Want to plan an evening of perfection? A “socially distanced” dinner for a close knit group of family or friends? Chef Caitie Maharg of Blue Oregano created a very special menu for my family over the Thanksgiving Holiday! We knew we wanted to be together, but we also knew it would have to be very different in 2020.
Chef Caitie menu began with an Amuse, (“Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons but are served free and according to the chef’s selection alone. These are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse of the chef’s style. The term is French and literally means “mouth amuser”. – Wikepedia). Chef Caitie of Blue Oregano created an Amuse that was a blackberry brie bite and it was to die for! It awakened the palate and generated excitement for everyone in the room. Immediately, we were all at ease with the thought of missing out on our traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was definitely different and it was definitely going to be a meal to remember.
She went on to prepare and serve us a harvest salad with dried cranberries, honey goat cheese, candied pecans and fig dressing. This salad definitely could have been confused for a refreshing dessert, but there was just enough leafy greens to remind us that we were just beginning. We took time to enjoy each other in between each dish and marvel at the comments of our 93 year old Nana who is as Southern and Traditional as they come. Pleasing her was a goal I was not sure we would obtain with a menu that was so unique to her.
Caitie went on to serve the main dish. She gave a choice of glazed turkey breast or her preference glazed duck breast that was served with roasted brussel sprouts and brown butter sage risotto. For anyone who is a foodie, Chef Gordon Ramsey would have surely passed this risotto with flying colors. One of the best parts about all of it was watching as she and her husband, sous chef Nathan Maharg, made everything look so effortless. How does turkey breast get so tender and juicy? Apparently the duck was just as delicious.
We were all getting slower, our bellies fuller, but she had one more surprise in store, it was the finisher… and finish us it did. My husband will tell you that my go to dessert at a nice restaurant is creme brulee. So when I heard those words, I was very excited. Then she said the word pumpkin and the excitement faded, as it has never been a favorite of mine, not even an option for me usually. With joy, Chef Caitie said “and now, pumpkin chai creme brulee with maple whipped cream”. When you have a Chef in your home, you must definitely be open and have a taste. We watched her torch the tops to harden the shell, set her carefully crafted cookie leaves, adding a touch of whipped cream and top it with a beautiful bruleed fig. The room was silent… She could have just served up creme brulee and we would have been thrilled. It was amazing, how could I have ever doubted and Nana was all smiles. All of the many little touches, proved the passion for what she does and is what etched her message in our brains and in our hearts forever.
When you watch someone who loves what they do, it’s a reminder that it does come easy, because it comes from a special place. It was not always easy, but she has perfected her craft, which did not come without tremendous training and endless hours of practice. It was fascinating to watch, take in and find that joy completely relatable. Yes, we have totally different careers in many ways, but our hearts for what we do are the same. It looks easy, when everything is selling. However, building a business when it’s not easy and making it through two “recessions” and not running required many hours of training, even more sacrifices, and tons of heartache and real situational experiences. Whether you are a Business Owner and Chef like Caitie or a Business Owner and Associate Broker like me, doing what you love is easier to obtain than it is to maintain, for a life career. It will not come without blood, sweat, and tears, but through those, you will grow and that growth will prove to create the best and most impactful experience for those you serve.
For more information on Blue Oregano’s private experiences visit their Facebook page HERE.
For information about their Lynchburg, VA based Allergen free Bakery click HERE.
KK, Associate Broker and Founder of KK Homes of Long & Foster Real Estate