Throwing a Party in LA? These Are the Best Private Chefs in Town.
Four chefs who cater to a host of dietary restrictions … and one who’ll, ahem, elevate things
The Jewish High Holy Days are nigh, and that’s just the beginning of causes for celebration between now and the end of 2019. And while entertaining friends can be a lot of fun, in these times of heightened sensitivities and allergies to everything from gluten to opposing opinions, serving your guests can be a trick job to manage.
“People are really limiting how and what they eat,” says LA private chef and cookbook author Christina Xenos. “They are following trends and not all of it is good or necessary, but some of it is.”
One trend that’s fairly unimpeachable is our region’s penchant for premium-grade produce: we have access to a lot of healthy eating that’s also delicious, and that’s reflected in our cuisine. Xenos’s company, Sweet Greek, centers on the more balanced approach of the Mediterranean diet. “It focuses on eating a high proportion of vegetables, legumes, olive oil and grains along with some fish and poultry, and limits red meat and other animal products.”
Rather than cooking out of a restaurant, Xenos preps food exclusively for parties as well as private households, and she’s not the only great chef in town of whom that’s true. Below, we’ve highlighted five private chefs that will help you entertain with aplomb this holiday season and beyond, no matter how big your gathering or sensitive your guests.
Who they are: Christina Xenos is the chef. She’s also a cookbook author and recipe developer. “I started cooking by throwing my pop-ups and then launched my personal chef business after a few years of doing that.” She also does parties and cooking classes.
What they specialize in: Greek and Mediterranean food. “There’s a shortage of authentic Greek food in Los Angeles,” she says. She also does more produce-driven, balanced cooking.
Notable Dish: “I make a lot of Spanakopita (Greek spinach and feta pie). I serve it at my pop-ups and client dinner parties regularly, and made 400 pieces for it for Masters of Taste last year. The recipe was placed in the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest as well.”
Who they are: A group of private chefs that started in NYC catering to the Hamptons set before expanding to Aspen, and most recently, L.A.
What they specialize in: Healthy food that tastes good. Their chefs come to your house for a consultation to assess your dietary needs before curating a personalized menu from their library of 500 recipes.
Notable Dishes: Meatballs that incorporate grains and veggies in the mix. Confetti Shrimp with mint, parsley, horseradish and capers. Broccolini and Burrata with tomatoes, sopressata, pepperoncini and chives.
Who they are: Aimee Greenacre is an Australian private chef who is now based in Venice. She studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
What they specialize in: That ole Hippocratic philosophy of letting food be thy medicine. She works a lot with vegetables. If your channel is tuned to Ayurvedic or Chinese medicine, she’s for you.
Notable Dish: Her wild market fish in Moroccan spices pops with a vibrant flavor that tickles the senses without weighing you down, and her dark chocolate bark is an addictive, crisp dessert that leaves no leftovers.
Who they are: The husband-and-wife team of Jeffery and Jen Nimer.
What they specialize in: Gourmet new-school cooking. You want your table to look rustic Californian? Call them.
Notable Dish: More like notable menu: Thanksgiving. They do the turkey brine for 24 hours for max succulence, and also offer a meat-and-cheese board of local charcuterie that’ll keep everyone hovering nearby.
Who they are: Jeff is a chef who works with cannabis. “I started cooking with cannabis almost 10 years ago to help a few people I knew who were suffering from terminal cancer,” he says. He made edibles for people who didn’t want to smoke. “I quickly realized that the ‘weedy’ taste and inconsistent dosing were hampering their experience.” So he found a way to remove the “herbaceous taste” from his edibles to provide a consistent low dose.
What they specialize in: Events. Think Chronica for Chanuaka. Or Pot Shabbat. His food is gourmet (cherry glazed ham … wait, is that kosher?), but the clincher is that he makes his butters and oils without the pungent redolence of weed while retaining the buzz. “I recently introduced a new product I invented into my recipes: Culinary Cannabis Herbs. These herbs are 100% pure ingestible cannabis flower — yes, cannabis flower (‘bud’) — but they mimic the smell and taste of various herbs such as Oregano, Thyme and Sage with no cannabis taste whatsoever,” he says. He’ll be selling it in dispensaries in February 2020, and he has a cookbook and can give instructions on elevating your cooking skills.
Notable Dish: His pizzas and flatbreads have been very popular, and they come topped with his new OregaNO, which includes a teaspoon of Culinary Cannabis packing 10mg of THC. “The process I use to create these herbs is a totally natural culinary process,” he says. “There are no chemicals and no additives.”