Kitchen Equipment

When compiling your wedding registry, there are many choices to assemble your kitchen.  As a chef, it is important that we have the necessary tools to efficiently complete the task.  We must take care of our tools, keeping pots clean and knives sharpened.  Even with my set of kitchen knives at home, I do my best to keep up on the edge, as well as keeping my pots and pans well cleaned.  A truly clean cooking vessel – inside and out - is important to ensure that your food cooks evenly.

For a great edge, I prefer using the old fashioned sharpening stone.  It takes more time but you take much less off the blade, making the knife last longer.  Sometimes with a machined edge, it can be very sharp; however, the edge may not last long because the angle is too fine.  Of course you cannot forget to steel your knives often.  If you are unfamiliar, the steel is that funny rod with a handle that comes in many knife kits.  Many mistake this technique for sharpening, but really all you are doing is straightening, or truing your edge.  This helps to keep the knife sharper longer.  The proper angle when sharpening or steeling your knife is 20 degrees.

For keeping your pots nice and clean, I suggest investing in a higher quality pot or pan.  I use All-Clad at home.  These pans are produced right here in the USA.  The d5 all stainless steel model cooks very evenly and is easy to keep clean.  They do offer non-stick pans as well, but I do not recommend using non-stick.  If you heat your pans properly, and use a sufficient amount of oil, the sticking to the stainless is minimal.  When cleaning, I use a soft sponge and dish soap.  When the oil and stains are a little more stubborn, I turn to Bar Keepers Friend.  It’s a powdered product, like Ajax or Comet, and works really well with keeping the pans truly clean.  Too many people ignore keeping the bottom of their pans clean.  This is important because it keeps the contact of the stove or flame direct with the pan and heats the pan more evenly and quickly.

So when making your wedding registry or simply purchasing your next set of kitchen equipment, remember that the higher quality products go a long way.  As with any big dollar purchase, don’t forget to maintain your prized items, keeping them performing at a high level for years to come.



Wedding Favors

Often times at weddings, Brides and Grooms will give their guests a little pressie to thank them for coming to celebrate. These favors can be in a variety of styles; for example, edible, floral, or a donation to charity.



 Desserts favors are on the rise. Buckeyes, donuts, strawberries dressed as bride and grooms. People love to come to their tables and find a delectable treat waiting for them. They can even double as place cards!


Photo credit: Wedding Paper Divas


Photo credit: Big Eye Photography


Photo credit: Food Network


Flowers / Plants

Flower and plant favors add to your decorations!


Photo Credit: The Knot

Photo credit: Santa Barbara Chic



Photo credit: Megan Steen Photography

Photo credit: Miki Duisterhof



In lieu of a physical present, you might consider donating to charity. According to WeddingWire website editor Kim Forrest, “Couples want to feel like there’s a bigger purpose to their wedding day — that it’s not just about them. If giving back is an important part of the couple’s life together, why not incorporate that into their celebration?”


Photo credit: Carolinero


In addition to donating, many nonprofits will also have merchandise you can give out to raise awareness.

 Photo credit: Samantha Warren Weddings


Photo credit: Invisible Children


Wedding favors are 100% optional. This isn’t something that your guests expect you to do. But, if you find extra room in the wedding budget, it is a kind gesture.



Happy planning!

Emily Gneiser xoxo 


New Years Resolutions...

It’s a new year.  Statistics show that almost two-thirds of us will make some type of “resolution” to better ourselves or others.  This can sometimes be agonizing and not so much fun.  I am a firm believer that we should be passionate about our endeavors and there should always be a “fun factor” so here are some tips that have served me well over the years.

                I change a behavior or action as my goal.  The number one New Year Resolution made is to lose weight.  Most will find some fad diet to lose 30 pounds quickly and very enthused for two weeks.  Then imagination fights reality and win every time.  Frustrated that weeks have passed without any weight lost, we quit.  I have set a behavior change of exercising 30 minutes a day, four times a week, eating 30% less than I was in 2015, and only eating sweets twice a week.  Weight loss was and is a natural byproduct of healthier living.

                I set a number of changes and reasons why they need to change.  I have what I call my “Dirty Dozen” (named after an old, favorite movie) that I develop each year.  Some are family, some are business, and some are personal.  Share some - maybe not all but some – of your “dirty dozen” with family and friends.  By sharing, you create a fun factor and a challenge to your endeavor.

                I think you will have a more fulfilling 2016 using this method if you also remember to always “keep your dreams more exciting than your memories”.


-Steve Rayo


Signature Cocktails

Trying to decide if you want to have a signature cocktail or two at your wedding? Well, we have a few tips and recipes to help you make your decision a little easier!



            - Try to limit the amount of signature cocktails you have (The more you have, the slower the bar line will move).

            - Choose a drink by: going with a personal favorite drink, a color theme, or by a season

            - Pick a recipe that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients

            - A drink that can be made in bulk is great!

            - A drink that the masses like is even better

            - Give the cocktail a fun name that represents you!


Below we have some fun recipes to consider for your signature cocktails!



2 oz citrus vodka

½ oz lemon juice

¼ oz pomegranate juice

1 oz orange liqueur


Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with an orange twist or pomegranate seeds.



1 oz cake vodka

1 oz blueberry vodka

½ oz lemon juice

4 oz Sprite


Combine all ingredients except Sprite in a shaker with ice.  Shake well and strain into a highball glass.  Top with Sprite and garnish with blueberries.



 **Per punch bowl

2 oranges, thinly sliced

¾ cup Riesling

2 750mL bottles sparkling wine

3 tbl sugar

1 cup diced pineapple

1 cup pomegranate juice

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar into the pomegranate juice, stirring vigorously.  Add the sparkling wine and Riesling and stir.  Add fruit and let soak.  Serve over ice in a rocks glass.



1 ¼ oz dark rum

3 oz orange juice

3 oz iced tea

Shake with ice and strain into highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with an orange slice.


Perhaps you’re feeling a little more on the fancy side- you could go with our Coordinator, Emily’s drink of choice:






My personal favorite- in my family we call it:


Makers Mark

Ginger Ale


Remember… testing the recipes is the best part!




The Importance of Presentation


In life, it is important that things are presented in a pleasing manner.  Whether you take a little extra time to make sure your hair is perfect or your shoes are shined before heading out the door, you value how you present yourself.  As chefs, we have few opportunities to present ourselves in person, so we speak through our food.  We pay close attention to how food is paired, the balance of flavors, and of course, how it will look on a plate.  This takes time and practice. With our three most seasoned chefs, myself included, we have over 65 years of combined experience working in restaurants spanning from Sandals Resorts all over the Caribbean, to the Bellagio in Las Vegas, to several well known places on the East Coast.  Scrutinizing every detail, striving to deliver the best quality food, cooking to order, and delivering at the proper temperature; this is our language.















 - Chef Scott