Are you looking to make things a little easier in the kitchen? Chef Jeff has helped us become one of the most respected caterers in Northern Virginia,
and we’ve asked him to give us the inside scoop on the techniques and
tips he uses the most. From where to shop to how you can best use fresh
and dried herbs, here are some of St. Germain catering’s key cooking
1. Buy Smart
When you get your ingredients from reputable grocery stores, local
farms, farmers markets and specialty gourmet shops, you’re more likely
to get superior quality items at a fantastic price. And, as a bonus,
being a regular at small mom-and-pop shops and market stands means
you’ll always be clued in to what’s tasting particularly delicious from
season to season.
2. Patrol the Perimeter
Stick to the outside edges of the supermarket, paying particular
attention to organic goods. Fresh produce, seafood and meat (look for
those labeled grass-fed or organic), all-natural juices, organic dairy
and whole-grain breads all pack a hefty nutritional punch — and don’t
forget the wine!
3. Make Like Your Favorite Caterers in Northern Virginia and Head to the Farmers Market
There’s a reason professional chefs can often be found at farmers
markets. That direct connection to local purveyors who practice
sustainable land management and natural/organic farming is not only
great for the economy, it’s a treat for your taste buds. You’ll find
carrots that taste sweeter, meat that is incomparably fresh and fruit
that’s ridiculously juicy. As a bonus, you’re more likely to discover
rare and interesting items specific to your locale.
4. Seek Out Specialty Items
Specialty gourmet shops are the place to go for hard-to-find and
authentic items such as ethnic sauces and spices, prepared items and
unique wine and beer selections. Try out new shops, and you’re likely to
discover affordable ingredients that will expand both your culinary
horizons and your palate.
5. Invest in the Basics D.C. Catering Companies Love
Good foundational ingredients like superior-quality olive oil,
organic butter and kosher or sea salt will go a long way toward making
simple recipes taste incredible. Treat yourself to a small pepper mill
to grind peppercorns “a la minute” (that’s a fancy way of saying “as you
need it”). Skip iodized salt and refined oils and margarine; they just
don’t offer the same intensity as their higher-quality counterparts.
6. Stock Up on Fresh Herbs
Dried herbs work for rubs and long-cooking dishes like braises and
soups, but you need fresh herbs to finish a dish like a pro. Think basil
scattered over the top of pizza or pasta, tarragon stirred into soft
scrambled eggs, cilantro tossed in your pad Thai or carne asada tacos,
and herbaceous homemade vinaigrettes (parsley, thyme and oregano are a
lovely combo) drizzled over spring mix or arugula.
7. Get Your Garlic On
Always have fresh garlic on hand. You can buy whole bulbs or a jar of
pre-peeled cloves (typically available in the refrigerated section of
the produce department), then chop a few cloves by hand or in a small
food processor to add a big boost to all kinds of savory foods. A few of
our favorite tricks: Rub a cut clove on toasted bread for extra-tasty
crostini, roast a whole head in foil for a luscious spread that goes
well with fruit and cheese, or mash some with grass-fed butter and a
blend of herbs for an unforgettable steak topping.
Chef Jeff’s expert insight has helped Saint Germain to consistently
out-cook other catering companies in Northern Virginia, and you can
achieve the same excellence with everyday meals following these seven
simple tips. Bon Appetit!
Hungry take a look at our catering menu.