Another Chef’s Dinner in My Home – A Priceless Auction Item

Please note:  This is a lengthy post but I did want to share all the details of this lovely evening & meal.

charity auction item - chef's dinner

  Several weeks ago, we had the “most exclusive dinner reservation in town” we hosted another Chef’s Dinner in Our Home.

 Earlier in the year, my husband and I attended a charity fundraiser held at our local Jasper’s Restaurant.  We also attended last year and “won” the fabulous live auction item, “Dinner for 8 Prepared by Chef Kent Rathbun in Your Home”.  I had every intention to win this auction item again this year.

You can read my post about last year’s dinner here.

This year the live auction item was “Dinner for 10 Prepared by Chef Kent Rathbun with Wine Pairings“.  Initially, I was utterly outbid on the auction item at the fundraiser, but Jaspers Restaurant was very generous and quickly offered up a second Chef’s Dinner after how much the first dinner went for.  I had to “raise my paddle a lot” against the other bidders, but ultimately I won the second Chef’s Dinner!

And once again our donation was well worth it – the Chef Kent Dinner Prepared in Our Home was Outstanding!


Chef Kent Rathbun

In case you’re not familiar with Chef Kent Rathbun, here is a little info about him.  Rathbun realized his passion for cooking at the young age of nine.  He is a “self-taught chef” (he learned by working long hours in restaurant kitchens vs. graduating from a culinary school).  It was while Rathbun was working as an apprentice in a Kansas City five-star restaurant that he learned to work with high-end ingredients and appreciate the art of perfect preparation.

In 1999, Rathbun followed his dream and opened his first five-star restaurant, Abacus.  After Abacus exceeded Rathbun’s expectations, he went on to open his Jaspers concept restaurants ( “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine”), and in 2015, Rathbun opened another restaurant, Hickory, a barbecue and burger concept.

Chef Rathbun has appeared on various TV shows including Food Network’s hit show, “Iron Chef”. 

(Source:  Kent Rathbun Concepts)



chef's dinner in your home

Just like last year, we hosted the dinner in our kitchen.  Being a gourmand, I wanted the whole dinner experience (cooking, serving…) to be interactive with the chefs and staff.


charity auction chef's dinner

I  kept the tablescape simple.  I wanted the focus to be on the food.

live auction item - chef's dinner

Jaspers would be supplying the plates so I only needed to provide silverware, water, and wine glasses.

charity auction chef's dinner at home

I used round (vs. rectangle-shaped) placemats due to the limited space at the table.   I decided not to use chargers because I figured Jaspers would be serving the dinner courses on plates of different shapes (so delightful!).

Unfortunately, one of our guest’s mother had passed away earlier that week.  He was not able to come to the dinner because her services were out-of-state.  So our guest number for the evening was down to nine.

live auction item

To avoid cluttering up the table, I only set the table with silverware for our First and Second Courses.  I find it charming to have mismatched/mixed up silverware.


chef's dinner in your home

I love using my silver platter…

All set up for our First Wine (Pairing) and the Passed Appetizers…


Jaspers chef's charity dinner

This year I worked with Jaspers Restaurant Catering Manager, Yvette Openshaw.  Yvette had emailed me a copy of the menu the week before.  I framed one copy of it and displayed it on my countertop.

chef's dinner in your home

I put a second framed copy on the dinner table.


About 90 minutes before our guests were due to arrive, Chef Kent and his Jaspers staff arrived.  Chef Kent’s staff to assist him for the evening were Yvette, Chef Scott Neuman (Jaspers Chef de Cuisine), and Mary (Jaspers server).

chef cooking in your home

Besides the food,  they arrived with sharpened knives, bowls, pots ‘n pans, plates, and other kitchen prep tools…

chef's dinner in your home

Various plates and bowls for serving all our dinner courses …

chef dinner

Pots ‘n pans ready for cooking…


charity auction dinner

Yvette put our First Wine Pairing, JCB No. 6 Pinot Noir Rose, on ice to await our guests…

chef dinner aauction item

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes for our First Course …

Juicy peaches also for our First Course …

Chef Kent Rathbun

dinner with courses

Chef Kent Rathbun

salad with heirloom tomatoes and peaches

Prepping for the salad course…

Chef Kent Rathbun

Chef Kent Rathbun

Chef Kent chats with us before our guests arrive …


Let the Food Adventure Begin…

crab & avocado salad nachos

Crab & Avocado Salad Nachos!!

crab & avocado nachos

The nachos had micro cilantro on them.  If you didn’t know, micro cilantro is harvested at their early seedling stage.

appetizer served in wonton spoons

Shrimp & Cucumber Ceviche Served in Wonton Spoons

Shrimp & Cucumber Ceviche

A little tip:  The wonton spoons were just plastic (sold in bulk) – great for entertaining

Both appetizers were so yummy!  The fresh, vibrant flavors of each of them really woke up my taste buds.  I couldn’t wait for the next course…


The Salad

chef dinner in a home

Meticulously adding each ingredient to the salad plate line…

chef dinner in your home

Adding final touches to our salads…Notice how taking the extra step of adding feathery fennel fronds to the plates makes the presentation so much prettier.

using black falksalt

One of the last items (besides basil) that were added to our caprese salads was Black Falksalt.  Black Falksalt Crystal Flakes are a naturally tinted sea salt (from Mediterranean Sea water) that just adds color and a salt taste to food.  It tastes like white crystal salt and resembles pepper.  Black Falksalt is relatively inexpensive and even sold on Amazon.  Falksalt also sells other varieties such as wild garlic, wild mushroom, and citron.

Dinner is Served…


The Salad

dinner with wine pairings

Our wine pairing – 2012 Provenance Sauvignon Blanc

I’m not usually a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc wines (many are too fruity or sweet for me), but this one was good – crisp and light

Heirloom Tomato & Caramelized Peach Caprese Salad

Heirloom Tomato & Caramelized Peach Caprese Salad

How gorgeous is this salad?!!

Notice how the salad completely fills the (smaller-sized) rectangular plate.

wine pairings dinner at home

Chef Kent Rathbun

Chef Kent describes the salad we are about to eat…

priceless dinner auction item

I love caprese salad, but adding caramelized peaches to the salad really made it extraordinary, and the addition of the black Falksalt gave the salad an extra beautiful contrast of colors.


The Scallops

chef cooking in a home

Sautéing the scallops…

The Art of Styling the Line of Plates…

It’s a Beautiful Thing to Watch Like a Ballet 

Chefs Kent Rathbun & Scott Neuman

Plating the truffle butter sauce (anything with truffle – yes, please)

This course was served in bowls.

Chefs Kent Rathbun & Scott Neuman

Chef Scott continues with the sauce, while Chef Kent starts plating the risotto

Jaspers chefs

Next came the scallops…

scallops with risotto

Adding the fennel…

Note the towel by Chef – the chefs wiped any drips on the bowls to keep the dishes looking aesthetically pleasing

scallops with sweet corn risotto

Final steps to the plating of this course…

Chef Kent Rathbun

Chef Kent tells us about our scallop course.  While he was doing that, our “missing guest” called and Face Timed with Chef Kent and the rest of us.

scallops with truffle butter & risotto

Scallops with Sweet Corn Risotto & Fennel with Truffle Butter Sauce

They say we “eat with our eyes first”.  Well, it certainly worked for this dish.  It looked so mouth-watering!

  The scallops were succulent, and combined with the truffle butter sauce, along with the texture of the risotto made this dish scrumptious.  The addition of the fennel in this dish made this dish even more special.

In case you don’t know, raw fennel is crisp and has a mild licorice/anise flavor.  However, when you cook fennel it has a smooth, almost sweet taste.


The K C Strips

auction dinnner item

Mary sets out steak knives for this course.

Chef Scott Neuman

Chef Scott bastes the steaks before heating them on the stove.  The steaks had been partially pre-cooked earlier at Jaspers on the grill with hickory chips.

Square plates were used for this course.

Chef Scott Neuman

Chef Scott braises the greens…

steak with jarlsberg cheese sauce

Chef Scott plates the Jarlsberg fondue (cheese sauce) and braised greens…

steak with jarlsberg cheese sauce

Final step – adding the KC strip steaks to the plates…

Stags' Leap 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Our wine pairing to go with the steak – Stags’ Leap 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon


KC strip with Jarlsberg cheese sauce

KC strip with Jarlsberg cheese fondue

K C Strip with Jarlsberg Fondue & Braised Greens

delicious KC strip steak

I’m not much of a red-meat eater, and if I am going to eat a steak I would rarely ever put a sauce with it…

But even with the first bite of this KC strip combined with the hickory flavor and Jarlsberg cheese sauce (fondue), OMGosh, the flavors exploded in my mouth!  This dish was unbelievably de-li-cious!!

I also loved the simplicity of pairing it with the braised greens (rainbow chard).

All gone…worth every calorie

I definitely will be trying to copy this recipe in the future sometime (Gourmet maybe??)


Decadent Dessert

maple glazed pound cake with ice cream & bourbon caramel

Maple-Glazed Pound Cake with Nectarine Ice Cream & Bourbon Caramel

Chef Scott Neuman

Chef Scott describes our dessert.

pound cake with bourbon caramel

Honestly, I was skeptical if I would really like this dessert (pound cake and bourbon-in-desserts aren’t my favorites).  However, once again that evening, the chefs made a ‘believer’ out of me.

The dessert was divine.

A toast to Jaspers

A toast to Jaspers

Chef Kent Rathbun

Chef Kent relaxes with a glass of wine with us…“To Chef Kent”

Jaspers/Chefs Kent Rathbun & Scott Neuman

“The Fab Four”: 

Chef Scott Neuman, Mary, Yvette Openshaw, and Chef Kent Rathbun

 Cheers to them


Another Unforgettable “Chef’s Dinner” from Jaspers!  All of us thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the evening they provided for us – the food, the wine, their warm personalities, their service, and their attention to detail.  Unforgettable

charity auction chef's dinner

One of my roses got a little toasted from the flame of the votive.


Source: google images

Source: google images

In my opinion, having an auction item such as a chef’s dinner prepared in a home is priceless.  Maybe your organization isn’t able to secure a well-known chef like Kent Rathbun, then consider asking a restaurant you frequent about the possibility of their executive chef or chef de cuisine preparing a dinner for a donated item.  Even having a sous chef cook a dinner in a home is terrific – after all, many sous chefs are executive chefs on the rise.

Ask a bakery:  Spending a couple of hours baking in a bakery would be considered priceless by many people and they would jump at such an opportunity – to learn how to bake bread, make a specialty cake or other dessert.

About inspirationaldetails

Passionate about: Entertaining Tablescapes Decorating, and a love of Books!! I find inspiration in the details of life...
This entry was posted in Auction Items/ Basket Ideas, Entertaining, Food and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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