicious and tailor-made” is the food philosophy of fine-dining canapé queen Charmaine Lilje from Chardonnay Chefs – an upmarket catering service that has become quite the trendsetter in the city’s “private cheffing” arena.
Chardonnay Chefs presents elegant dining with panache, offering catering solutions from “designer canapé” functions to special celebrations and exclusive corporate events, as well as the hottest new way to entertain guests at home – “discreet dining with a private chef”.
Having learnt the art of fine dining as sous chef under maestros Franck Dangereux and Luke Dale-Roberts at the award-winning La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig, Lilje has built up a solid reputation.
She describes her cooking style as a combination of French and bistro-style, mixing the fabulous with the relaxed.
“I believe in going natural, in not overcomplicating, and in making food that tastes amazing and that your guests will understand. We like to take care of our product as well as the Earth. We recycle everything and respect our food, as well as the spaces we work in, including the private homes where we cater,” she says.
In line with the trend to move away from formal sit-down dinners to gourmet, fine-dining canapé-style entertaining, Chardonnay Chefs takes canapé catering to a new level.
“We still present a delicious ritual of hors d’oeuvres followed by mains, ending off with heavenly desserts, of course, but we do so with modern, fashionable and ambrosial canapés specifically created and suited for each different function – no more same old, same old finger food or tired classics,” says Lilje.
The secret to creating the perfect canapé lies in the flavour, she says. Guests may take their pick from hot and crispy bites such as Thai duck spring rolls with ginger, soy and coriander, or smoked salmon beetroot blinis topped with cream cheese, dill, avo and salmon roe.
Tantalise the taste buds with a trendy range of soup shooters and decadent bruschettas that include beef carpaccio with beetroot marmalade, and end off with something sweet such as melt-in-the-mouth hazelnut meringues.
Then there are also deliciously extravagant double chocolate brownies coated with pecan nut praline and painted with chocolate ganache – fast becoming Chardonnay Chefs’ signature dessert canapé.
The “private cheffing” trend of “discreet dining” is also popular. Hire a professional chef to one’s home or vacation villa, offering cuisine on par with lauded restaurants – and completely fuss-free.
l Call 083 375 6471, or see www.chardonnaychefs.co.za