Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Glimpses of the Bistro, the Chefs and the progress!

Those who have been following the recent changes in the Chef Tess adventure were probably just as surprised and excited as we were to hear that we'd be starting a little Bistro here in Mesa, Arizona as part of the amazing venue at Stonebridge Manor . Someone was asking me, "Why is it called  Stonebridge Manor?"...Yes. There is a  stone bridge.  The bridge was added by the visionary owner of the manor, Michael Mills when he purchased the property in 1998. It had previously been a private mansion (details here).  

Michael upgraded the facility dramatically by adding impeccably manicured grounds, an elegant ballroom, a spacious outdoor pavilion and  a state of the art new catering kitchen.   Over 2600 weddings and special events later, his attention to detail, leadership, and the reputation of his staff are undeniable.  This guy is seriously awesome! 
When  Michael Mills asked me if I would be interested in heading up the Bistro part of the food and beverage division of the manor, Palm Street Culinary, my heart almost skipped a beat.  How long have I been talking about running a cafe or bistro?  The reality set in this week as I got to nail down a few details on the menu and take some photos of the location's progress.  "The Bistro" will be located on the East side of the manor.  By the way, we haven't set the name of the cafe/bistro yet so I'm referring to it as the "Bistro" until we get a real name set. Michael Mills has created an unparalleled level of quality in his previous ventures and this will, undoubted be another wonderful success. I'm honored by the trust he is putting in me.  This bistro isn't a wedding venue. It is an on-location foodie destination. It will tantalize and surprise! The best part is, that it will be where you can find me every day of the week.

There is a beautiful Victorian fence surrounding the courtyard dining area and when you arrive, this is what you will see... 
(minus the picture of me dancing the jig and cheering to see you!)
 Feel free to walk through the gate and say hello. Smooches. Hugs. Cheering! Pastries handing from my ears if you're lucky...

There will be outside seating to enjoy the Arizona sunshine, as well as a full take-out menu.
I can't wait to share with you what we'll be serving, but it is still a surprise!   The prices will be more than reasonable and it will be open for lunch initially and then we'll be adding breakfast (and hopefully dinner) down the line. The faster the place takes off, the better chance of adding the additional dining times. So, please help spread the word. It means a lot to us.

Doesn't it just make you happy looking at it?!

 My favorite corner to sit in on the patio has trees covering the bistro tables and is an ideal place to just relax for hours. 

Right now, as you walk through the french doors into the actual shop, this is what you'll see...

It appears that the Bistro is indeed an analogy for my life and though things are calm, stunningly awesome and cool on the outside, there is a lot of work on the inside that needs to be done.  Thank goodness there are a lot of people who are willing to help make this dream a reality and I've been blessed to work with two outstanding chef's on this project.  

Chef Mika D.Chevalier is the head chef/food and beverage director for Stonebridge manor and Palm Street Culinary.  I have already learned that he is one of the most high-energy, fun, detail-oriented French guys I know. Actually, I don't know many French guys, but Mika keeps things interesting.  He is very quick to laugh and I imagine that there will never be a dull moment working with this guy. So far, he's lived up to my expectations.  Mika has full run of the place, and I'm thankful for his many years of experience in management and as a chef.   He is known for his meticulous attention to sanitation in the kitchen. Thank goodness! We'll get along! Mika has hired me as his "right hand gal" so we're working pretty closely on the menu and all aspects of the catered events. It's been a blast!

Truth be known,  I feel like I've found my new home. We're already a crazy zany bunch! 3 chefs who love food, are passionate about ingredients and quality, and who are cheering each other on to success. It is refreshing teamwork and I'm thrilled to be part of it!  We anticipate that the grand opening will be the first week of October  or so! Hopefully everything comes together that quickly, but it may be a bit longer.

The Bistro (not the official name..again I'll keep you posted on what it will be called) 
will be located on the East side of  Stonebridge Manor:

4000 E Palm St,
Mesa AZ 85215
(480) 641-3131
View Map

 Join me on the Chef Tess Bakeresse Facebook Page as I post updates for the menu, the name of the "Bistro",  and all the inside progress! I'd love to see you soon! Seriously. Sooooo excited!!! Onward and Upward darlings! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chocolate Waffles of Women's Divine Happiness

 I'm a waffle person. I really am. I shouldn't share this with you but I have got this waffle problem. Wait. She's just using the word "waffle" instead of "awful". What a dork.  I love evil chocolate waffles. They're delightfully divine and well...I shouldn't eat them endlessly. On the other hand...there are five fingers. Look. If chocolate sugar free 9 grain waffles are covered with a no-sugar added natural tart-sweet strawberry amaretto compote with toasted walnuts and fresh slices of banana, I'm really not being evil right? I'm sharing some bliss. Right?

I know what you're thinking,"Enough talk. Spill the beans sista'!" I hear ya. Don't get your girdle in a twist. I can only type so fast and then I need more chocolate to keep up my strength.We've discussed this phenomenon in depth among the ladies and here it is.

 The unmistakable woman chocolate truth:
  • Truth: Never underestimate the power of a woman who needs to eat chocolate and still fit into her jeans. It's an evil vortex of genius.
  •  Truth: All  really bad  female headaches can only be cured by rubbing an intense dark sea salt soiree bar in the mouth and counting to 100.
  •  Truth: The secret cure  to female moodiness that has baffled husbands for years is to do a choc-incantation while holding a chocolate doughnut with each index finger for added balance. This incantation must be done while wearing chocolate ceremonial garb...
  •  Woman wearing ceremonial garb must also be  watching at least 2 hours of Pride and Prejudice...particular during a certain cycle of the moon that will only be discussed in secret woman circles (in hushed tones) for fear that men will actually understand us.
 **Men Please note: there are 3 days in the month that men must never question the seemingly evil chocolate force that overtakes a girl and can only be cured by creamy smooth dark squares of chocolate taken orally...and alone. Let her hide in a closet undisturbed during this phase and you will find peace in the land. Deny her chocolate during this phase...and sleep on the couch with a pillow over your...never mind. I've been told that during menopause this phase is extended from 3 days to 3 years. I'm getting a villa in France for that phase Here.

 To my husband Ace, I'm sorry. 3 years is a long time but I think it would be better if you didn't see me like that. Knowing Ace, he'll probably follow me anyway and just pat my shoulder and say (in a hushed tone), "poor, poor, thing." {By the way if you've never seen my favorite movie Harvey then that last "poor, poor, thing" won't mean a thing to you.}
 There is however, the very high chance that Ace will  throw  his hands in the air and say, "FINE!#$*%***# Have it your way Mrs. INSANE!!...France is really nice this time of year!"  

Here we go ladies. It is time to be sucked into the vortex of evil genius. I sense there is still some good in you. { Giggle. Giggle.}

Chef Tess' Chocolate Waffles of Woman's Divine Happiness

2 cups 9 Grain Baking Mix or My homemade bisquick
1/2 c baker's cocoa
1 tsp Sweet Leaf Stevia Drops stevia drops (I love the vanilla or hazelnut flavored ones)
1/3 cup Whole egg powder or 3/4 cup egg whites or 3 eggs
1/2 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
1 3/4 cup water (use only 1 1/4 cup water if you use real egg)

Directions: Combine all ingredients.

Vanilla creme stevia drops are perhaps my favorite.
 Bake in a well oiled waffle iron. Serve warm with any sugar-free fruit topping of your choice. I use mashed fresh strawberries, and some frozen raspberries topped with some toasted walnuts and banana. 

 Eat chocolate waffles on any day that you as a female crave chocolate. That would be, of course, any day that ends in the letter "y"...As in " y-not eat chocolate today"...and "y-question my authority as a woman?"Wait. She's just using the letter "Y" in place of the word "why". What a dork.

There you go. Make chocolate waffles. Fit in your jeans still. Your training is complete.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess