All images in this post via Leah Michelle Photography
Hello friends. It's been a minute. Last month I tested my culinary limits.
Fall of 2015 Megan and I were approached by Camp Well, who asked us to donate two special mountain vibe dinners for attendees coming to their Denver-based conference. Women at the conference would be wrapping their minds around their personal dreams and life goals and would learn how to practically move forward to make them happen. Being able to provide a space for these women to enjoy and process this was a no brainer. I was in!
We were given free reign and creativity over the menu, which effectively meant pulling out all of the stops. A few months into planning, the original number of 25 people per night was upped to 50. I had never cooked for anyone besides my friends and on top of that am a people pleaser to the core. My head was full of doubt:
**Meg and I are both blonde so I totally could have blamed her**
With Megan by my side and Rachel Evans, an event organizer, on board to help with all things logistics, we felt supported enough to tackle the beast. The dinners were scheduled for a Monday and Tuesday night, but full days of all day grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking started the Thursday before. To add to the chaos, my kitchen is the size of a solitary confinement cell in federal prison.
Despite the odds, because of Megan, Rachel and every amazing person who helped, these dinners went off without a major hitch.
Yes, many things went wrong and total chaos ensued for 90% of this experience, but everyone absolutely loved it. I left both dinners feeling like superwoman. I credit this to Megan and her real life experience in actual restaurants as opposed to my self declared cooking know - how.
This experience taught me three things:
- I can do anything I decide I can do: If I say yes to something, I am committed and fear is not a legitimate reason to back out. I have an able mind, Google exists, and asking people to help is an option.
- My friends eat more than the average woman: Although I came in way under budget on ingredients, we had a TON of leftovers. This would not have happened if attendees were strictly from my friend group. We eatin' girls. Also I married a giant so my portions are probably off. This is a good thing to keep in mind for future endeavors.
- My time & expertise are valuable: I came into this experience thinking I didn't really didn't know what I was doing; I left feeling incredibly valued by every single woman that I met. The reality is (some of this is of my own doing) a lot of my life went on the back burner to tackle this. So moving forward, donating my time will be on a strict case by case basis. I think this is a good, healthy framework for anyone to have.
Menu Night One
celery root soup | tartines topped with whole roasted garlic spread or burrata & carrot top pesto
whole roasted carrots w dipping aioli | braised endives | whole roast chickens w pan sauce & lemon wedges
seasonal salad with cashew dressing
homemade truffles with cocoa or walnuts
Menu Night Two
pita | baba ganoush | labneh | cucumber salad | whole olives
roasted cauliflower with green zatar and pomegranate seeds | espinacas | meat balls with chilli oil seasoning | pickled veggies | black rice with seasonal veggies | white beans with tomato
olive oil cake | whipped cream | peach compote