I recently had the privilege of chatting with Chef Crystal of Kanvas. Chef Crystal is an extraordinary culinary artist who has mastered the art of creating fabulous dining experiences. From tasting menus to intimate dinner events and grandiose receptions, Chef Crystal's craft thrives on infusing interactive and personal touches that leave a lasting impression on her guests, their families, and friends.
We all know that dinner parties are a great way to connect with friends and family - but there's also that internal pressure of making sure everything goes as planned.
As an aspiring at-home chef, I can relate. With these tips from an experienced executive chef Crystal from Kanvas, you’ll have everything you need to make your next dinner party a truly amazing culinary experience.
From food preparation techniques to creating the perfect atmosphere, she’s here to share her insider secrets so that nothing stands in your way of turning your dinner party into an unforgettable gathering. With the right planning and execution, not only will your guests be wowed by the culinary offerings but you'll end the day feeling confident and inspired to do it again.
Join me as we delve deeper into the world of Chef Crystal, unveiling her secrets to creating culinary masterpieces that transcend mere sustenance.
Tell us about yourself and how you became an executive chef
Growing up with a family that shared the same passion, I fell in love with the kitchen at a very young age while watching my father; a pastry chef in the 80s and my mother being a graphic artist.
After graduating from Sir Sanford Fleming in Culinary Management while finishing a dual co-op chef apprenticeship. I earned my way to become the Sous Chef at Casa Loma in 2010. I later worked for other restaurants and caterers across the city, training under various chefs to learn and expand my culinary skills. In 2014, I earned some of the highest praise from respectable clients while managing as Head Chef at a well-established catering company.
It was then in early 2018, when I decided to go out on my own, taking on all the wealth of experience, to create something that other foodies could enjoy called “Kanvas”.
What are some must-have kitchen tools and equipment for hosting a successful dinner party at home?
On the first day of my culinary training, our professor Chef Steve Benns once said, "Your chef knife is the most important tool you will ever need in your culinary career. It will shape you into the chef you will want to become." I never forgot that, this is what I tell my staff, students I train and any clients that book our private cooking classes or food demos. Aside from my chef knife; a micro plain, a pair of tongs, and tasting spoons, I tend to carry universal cookware; that can be used on all different types of stove brands.
You never know what kind of kitchen you're using and what equipment is accessible, so it is good to be prepared.
What advice can you offer to ensure smooth workflow and synchronization in the kitchen for those that struggle with preparing multiple dishes?
Every chef works differently so some will start with what is easiest and some will start with the more difficult or the one that has the most instructions.
For a smooth workflow, I tend to clean as I go, it keeps my mise en place organized, and cleanly and I find, there is less cleaning at the end.
The best advice I would give is, do not take on more than what you can handle. If you're doing a plated dinner with 3 courses or family style with a spread of different dishes. Start with the dish that will take the longest to finish, and work your way to the easier dish.
What are your tips for home cooks who want to take their plating skills to the next level to create the ultimate dining experience?
There is a saying, "We eat with our eyes and taste with our noses". Taste and small is the most important factor, before presenting to your guest. Plating takes time to master, everyone has their different style of plating. Some will plate everything beside each other and others will blend or layer their components.
If you want to take your plating skills to the next level, take a skills class, watch a tutorial on plating techniques or create your style. My advice is to not overcomplicate it and make sure it's functional and edible.
When would you suggest it would be best to hire a private chef?
Special occasions like anniversaries, weddings, milestone birthdays or graduations are the most common in-home private chef hires
However, we do have clients who will hire a chef for any everyday meal. It is not to say they don't feel comfortable, some hire to have a night off from cooking all the time and others just don't have the time.
Chef Crystal's culinary prowess extends far beyond the confines of the kitchen. She possesses an innate ability to orchestrate unforgettable experiences where food becomes a conduit for connection, celebration, and shared memories. Each meticulously planned event becomes an opportunity for guests to embark on a culinary adventure, awakening their senses and transporting them to a world where taste, texture, and aroma harmoniously dance on the palate.
Throughout our conversation, Chef Crystal's enthusiasm for her craft shone brightly. She spoke of her unwavering commitment to continuous improvement and her relentless pursuit of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of culinary creativity.
Learn more about Chef Crystal’s services here.