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December 23rd, 2011

by Tom Stieber, CEO

You know that list of fantasy dinner party guests, alive or dead?  Admit it.  You know you have one.  Everyone does.  In my imagination, I’ve had dinner parties with Oprah Winfrey and even Saddam Hussein.  I like a little danger with my amuse bouche.  I’m thinking about this as I’m sitting on an airplane, sharing in the annual human pilgrimage to visit family for Christmas, and I’m pondering who would be fun to have at the table.  I haven’t decided yet.

Lucky for me, Christmas comes early for me each year, namely in the form of Hanukkah.  You see, I had the good fortune to marry into a Jewish family and not only eliminate holiday conflicts but also vastly expand my yearly allotment of fattening, celebratory family dinners.  Right now, I’m wishing I could shake out some crispy latkes and apple sauce out of my puffy bag of honey roasted peanuts, but my daydreams are quickly quashed.  Just peanuts.

I am, however, enjoying one of my Hannukah gifts – a food journal from an unlikely but compelling writer, which is turning out to be one of the best I’ve read.  One of my favorite things about it is that I’m not reading it on a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, but in a (gasp!) paperback book.  Completely removed from the maddening clutter of indistinguishable online food bloggers, this book’s old-fashioned tactile approachability, complete with cartoonish drawings of sausages and sad-faced toilets, evokes an artsy, retro tone that I find ideal for reading about food.

The book’s premise mirrors its source, as the author is none other than Alex Kapranos, lead singer and songwriter of the talented Scottish pop band Franz Ferdinand.  In Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand, Kapranos details myriad globe-trotting gastro-adventures while on tour with his bandmates.  Combining an unexpected previous career as a drunken misfit chef in kitchens too rough for his sensibilities with an insatiable craving for new culinary experiences, Kapranos stitches together a series of vignettes that he originally wrote for a successful column in the UK’s Guardian.

Whether he’s “munching donuts with cops in Brooklyn” or swallowing bull’s balls… …in Buenos Aires,” his stories carry a raw in-your-face wallop that’s somewhat reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain, only with a genteel Scottish whiff of whiskey on the breath.  Oh yes, he gives us similar locker room stories about the wild hijinks that take place in restaurant kitchens, but more of the book focuses on the more relatable perspective of a foodie who is ready to discover every possible culinary experience from the filthy to the sublime.   Instead of letting us into a crazy, off-limits world like Bourdain does, Kapranos is part of our world.  He’s the food nerd that every fledgling blogger and social media addict aspires to be, because while they tweet blurry photos of pho at this week’s hippest restaurant and clamor to write ‘the most ironic. Restaurant. Review. Ever,’ he’s created an enduring homage to that sublime mix of food, atmosphere, and conversation that makes for great personal stories and memories.

I’d like to call Kapranos a romantic, but maybe it’s just that he’s European.  On my most recent trip to Europe this past spring, I was giddy over the fact that in a week’s time, I only saw one single laptop at the many cafés around town.  People in Europe don’t text; they talk and linger for hours.  And while a crop of new high-tech culinary businesses are encouraging American restaurant customers to increasingly dehumanize their dining experiences by ordering food on iPads, Kapranos reminds us that “the best background noise in any restaurant anywhere is the warm murmur of people enjoying their food and each other’s company,” while “the worst background noise is the… …bland house wash that appeared in the mid-nineties in hip minimalist bars and restaurants.”  I happen to strongly share his sentiments and aspire to incorporate them into Big City Chefs’ vision to give our clients much more than a beautiful plate of food.  The pleasure of eating is about connecting with our humanity, and whether you find it at a private dinner party or read about it in Kapranos’s stories, you’ll remember to slow down and notice life’s details.  Hey, I may just want to invite this guy over for Christmas dinner.

Private Chefs Share Their Favorite Holiday Party Tips and Menus

December 12th, 2011

by Big City Chefs, 2011

We are undeniably smack-dab in the middle of the entertaining season.  And whether you’re looking to hire a private chef to make your parties effortless, or you’re an aspiring Martha Stewart who loves to impress with your own culinary accomplishments, here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the creative holiday party menus that our professional chefs have been custom-creating for our clients this season, coupled with some tips to steer you in the right direction:
Idea 1: Keep it Fresh, Local, and Light

In the San Francisco Bay Area, where fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and wines abound year-round and many of our clients tend to have healthy diets, Private Chef Alex likes to bring out winter flavors without the usual holiday heaviness.  “Salads aren’t just for summer,” he says.  “This time of year, my clients love a salad of winter chicories, creamy Gorgonzola balsamic vinaigrette, crispy shallots, toasted hazelnuts, and local grapes.”  Chef Alex’s other standout dishes include brined and roasted chicken breast with bread salad (yum!), mustard greens, currants, and onions; Butternut Squash soup with bacon and apples; and Crispy Polenta with braised sausage, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  “All of these dishes have a light touch but totally satisfy those homey, hearty winter cravings.”

Idea 2: Put A Twist on the Traditional

Bored with Spinach and Artichoke dip?  The same old stuffing?  Too much pumpkin pie in your life?  Our San Diego Private Chef Justin likes to prepare appetizers, dishes, and desserts that echo familiar comforts wrapped up in a whole new package. 

For unique holiday appetizers, Justin recommends a mix of  both hearty and light, as well as traditional and nontraditional items.  For all menu items, always minimize your last-minute workload.  “I love making a classic Italian Braised Beef in Barolo, served with Gorgonzola in a Phyllo Cup,” he says. “You can braise the meat the day before — in fact, it tastes better the next day — and make your phyllo cups ahead of time.  Just fill them at the last minute and set them out for your guests.”

For a light appetizer with crunch, Chef Justin likes a simple Goat Cheese Crostini with Organic Honey and Toasted California Walnuts.  If you don’t have time to toast your own crostini, you can use store-bought ones that are ready to go.  If you’re tired of stuffed mushroom caps or Spinach and Artichoke Dip, combine them into a single appetizer.  A hot spinach, artichoke, and parmesan stuffing pairs perfectly with big mushroom caps.  Lastly, don’t forget the unexpected.  Crab Cakes with Poblano Cream and Mango Salsa are a fun south-of-the-border bite that break up the monotony of holiday appetizers.

Want to host a pre-holiday dinner without roasting a whole turkey with all the trimmings?  “Try a Turkey Leg Roulade with Apple Sourdough Stuffin, simple Pan Gravy, Brussels Sprout Hash, Shallots, and Pancetta,” then finish the evening with Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Ginger Crème Anglaise, and Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

For additional dessert ideas, especially for buffet style parties, Chef Justin recommends mixing up your old standbys with some unique offerings.  “Assorted miniature Irish Pub Cakes are super whimsical.  I make one called Irish Car Bomb, and I make others with Guinness cake and either Irish Cream Frosting or Whiskey Ganache.  They’re great for parties.” 

Idea #3: Take an Italian Christmas “Staycation”

The Italians sure know how to do Christmas right.  Combine one of the most important Catholic holidays with the birthplace of one of the world’s most popular cuisines, and you’ve got a great reason to explore Italy’s vast holiday food traditions.  Typical Christmas dinners have many courses served family-style, ranging from pasta to whole fish to “Seven Seas” seafood stew, but you can opt for anything from the Italian repertoire, and even give menus an American spin.  For example, Pannetone, Italy’s fluffy, yeasty holiday  bread, makes an amazing bread pudding that can be served with an Italian Espresso Zabaglione.  Or, use crusty ciabatta bread as a base for an Italian sausage and fennel stuffing that pairs with any holiday meat.  Of course, there’s no reason not to enjoy straight-up Tuscan comfort food, such as Atlanta private chef Emilee’s classic Chicken scaloppini with Marsala sauce, wild mushrooms, soft polenta, and sauteed rapini.  Paired with Italian wines and spirits such as montepulciano, or a shot of amaretto with dessert, the holidays take on an entirely new dimension.

Great memories are made at holiday gatherings with friends, family, or colleagues.  Whether you follow these make-ahead tips for yourself or you prefer to hire a private chef for the day, you’ll be sure to enjoy the party instead of manning the kitchen.

Private Chef Alex Reveals the Secret to Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

November 16th, 2011

If you’ve never brined your turkey before, you are missing out! Brining is an amazing process which actually seasons the meat from the inside, mitigates overcooking, helps maintain color, and aids in caramelization.

Brining is the key to a successful turkey on Thanksgiving day, and Chef Alex wants to share his recipe for a seasonal and delicious brine which will make your turkey juicy, moist, and succulent!

For a 12-16 pound bird:
1 gallon apple cider
2 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
1/4 cup corriander seeds, whole
2 Tablespoons fennel seeds, whole
4 each dried whole thai chilis
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced thinly
1 bulb garlic, cut in half
1 Tablespoon black pepper
3 sprigs thyme, fresh
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 inches long, sliced
1 gallon ice water


To make the brine, heat the spices in a dry pan until fragrant, tossing to prevent burning, for about 3 minutes total. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large, place the cider, thyme, bay leaf, ginger, apples, onions, garlic, sugars, and salt. Place the pot over medium heat, and stirring frequently, cook until the sugars and salt are completely dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat, add the toasted spices and ice water and mix well. Allow to cool completely.

If your pot is large enough to fit the entire raw turkey and the brine, and fit in the fridge, then you are all set. If not, take a cooler or a clean garbage can, fill it halfway with ice, and then place a large trash bag over the ice, allowing room for the turkey. Place the turkey and enough brine to keep the bird completely submerged and tie the bag closed. If needed, replace the ice as it melts.

Brine the turkey for 36 hours, then drain completely, discarding used brine. Dry the turkey very thoroughly before roasting.

Enjoy your delicious and juicy turkey, and have a great Thanksgiving!

If you have any questions regarding the above recipe, feel free to email

Tamales, Pollo and Cerveza

November 11th, 2011

When I think of food the first thing I think of flavor, texture, appearance, smell…the basics. I think about pictures in food magazines. I think of Food Network where cooks like Paula Dean, in less than half an hour, convince me that my life is nothing without butter. But I also think about holidays, seasons changing and celebration. Food = love. It is how we celebrate life changes and how we show people in our life that they are special to us. Food brings people together and allows us to share. A meal does not have to be fancy or made entirely of butter in order for it to be delicious and memorable. All you need is fresh, well-seasoned food and good company.

Over the summer I lived in a Mixed community North East of Oaxaca and in January I returned to visit the family that I lived with. By coincidence I arrived the day before a huge two-day celebration for the baptism of three of the cousins of the extended family. It was the most amazing, most filling and exhausting two days ever. Almost immediately after we caught up and reacquainted ourselves, the eating began. It started with chicken tamales and bean tamales and tepache (a drink often had for special occasions and religious ceremonies that is made of maguey, the same plant used to make mescal); and was followed by beers and chicken soup made with cabbage, chicken that my family had sacrificed earlier that day, and a local variety of squash topped with lime, chile and onion. After nightfall we enjoyed ENORMOUS slices of layered cake with strawberry jam and a whipped cream frosting that my Uncle baked in his wood-burning oven. After cake the kids broke open the piñata and it was official…time to dance/continue eating and drinking (atole, pan, popcorn, coffee, more beer, mezcal and tequila and second rounds of tamales for those who were still hungry.) It was a feast to say the least!! The women worked hard in the kitchen making sure everyone was happy and well-fed and the men passed around round after round of drinks for those interested but everyone made time for a dance or two.

I tried to soak in the moment and take a moment to digest all of the millions of things I had eaten and the pounds of corn masa I had consumed before I was pulled up from my seat to dance. As people danced and yelled happily I looked around the tent in the dim light. The large table was littered with remnants of food and corn leaves I couldn’t help but think: 1. how much cleaning there would be tomorrow 2. how exhausted I was and 3. how lucky and happy I was to be here sharing this wonderful food and celebration with these amazing people. After a moment of sitting and quietly observing the scene my abuelo leaned in and gently pushed a beer into my hand and said “we live.” It didn’t make a whole lot of sense. But I understood his point, work hard and play harder. Live in the moment. As if to say we are family and this is a celebration, a time to dance, drink and eat, and thinking about tomorrow is for tomorrow. So have another beer and keep dancing!

Dancing the night away

7 Culinary Musts in Oaxaca City

October 26th, 2011

Like the chefs at Big City Chefs…I absolutely love to travel. We all love wandering around museums, experiencing different cultures, and learning about different people and places; but, one of our favorite things about traveling, do you even have to ask?! The food of course!! Exploring market places, learning about different cooking styles, ingredients and methods and maybe taste testing here and there 😉

But the food discovery and mind blowing flavor combos doesn’t end when we go home. Those of us enthusiastic about culinary travel always bring a little bit of our trip home with us…trying to duplicate and put new twists on the amazing food we tried while abroad. Working with fellow food aficionados is awesome because we can share our exciting flavor discoveries and work together to recreate authentic flavors right at home!

Last year I went to Oaxaca Mexico twice and let me tell you…the food was incredible! They have all the regular classic Mexican dishes but with a unique twist. I am not a chef by trade…but I would definitely consider myself a food lover. In my spare time I peruse food blogs, food magazines, and cook books. I watch food network, cooking channel, Top Chef, No Reservations….my love of food goes way beyond just eating. I am the first person my friends go to for restaurant/recipe recommendations. So here are some of my culinary-related MUSTS for people thinking of exploring Oaxaca City… or even if you don’t plan on traveling any time soon maybe you will be inspired to try and incorporate some new delicious flavors into your next fiesta!

1. Holy Mole– Oaxaca is often called the “Land of 7 Moles.” I still haven’t found a restaurant that serves all 7 nor have I found a Oaxqueño that can name all 7 types… you still shouldn’t leave without trying the two most popular varieties, black and red mole.

Tres Moles

2. Queso Oaxqueño—Similar to mozzarella cheese but better if that is possible?? It is stringy and white like mozerella but it has a more smokey, rich flavor that enhances any omelette, quesadilla, torta or naked piece of pan (not the dulce kind).

3.Manila Mangos—these mangoes are oh so sweet and cannot be beat. Many of the manila mangoes we import in the US actually come from coastal regions of Oaxaca. So when in Oaxaca do as the Oaxacans do and eat what is freshest and what comes from the region. There’s really nothing better than a simple sliced mango sprinkled with a little bit of chile powder.

4. Tyludas—I can’t say this for the life of me… but its worth stumbling through the pronunciation just for a bite of this pizza-esk dish. Tyludas are the name of the type of tortilla that makes up the base of the dish. The tortillas are super grande and crispier than the average tortilla and are usually made out of flour rather than freshly ground corn. This is then covered in a thin layer of beans topped with queso oaxqueño and avocado. It isn’t a flavor explosion because all of the ingredients have very subtle flavors; however, the texture combo of the tortilla, cheese, avocado, meat (opt)… all slathered in salsa (if you like it hot like me J) is extraordinary!! A dish enjoyed by all Oaxacans.

look at all that queso oaxaqueño

5. Abastos Market—One of the most lively and fun markets I have been two (a little like Chatachuk in Bangkok but less chaotic). We arrived just as vendors were setting up and people were still eating their morning meal of café and pan dulce. Wander the endless rows of raw meat, fruits and veggies, artisan crafts… taking pictures, inhaling the various food smells and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the marketplace.

Gringita WARNING: Don’t wear shorts, not only did I blind vendors with my winter-pale legs, who were setting up for the busy day ahead but I attracted a lot of unwanted attention. Long skirts or pants are preferred. Also, beware of pickpockets and avoid wearing flashy jewelry. This is a standard rule for travelers but especially when you are in a busy marketplace.

6. The nightly promenade on the Zocalo—I don’t really recommend the food at the restaurants around the square. You will see a few natives of the city eating there but I am convinced that this is more because it is the “happening” place to hang out and be seen whether you are seeing friends, meeting a lover or quietly listening to the live music. El jardin on the corner closest to Av Independencia has delicious beer on tap and elotes carts wheel out every night to grill up fresh ears of corn which you can then cover with delicious toppings like chile, queso and lime (Yum!!)

Elotes aka Corn on the cob with all the fixin's on the Zocalo

7. Mezcal—Mezcal, unlike Tequila is O-Natural. It comes from a plant called Maguey that looks a little like a giant aloe plant and does not contain any chemicals. I’ve heard it described as a cross between tequila and whiskey and the crema varieties taste a lot like Baileys… It’s pretty good. Definitely worth sampling.

WARNING: It is 18% alc. And while the man selling it to me said that I wouldn’t get headaches from drinking it because it is natural… I’m a bit skeptical. If that were the case I am sure Mezcal would be renamed “miracle,” and advertised as hangover free alcohol….but because this isn’t the case I am forced to believe it induces just as much regret as tequila if consumed in mass quantities.

Ginger mezcal-tini at Casa Oaxaca

Street Food is Great Food

October 12th, 2011

by Jourdan Janssen, Big City Chefs writer

I don’t know why, but in my opinion, the best food when I am traveling generally happens to be the cheapest, and often comes from hole-in-the-wall mom and pop operations.  If you are traveling with someone from the area who can point you in the right direction, usually where a lot of locals are crowded together, you can all but guarantee your taste buds will be satisfied by delicious regional specialties.  While some people prefer sit down more expensive sit down restaurants from websites like Trip Advisor, the adventurer in me often takes more of a Rick Steves approach to seeking out clean restaurants and stands that are off the beaten path and generally but not always a bit farther from central tourist spots.

After three hours of driving, cramped in middle of the back seat of a pickup truck, my friends and I stopped for almuerzo at a roadside stand. I stumbled out of the back seat, exhausted from the drive and a 6 a.m. wake up and a tad cranky from the lack of coffee when suddenly a strong aroma of mole wafted in my direction. I closed my eyes to take in the smell and my friend who had been driving told me that these were the smallest tamales in all of Mexico… I certainly hope not. The tamales were the size of not one but TWO of my heads.

I ordered a green tamal (whatever that meant I didn’t really know but the color green sounded appealing at the time) and a cup of coffee. When I slowly peeled open the hot banana leaves that held the tamal steam poured out and into my face… a free mini facial. The green turned out to be green chile salsa and chicken and the corn masa was mad out of a local variety of yellow corn. I have had a lot of tamales in my life but this very possibly was one of the best things I have ever eaten. It was moist, the perfect ratio of corn to goopy insides of corn and green salsa. The salsa burned but in the way that real Laoatian food can make you cry and beg for mercy but just enough so your lips turned a brighter shade of red and you could still taste the subtleness flavor of the different ingredients.

Ever since I got home I have begun a hunt for truly amazing, mouth-watering, dream worthy street food. Right now street food seems to be a pretty big trend in the USA, the only problem is it looks like I am going to have to go on a culinary adventure around the country to get a sampling of the best street food has to offer. After extensive browsing I compiled a list entitled…”If this truck were in my town I’d be first in line..”

1. Saucá in Washington DC

I wish they would drive to California sometime…the global cuisine sounds incredible!!

Customers have “10 different sâuçá wraps that alternate on the menu daily, two from each of five geographical-gastronomical regions; (N. America, Latin America, Europe, Mediterranean and Asia. Each day the menu will change to include one of the two globally inspired sâuçás, as well as the Mumbai Butter Chicken, the signature wrap that is offered every day, to make 11 total wraps. Add any one of the 22 different sauces to the wrap for a truly unique – and personalized meal!”- Sauca website

My problem is that looking at the menu I have no clue how I would ever decide what to order. Buffalo chicken, pork Bahn Mi, Mexicali fish taco…The solution? Eat a lot, eat often.

Pork Banh Mi on saffron rice

2. Calexico Cart in New York City

Unfortunately, no tamales but I would definitely be willing to settle for one of the gorgeous carne asada tacos or a baja style fish torta. Calexico gets RAVE reviews on every food site, foodie blog and newspaper clippings.

Irresistable tacos from Calexico Cart

3. Tyson Bees in Philadelphia

Korean food with a twist! Try classic curry over rice or sample innovative combinations like Korean BBQ short rib tacos or a hot dog topped with Kimchi.

4. LIBA Falafel in the Bay Area

This is one of the most well-known food trucks in the Bay…well I should say on the UC Berkeley campus at least (next to Cupkates) which means it must be good! My next mission…hunt down the truck and sample the assortment of falafels that LIBA has to offer. I can’t wait!

5. Nom Nom Truck Los Angeles, CA

Vietnamese-inspired food. They have an array of Bahn Mi sandwiches and Vietnamese tacos. The best part though…the fresh, sweet, spicy flavor 🙂

6. The Frying Scotsman Portland, OR

My favorite pub food classic…fish and chips of course! Im not talking about the frozen fish sticks that come in the shape of sea animals at the grocery store. Gross! That is wrong for so many reasons. If you have only ever tried frozen fillets think again! The traditional street food usually comes served up in newspaper and is best when lightly covered in vinegar and served with an icy cold beer.  You can’t go wrong with the classics. At the Frying Scotsman the owner and chef is from Scotland knows what he’s doing. The fish is fresh, lightly fried and salted to perfection!

Plus ranks Portland the number 1 food truck city in America for its fresh ingredients and innovative menus. SO if fish and chips for some reason ain’t your thing you’ll have plenty of other options. Check out for more ideas!!

7.Baby’s Badass Burgers, Los Angeles, CA

The burgers sound juicy and scrumptious! Plus, you cant go wrong with a street food classic…friend of the hot dog, the burger is an American classic that always “hits the spot.” The truck’s powder puff/barbie pink gives it an old diner/ Hollywood feel (how appropriate 😉 ) and makes it hard to miss. Baby’s will be featured in Travel Channel’s Food Wars episode airing on March 16, tune in to see who is crowned with the title of best burger truck in LA county.

8. Sweet Misgivings in Chicago, IL

Sweet treats are amazing but this truck sounds particularly cool because if is a social enterprise bakery and jobs program. “100% of all profits go to help the formerly homeless and HIV/AIDS-affected men, women, and children of Chicago House.” So not only can you satisfy your sweet tooth/afternoon craving with a delicious muffin, cookie but you are also giving back to the Chicago AIDS community. So really that cookie is guilt-free…They also ship for those of us not fortunate to live close enough to the beloved truck/store front.

9. mmmpanadas Austin, TX

Order savory or sweet empanadas…or both.Why not?!

BBQ empanada

10. The Grilled Cheese Truck in Los Angeles, CA

Maybe I just have grilled cheese on the mind after watching the first two episodes of America’s Next Great Restaurant but this place sounds incredible….Like grilled cheese heaven really.

If you were inspired by the article just a heads up… Travel channel is doing a special on food truck street vendors in March. So EXCITED!

I’m ready to eat my way around the US. Road trip anyone? Or next best choice hire Big City Chefs for your next street food inspired party. Classy and elegant but fun and hip and oh so delicious. The best part? You don’t have to choose which type of food you want…a Bahn mi, a grilled cheese, burger, fish and chips, sweets or a falafel…you can try it all! I’ll have 3 of each please. Yum.

If you have any thoughts on the food trucks mentioned above or any recommendations of great street food you’ve tried we’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions! We’re always looking for great new places to try.

Hire a Celebrity Chef for Your Next Culinary Event

June 24th, 2011

by Sarah Luo, Big City Chefs

Congratulations; if you’re reading this, then consider yourself part of the in-group of people who know where to find and hire a celebrity chef.  A nice perk of our job of running the country’s most exclusive private chef agency is rubbing elbows and developing working relationships with celebrity chefs, including television personalities, renowned restaurant chefs, and even James Beard Award winners.  Through our culinary and media connections, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know numerous celebrity chefs and add them to our star-studded team of expert chefs for hire.  Now, clients of Big City Chefs have the ability to hire a celebrity chef and experience all the luxury that hiring a celebrity chef can provide.

We can’t reveal our complete list of celebrity chefs available for hire, so if you’re looking for a particular chef, please contact us to inquire about availability. Some of our celebrity chefs of which we’re especially proud include: Chef Reed Hearon

Chef Reed Hearon is a nationally known chef, author and restaurant developer. He helped open Coyote Café in Santa Fe; The Rattlesnake Club in Denver; and as developer, managing partner, and Chef opened LuLu, LuLu Bis, LuLu Café, Café Marimba, Café Marimba Burlingame, Rose Pistola, Rose’s Café, and Black Cat in San Francisco.He was awarded the prestigiousJames Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant in the US in 1996 for Rose Pistola, and has twice been nominated for the Beard Award for Best Chef in California. He is unique for having received a total of 9 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle in 1993 for LuLu, LuLu Bis, and Café Marimba – all of which were among the top 10 new restaurants of 1993 by the SF Examiner Magaine. Mr. Hearon was selected as Chef of the Year by SF Focus Magazine in 1995. He has received numerous awards from Food and Wine magazine and other publications.

His restaurant and jazz club Black Cat was featured on the cover of the NY Times Food section and picked as one of the top 100 best things in the world by Saveur Magazine. Mr. Hearon is the author of 4 books including: Salsa, Bocaditos, The Little Bites of Mexico, La Parrilla, The Mexican Grill, and The Rose Pistola Cookbook. He has appeared on the Today Show with Bryan Gumbel, The PBS Series “Cooking with Julia Child,” as well as numerous other TV and radio programs. Chef Stephen Asprinio 
With a star-studded resume with names such as the Myriad Restaurant Group, Ceasar’s Palace, MGM-Mirage, and the Culinary Institute of America, Stephen Asprinio is one of the most talented chef’s in the business. Having worked under such masters as Iron Chef Masuhara and celebrity chef Michael Mina, Stephen has developed his skills under some of the best culinary minds in the world. He is also an accomplished and certified sommelier, and has worked as wine director in the MGM-Grand. Despite this impressive repertoire, Stephen Asprinio is probably best known for his work as a celebrity chef on Bravo! Network’s “Top Chef”, were he was a formidable force in season four. Chef Stephen Asprinio continues to contribute to food and wine world, and has opened a new restaurant, “Forte de Asprinio”, in West Palm Beach, Florida.





Chef Marisa Churchill 

Marisa’s love of cooking began early in life. As a young girl, she cooked in the kitchen with her Greek grandmother. Under her loving guidance, Marisa learned how to cure her own olives, make homemade breads and pastas, and how to create a wide variety of authentic Greek dishes. In 1999, Marisa decided to turn her life-long passion for cooking into a career. She graduated from the California Culinary Academy, and then furthered her education in advanced pastry skills and savory cooking at the Culinary Institute of America of Greystone. Chef Marisa has worked at such notable restaurants as Rubicon, The Slanted Door, Ame, Lulu, and Yoshi’s.

Food critic Michael Bauer has called Chef Marisa “one of the City’s top pastry chefs.” Her work has been featured in Food & Wine and San Francisco Magazine, and has received high praise from Food Arts, Master’s of Food & Wine, and Bon Appetit. Her work has also been televised on the Food Network, NBC, Tokyo TV, KRON, View from the Bay, and BRAVO’s Top Chef! 


Chef Brian Hill

Brian Hill got his start in the culinary arts by catering parties for friends as a side job. His talent for American, European and Caribbean cuisine quickly attracted celebrity clientele, such as Eddie Murphy, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. In 2006, Brian appeared on the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef. In March 2010, he launched a critically-acclaimed gourmet street food truck in Los Angeles called Chef Brian’s Comfort Truck.


Also check out some of our celebrity chefs from Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, including Chef Jesse, Chef Manouschka, and Chef Stuart!Big City Chefs works with the most talented culinary minds across the nation. We are constantly searching for outstanding professionals and are devoted to providing you only with the most talented chefs. Whether you need a chef for your next big party or for an intimate dinner, Big City Chefs will help make the night unforgettable.  Hire an all-star celebrity chef for your next party! 


















Fox Television’s MasterChef Sweepstakes Event

June 9th, 2011

Big City Chefs recently completed a nationwide private chef promotion with Fox Networks to celebrate the season premiere of its popular cooking show MasterChef, featuring celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. People around the country entered a sweepstakes to win a dinner party for eight guests, prepared especially for them by one of Big City Chefs’ expert network of personal chefs.  Lucky winners received exquisitely cooked meals made for them in their own homes.

In Austin, lucky winner Tina received a delectable three-course dinner prepared by Dzintra Dzenis, a finalist on Food Network’s Next Food Network Star show.  Among other delicacies, guests enjoyed delicious Lobster and Shrimp ‘Soup en Croute’ and a tasty White Chocolate and Basil Ice Cream ‘Martini’ to top it all off.

In Nashville, lucky winner Teresa received a specially prepared dinner cooked by personal chef JoAanna. Chef JoAnna recounts, “the food was so great, they were asking for seconds!”  They topped off the dinner with delectable French crepes.

In Atlanta, lucky winner Katrina received an intricately prepared dinner by personal chef Christina, and in Philadelphia, lucky winner Val received a delicious meal prepared by personal chef Sunny.

Due to the overwhelming success of this sweepstakes promotion, Fox Television will be rolling it in additional markets around the country.

Visit Big City Chefs to book your personal chef for an event just like this!

Big City Chefs Teams up with Fox Television Network’s Gordon Ramsay Series “Master Chef”

May 31st, 2011

Big City Chefs will be partnering with Fox Television Network to provide an in-home private chef dinner party experience for lucky winners of a nationwide contest promotion to coincide with the June 6, 2011 Season Two premiere of MasterChef, a competitive cooking game show co-hosted and co-produced by Gordon Ramsay.  Produced by Reveille Productions, it first debuted on July 27, 2010 on the Fox Television Network, following one of Ramsay’s other series, Hell’s Kitchen.

The MasterChef promotion will be offered in key television markets around the country, including Philadelphia, Boston, Austin, Nashville, and Atlanta.  Winners will receive a multi-course dinner party prepared in their homes by a private chef from Big City Chefs, the private chef staffing agency featured in two seasons of Food Network’s reality show, “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills.”

This Week at Big City Chefs

May 19th, 2011

People always ask us what goes on behind the scenes at Big City Chefs: For whom are we cooking?  What are we making?  How do we find and hire chefs?  What kinds of fun parties are we doing at the moment?  When we have a free minute (which isn’t that often these days!), we like to let you into our world for a little taste.

We’re planning a bunch of parties at the moment, and we have numerous happenings this weekend, but I really love what one of our Chicago clients is doing with Chef Austin, our Alinea-recruit.  It’s always a big hit to add a live cooking demonstration to a dinner party, so that guests can interact with, and learn some professional tricks and techniques from a private chef.

Weekend Dinner Party with Chef Austin in Chicago:

“Class With The Chef”
Ice Cream Making:
Making The Perfect Sauce 

Candying, Crusting, And Cooking With Nuts

Menu Development

Wine Pairing

Dinner Menu:

Fresh Bread & House Churned Butter
Sea Salt, Honey, Toasted Black Pepper

Parmesan & Braised Cabbage
Fine Herb Salad, Olive Oil 

First Course
White Asparagus Soup
Pickled Ramps, Crispy Garlic

Second Course
Celery Leaf & Green Apple Salad
 Fresh Spinach, Candied Walnuts, Pecorino

Third Course
Beef Tenderloin
Caramelized Onion, Asparagus & Portabella Risotto, Bacon, Thyme, And Corn Hash, Red Wine Reduction


Pistachio Crusted Tillapia
Caramelized Onion, Asparagus & Portobello Risotto, Lemon Butter Sauce

Chocolate Cake
Baileys Ganache, Chocolate Ice Cream With Salty Caramel, Fresh Berries, Chantilly Cream


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