culinary Archives - The Chef In Pearls

Kennesaw State University …Chef’s Table

Kennesaw State University …Chef’s Table

I was honored to be able to take part in the Chef’s Table at Kennesaw State University’s Continuing Education Culinary Program. Yeah that’s a mouth full. It had taken me back 20+ years ago to when I was in my culinary program back in New York. There’s nothing better than being around that kind of excitement awaiting what’s to come. The students were excited to share what they learned. I was looking forward to tasting their creations.

Prior to the start of dinner, we were given the chance to view the kitchen and the students at work. I was immediately brought back to the quantity kitchen in my school. This was where as students we cooked for the school. We learned front end and back end stuff. It could make or break you from attitude to abilities. So I know first hand some of what they may have been experiencing that night. You definitely learn how to become a team player when you work in a commercial kitchen. Communication is key! You have to be able to convey a great deal from dishes being ready, time constraints, missing items, and more. Every single thing so that service moves without a hitch or at least not letting clients know there was one.

While in the kitchen, I ran into one of the instructors, Chef Robert Gerstenecker. He remembered having met me before, as my face was familiar to him. I wouldn’t say I have a very common look, so he must have met me somewhere. Well once officially introduced, we realized that we met at The Four Seasons in Atlanta. He used to be the executive chef there. I attended an event there on behalf of breast cancer awareness, The Atlanta Food and Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society and MSquared PR Firm. You can read all about my time at the Four Seasons here

The students worked in teams of two, each team preparing a specific dish for the meal. Before I get to the meal, I must mention the special invited guests were asked to speak. Now I never turn down an opportunity to talk to people, but this time I didn’t have any idea what I should talk about. When it was my turn, I shared the fact that I graduated from school during a time when celebrity chefs weren’t a real thing. There weren’t any social media apps to share all things you. Well fast forward 25 years and welcome to this new era. I told the graduates and their family that building their brand and creating a space in this fast-moving world of the internet was key to standing out amongst all the other chefs of the world. It was a way to be seen and also to see what others are doing. These were some of the things I learned and wanted to share with them. I am always representing my brand. There isn’t a time I walk out of my home without at least one pearl on. People often check me when out in public just to see if that’s true.  After our time in the limelight, the students started our meal service of four courses.

We started with our salad course. It was a Mushroom Carpaccio with seared Day Boat Scallops and Truffle Vinaigrette. It was very light, the scallop was perfectly seared and not over cooked. I did wish that the remoulade was lighter because it made the dish a little heavy. Next was our seafood course. It was Oven Roasted Halibut served alongside Spring Vegetable Ragout with a Lemongrass Beurre Blanc. I enjoyed this course very much! I especially loved the fact that the fish was not overcooked.  I have a thing about overcooked fish, well actually I have a thing about overcooked everything. The lemongrass beurre blanc made me want to recreate my own version.

Our third course was Braised Beef Short Rib Bali Maki, English Pea Whipped Potatoes, Ginger BBQ Reduction and topped with Herb Salad. The dish presented very well. I loved the colors. The toppings were a bit much because you lost sight that there was beef under it all. The beef was wonderfully cooked, nice and tender. I did learn about the Bali Maki style of cooking, as one is never too old to learn something new. Our final course was dessert, of course. We had a Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Fresh Rhubarb Coulis. The Panna Cotta was smooth and velvety. I loved the inclusion of the Meyer lemons in the rhubarb sauce. Overall the students did a wonderful job . I know they will be culinary rock stars when they graduate and enter into the cooking world.

I had a wonderful night at Kennesaw State University’s Continuing Education Chef’s Table. It’s always fun to be around my fellow bloggers. As always I made some wonderful memories. If you ever get a chance to do a Chef’s Table please do it. You can read about one I had last year at Cobb Galleria Center here in Atlanta  The memories you create will be unforgettable. So go forth and make new memories.

Until next time….

~ The Chef In Pearls

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Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

With the New Year comes new thoughts, needs and demands. I was pretty quiet for the month of January because I was busy getting things in order for my return to the kitchen. That’s right The Chef In Pearls will be available for private cooking events. You can now have me in your personal kitchen whipping up your every heart’s desires. I’ve got another announcement that is sure to make your Valentine’s Day even better.

To help spread the word of my return to the kitchen I have joined forces with a few good people I have come to know  to do a Valentine’s Day Giveaway. Miss Loren Browne, of Dating with Passports , has the Valentine’s Day low down on dating in the states and abroad. Then there is Miss Kym Edwards, of Naughty Goddess, that brings out that alter ego in all of us with her lingerie and adult novelties. Finally we have Miss KaSundra Anderson, of Nail Spa Haven, providing all your nail pampering needs. The prizes for the giveaway includes an E-Gift card from Naughty Goddess, a manicure from Nail Spa Haven and Chef services in your kitchen for you and your special some one from The Chef In Pearls. My services to the winner will include a phone consultation to create a menu,  a grocery list of items to create menu and then come over to cook for you and your special someone. Can it get any better than this? I don’t think so. All you have to do is enter  thru the below Rafflecopter. A winner will be chosen randomly and notified at the end of the contest. So hurry up and enter and don’t forget to tell a friend.

Now you can have me be a part of your memory making. Until next time.

~The Chef In Pearls


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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It was a tea party…The Chef In Pearls turned 2

It was a tea party…The Chef In Pearls turned 2


Photo credit: Tonesha Smith Photography and Jada Temple

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It can’t get any simpler than this. Diced apples, sugar, butter and cream with a layer of sweetened cream cheese and one of graham cracker crumbs. Dessert that you don’t have to turn on the oven for and ready in under 30 minutes. I think that’s a win-win situation.


No Bake Caramel Apple Cheesecake



2 large squares of graham crackers

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted


Cheesecake                                                                   Apple Filling

4 ounces cream cheese, softened                                 1 small granny smith apple peeled and diced

¼ cup  sugar                                                                       2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla                                                          1 Tablespoon butter, unsalted

                                                                                              ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

                                                                                              ⅛ teaspoon fresh nutmeg

                                                                                              1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream or half & half
Place graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin. Mix crumbs with cinnamon, sugar and butter. Spoon into bottom of serving dish.  Mix softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon on top of graham cracker mixture. heat butter in a pan add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for about 5 minutes or until apples are softened. Add cream and cook additional 3 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool. Once cool put on top of cream cheese mixture and refrigerate. Serve with fresh whipped cream

A Healthier YOU

A Healthier YOU

I know on the blog I share a lot of things that may not be so health conscience but they aren’t meant to be eaten on a daily basis. If you follow me on social media you can get a feel for my daily eating habits, which isn’t all bad. With that being said I approached Miss Ebby K of I am EbbyK (a blog about fashion, fitness and faith) about being a guest on her blog. She loved the idea. So I share with my readers what is going to be shared with her readers. I hope you guys enjoy and take a moment to visit Miss Ebby K’s blog. Now go forward and make memories.

Stuffed Squash

The food pyramid says …oh wait it’s no longer a pyramid it’s now a plate. Right, so it suggests that as an adult woman you should get between 2-2½ cups of veggies daily and as an adult man you should get 2½-3 cups of veggies daily. So I’m always looking for ways to get vegetables in my meal. From adding fresh spinach and sweet bell peppers to my scrambled eggs or adding shredded zucchini and carrots to my spaghetti sauce when I’m creating an Italian styled meal. In the following recipe you can more than meet your daily vegetable requirement. I served it with brown rice cooked with vegetable broth and olive oil (instead of butter).


Stuffed Zucchini

serves 2


1 large zucchini 7”-8” long

1 small yellow 4”-5” long squash, diced

3 mushrooms (white button or baby portobella), stems removed

1-2 cloves of garlic minced

½ of small onion, diced

¼ sweet bell pepper, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 small carrot, shredded

¾ cup kale, rough chopped

¾ cup spinach, rough chopped

¼ cup of broth/stock ( chicken or vegetable)

¼ – ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper


Heat oven to 450. Half zucchini. Using a spoon remove the core of the zucchini creating a shell. Save core to the side. When both halves are cored drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Take the reserved zucchini cores and dice.  Heat a saute pan with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil add onions,bell peppers, celery, yellow squash and diced zucchini core. Saute vegetables for about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, spinach and kale cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add broth and then add breadcrumbs until mixture starts to come together. Turn off heat. Add 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Fill zucchini halves with mixture, over stuffing. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan cheese on top of halves then drizzle with olive oil. Bake in oven for 15- 20 minutes or until shell is tender.


You know that spaghetti sauce I mentioned earlier in the post? Why not take a chance on another stuffed squash. Buy a spaghetti squash, half it, scoop out seeds and then place it cut side down into a casserole dish. Add enough broth to cover the bottom of the pan. This helps to steam the squash and adds flavor. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Remove squash from pan. Saute your favorite vegetables and add to your favorite sauce. Take a fork and flake up the spaghetti like strands of the squash then top with your sauce mixture and parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, 5-10 minutes. Eat with a side salad.


I hope this moves you closer to your healthier you in 2015. Now go forward and make memories.

The Chef In Pearls is a blog where food and fashion meet. A retired Chef learning to live life to the fullest. Please follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @TheChefInPearls  

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All That Glitters Ain’t Gold

So in appreciation of all the time energy and MONEY we spent on their marriage, my son and his wife invited us, the parents, to have brunch with them at the Georgian Terrace. I was overly excited,it has been somewhere I wanted to go since I moved to Georgia. The Georgian Terrace is on of Atlanta’s Historic sites first opening it’s doors in 1911. I knew we would be in for a treat…..but all that glitters ain’t gold.

The Up View of the lobby in the Georgian Terrace

The Up View of the lobby in the Georgian Terrace

We were to have lunch at their restaurant/bar …The Livingston. It was beautiful….historic with a modern flare

Table for Four with a view

Table for Four with a view

But that was where all the glitter started to lose it’s shine.  I still don’t know our waiters name but let’s just say he left a lot to be desired.  I was excited to see on the menu ( view Menu)Sweet Potato Donuts ( anyone that knows me knows that anything with sweet potato as an ingredient is going to be on my radar). We placed an order for the donuts to start with our teas and coffee and then ordered our brunch. There were 2 orders of the Livingston Omelet, 1 for the Black Truffle Omelet, 1 Double Cheeseburger, 1 Mini Quiche Lorraine and 1 Chicken Monte Crisco.



Sweet Potato Donut

Sweet Potato Donut

The Livingston Omelet with a side of  breakfast potatoes

The Livingston Omelet with a side of breakfast potatoes

Mini Quiche Lorraine with a shaved salad

Mini Quiche Lorraine with a shaved salad

Double Cheese Burger with house made potato chips

Double Cheese Burger with house made waffle potato chips

My meal for the afternoon.... Chicken Monte Cristo

My meal for the afternoon….
Chicken Monte Cristo

Now the presentations were nice but the tastes fell short.  The sweet potato donuts were okay as a yeast donut but wasn’t enough sweet potato for it to carry it as a main ingredient. The omelet that my husband and son had both tasted way too salty. My son’s father-in-law’s double cheeseburger was over cooked ( actually he said it was burned along the edges) and his mother-in-law felt her quiche was just “alright”.  As for me and my Chicken Monte Cristo, well, let’s just say the brioche bread was the best thing about the sandwich.  It came off pretty mediocre.  We all agreed that their potato products were really good.  The house made waffle chips, the breakfast potatoes and the french fries were well done and very enjoyable. I really had high hopes for the meal here but my feelings were dashed.  I hope it was that the chef was having a bad day but i will never know cause I’m not moved to visit them again.


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And so it begins……

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for some time now…..Hell I’ve been told I should start one by way too many people, if I should be totally honest about it.  So here it is…..The Chef In Pearls. I think that title embodies so much of who I am today. I take great pleasure in creating food and sharing it with people, especially the ones I love.  And well as for the pearls ( one of my favorite accessories I own) I love …love ….love… fashion. I think my Mom created that little demon inside me way back when.   I grew up wanting to own the clothing and accessories my mother had. Fighting my younger sister over which pieces we’d play dress-up with next. We knew what it was to have custom made clothing as well as shop in large department stores.  We lived life as fashionistas without ever really knowing it. It was just apart of growing up.  I owe my love of cooking to my Mom, too. She was the epitome of a host.  Always coking and panning the next get together.  I don’t know how she did half the things she pulled off but she did it.  And she’s still doing it at age 70.  I am thankful for these experiences because they helped to shape….The Chef in Pearls.

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The Chef In Pearls

Cassandra Mason is a Lifestyle Chef and Gourmet Cooking Instructor who enjoys demystifying the art of cooking for One. You can catch her live demonstrations across major social media as @TheChefInPearls.

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