30 December 2011


I have had a great busy weekend cooking so far and I have just finished my latest Dinner Party for some previous guests of mine and also my favourite big cousin, Liesl. She asked me a little while back to cook for her and a group of friends to celebrate the birthday of her husband Richard. I have cooked for Richard's parents before and it was a pleasure to see Terry and Carolyn again as well as meeting some of Liesl's other friends.

I recently purchased my new camera, a Nikon 7000 and it was a great opportunity to try it out.


To begin:

Trio of bruschettas, rocket leaves, caramelized figs, balsamic.
Marinated olives, blush tomato, mozzarella,
Tomato, red onion and chilli salsa,
Wild mushrooms, tarragon, Parma ham,


Marinated fillet steak medallions, garlic and rosemary,
Hand cut chips, sweet potato croquette, saute winter greens, roasted chantaney carrots,
Masala and peppercorn sauce.

To finish:

Trio of desserts:
Strawberry and coconut mille fuille, mango and strawberry coulis,
Chocolate orange tarte,
Vanilla ice cream, brandy snap basket.

" I was buzzing last night. The meal was amazing" Liesl Devereux.


29 December 2011

Canape Party, Jannette Finn

I catered for many BBQ's last summer and have great memories from Rob and Kate Buschelle's function near Andover. I was initially contacted by Kate's Mother, Jannette enquiring about my BBQ menus, so I was really happy to be contacted by her again to be asked to cater for a Christmas drinks party, also celebrating her Wedding anniversary.

I forwarded Jannette a choice of canapes that I felt would suit her occasion and she chose a great selection for her Christmas party. I Arrived shortly before the guests so I could  set up and things went smoothly, with the everyone enjoying the drinks and food throughout. Jannette used to be a caterer herself, so it must have been a strange feeling having me cater for her in her own home. However, Jannette seemed quite relaxed and was a great help, seeming more than happy to hand out the canapes when they were ready. I made everything from fresh ingredients on the day and I received great feedback from many guests so I was really pleased with the evening. Jannette and her husband Frank were fantastic hosts and I wish them a very happy anniversary for December 30th.


Caramelised figs, Parma ham, honey and cinnamon dressing,

Crispy duck spring rolls, sweet chili dip,

Game pate, red onion and port chutney, Granary toast,

Crispy Tempura prawns, lime and mango mayonnaise,

Bruschetta, mozzarella, blush tomato, black olive and fresh basil,

Avocado. mozzarella and fresh basil on puff pastry.

"Thank you so much Gary for making our drinks party special - everything produced was delectable I particulary loved the bruschetta - tempura prawns and caramelised figs and Frank loved the game pate - but everything was delicious, well presented and very well received by my guests. Many of the thank you letters I have received mention how interesting it was for them to witness you creating the canapes! It was wonderful for me to take the evening off from cooking and I felt competely confident in you, your food and presentation - thank you again and all good wishes for 2012" Janette and Frank Finn

20 December 2011


I was recently contacted over the telephone by Lynne Shelbourn for advice on the catering to celebrate her husband's 60th Birthday party, being held in their own home near Hook in North Hampshire. I had been recommended by Jules and Sue Porter, being mutual friends of ours, whom I have cooked for on several occasions. I first met Jules and Sue when they did the photography for our wedding back in 2007, producing the most amazing  album and Rebbecca Shelbourne also had a great experience with them for her own wedding more recently.  Being a surprise party, it was difficult to arrange times when we could discuss requirements, however, we successfully came up with a great menu for the occasion with a few secret telephone calls and by exchanging emails through Rebbecca, Lynne's eldest daughter.

We decided for a selection of canapes on arrival, followed by a hot buffet menu, with a selection of desserts to finish.

I arrived late in the morning to set up where I first met Lynne, who was very friendly and showed me into the kitchen. We had a little over an hour before her husband Stuart was due to arrive so I had to be quick and get everything ready which isn't always easy when in a new environment! However, help was at hand and everything went to plan and family and friends of Lynne offered the canapes around before the main course was served buffet style and everyone helped themselves. I had plenty of great feed back from many guests and it made the day so rewarding and worthwhile that my small part of the day was appreciated at what was a great Birthday party. The day finished off with the desserts which also went down well and as the bulk of the guests left, I began to tidy up my equipment ready for another day.


Game pate, granary toast, caramelised red onion and port chutney,
Tempura King prawns, mango mayonnaise, sliced red chilli and fresh coriander,
Smoked salmon and cream cheese roullade, rocket, lemon, cracked black pepper,
Bruschetta, olive oil, mozzarella, blush tomato, avocado, fresh basil.

Beef Bourguignon, Red wine, shallots, wild mushrooms,
Chicken Chasseur, White wine, tomato, tarragon gravy,
Sweet potato and bean Goulash,
Basmati rice, Dressed tossed salad,

Vanilla and honeycomb creme brulee, vanilla shortbread,
Mango and coconut mousse, ginger tuille biscuit,
Fresh strawberries, balsamic, brandy snap biscuit,
Caramelised apple tart tartin, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream.

Lynne and her family were very hospitable and it was a great pleasure to cook for them in their home. Thank you for having me as a part of your celebration.

"Thank you so much for all your hard work on Sunday. The food not only looked good but also tasted delicious! Everyone commented on it. You could not have done more for us and I am really grateful. Thanks again"

19 December 2011


I attain great pleasure and reward when I get a return invite to cook again for a previous guest. It is a testament to my cooking and gives me a great feeling of satisfaction. I first cooked for Gary's wife at the beginning of this year for a birthday party and cooked for them together just last week. I had great feedback from both occasions and was looking forwards to cooking up some great food again. The party was a get together of good friends for Christmas and it was a great atmosphere to be a part of. I felt very at ease cooking in an open plan kitchen, putting my culinary skills on display throughout the evening. Everything went brilliantly and I was invited to enjoy a few beers with everyone at the table after the desserts were enjoyed.


To begin:

Crispy fried calamari, spring onion and red chilli, Garlic, lemon and fresh basil mayonnaise.
Trio of bruschettas, 
Wild mushroom, garlic and Parma ham, Tomato and chilli salsa, Black olive, blush tomato and mozzarella.

Main course:

Marinated sirloin medallions, rosemary and garlic, char grilled, cream of Marsala and peppercorn sauce.
Chicken breast, rocket mousseline, smoked pancetta and puff pastry, roasted tomato and basil sauce.

Served with: Hand cut chips, sweet potato croquette, kale, asparagus, broccoli, roasted butter nut squash.


Strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake.
Caramelised pear tartin.


"From the first time we met Gary to discuss the menu, we realised how passionate he was about food and that the Japanese theme for our dinner party was something he was very keen to do. Gary is very friendly and professional. The evening was fantastic and the food was amazing!!! We all had such a great time and would not hesitate in booking Gary again, to make an evening even more special and hassle free. Many thanks again Gary and we will definitely be seeing you again in the new year!!" 
The Coopers

I have catered for many tastes at Private Dinner Parties and my latest followed a theme for Japanese cuisine. Japanese food traditions have adapted and picked up many western influences over the years but have always had a reputation for the use of excellent quality seasonal ingredients and beautiful presentation. I am a great fan of Japanese cuisine and am very fond of eating out with my wife at Zen, Southampton, so it was a great challenge and pleasure to create a suitable menu that would wow my guests. 

I selected a mix of hot and cold dishes to be served over the course of the evening that would show off a modern style of Japanese cooking and be fun to share in the middle of the table. Once the final menu was planned, I had a great day out selecting the finest ingredients and was looking forward to cooking in front of everyone on the evening. 

"The Michelin Guide has awarded Japanese cities by far the most Michelin stars of any country in the world. For example, Tokyo alone has more Michelin stars than Paris, Hong Kong, New York, LA and London combined" Wikepedia


Tuna maki, Soy and wasabi,
Tuna Sashimi, Soy and wasabi,
Smoked salmon and sesame seed maki,
Smoked mackerel nigiri, Oyster sauce.
Crab meat and celeriac, wasabi crab fraiche,
Fillet steak  Tepinyaki, Pickled ginger, soy sauce,
Fillet steak Yakatori, Soy, ginger and sesame marinade,
5 spiced duck breast Tepinyaki, Soy, chilli and honey, 
Seared scallops Tepinyaki, Sticky sweet chilli sauce,
 King prawn fritters, chilli, spring onion and fresh coriander,
Salmon and crabmeat fishcakes, Sweet chilli dipping sauce,
Egg fried rice, spring onion, chilli and ginger, 
Pickled cucumber, carrot and moulli.

Tropical fresh fruit salad, 
Persimmon, dragon fruit, mango, kiwi, strawberry, 
Mango and passion fruit maki, vanilla rice and lime dipping sauce.

Fillet steak Tepinyaki
Tuna sashimi,
Marinated duck breast Tepinyaki
Crab meat and salmon fish cakes, sweet chilli sauce.
Seared King scallops, Sticky sweet chilli sauce and Plum sauce
Smoked mackerel nigiri, Oyster sauce 
Smoked salmon and sesame maki
Fillet steak yakitori, Soy, ginger and sesame
Tropical fresh fruit salad, Mango and passion fruit maki

From the first time we met Gary to discuss the menu, we realised how passionate he was about food and that the Japanese theme for our dinner party was something he was very keen to do. Gary is very friendly and professional. The evening was fantastic and the food was amazing!!! We had lots of small courses over the evening, which made for a nice informal occasion. Gary was happy to answer any questions about the food. As Japanese food is very fresh, the food was mainly cooked in front of us, which was great to watch and see what ingredients were used.

We all had such a great time and would not hesitate in booking Gary again, to make an evening even more special and hassle free. Many thanks again Gary and we will definitely be seeing you again in the new year!!

The Coopers!

15 December 2011

Steak and Scallops

I love Scallops, I love Steak. 

There are not many plates of food that go better together than these and I was lucky enough to enjoy them both together with my gorgeous wife for tea tonight. We enjoyed the scallops quite simply, seared and served with a piquante tomato, chilli, fresh coriander and lime salsa. I used sirloin because it is a great cut with both flavour and tenderness. I char grilled them with plenty of cracked black pepper and melted some blue cheese on top while they were resting. I did some skinny hand cut chips on the side with Bernaise sauce, saute greens in garlic butter and balsamic glazed baby cherry tomatoes. It all went down great and these dishes will remain two of my top favourites for a long time to come.

14 December 2011

Chicken Breast, chorizo, goats cheese pesto, filo pastry

Roasted new potatoes, honey roast carrots, saute greens with garlic, 
Tomato and goats cheese cream sauce.

Our latest Dinner at home was inspired with Mediterranean flavours through the stuffing for the chicken. It stayed beautifully moist as I cooked it in the pastry and I used some of the escaped juices into the creamy tomato sauce.

11 December 2011


December kicked off for me really well and I have been really busy with my Private Dinner Parties. This weekend has been no exception and cooking for Helen was my last of three. I really enjoyed making a Thai inspired butternut squash soup to start, a great chicken main course, followed by a perfect winter brioche bread and butter pudding with rum, vanilla and orange. I cooked for Helen as a guest at a previous Private Dinner Party at the beginning of the year and it was great to expand my client base when I was invited to cook at her house for her husband Steve and her friends.

It was great to see Helen again and meet Steve and it was a pleasure cooking for everyone to celebrate Steve's Birthday. The weekend was finished off perfectly with everyone enjoying the food and I appreciated my customary cold beer after the man course was sent. Thanks to Helen and Steve for being fantastic hosts.


To Start:

Thai inspired roasted butternut squash and coconut soup, chilli, fresh coriander and lime.

Freshly baked granary bread.


Honey and soy glazed chicken breast,
Confit of 5 spice chicken drumstick,
Chicken thigh, wrapped in crispy bacon, red wine jus,
Sea salt crackling.

Served with:

Baby roast potatoes, sauté leeks and greens in garlic butter, baby carrots, asparagus spears.

To finish:

Brioche vanilla and orange bread and butter pudding, chilled cinnamon and rum custard,
Toasted crushed hazelnuts and honeycomb.


I first cooked for Louise back in January of this year so it was great to be invited back to cook for her and her husband Tony again. Amongst the guests were also some friends of theirs whom I have cooked for before so it was a great familiar evening. The occasion was a get together of friends for Christmas and as always the atmosphere was great. I had a choice of two starters and two mains with a "Trio of desserts" to finish off. Scallops are a big favourite and are a pleasure to cook, with most of the guests choosing this to start. It was no surprise when Louise asked me to cook a beef Wellington which went down really well back in January. I have done many different desserts but find that offering a selection of three smaller choices has gone down really well for many dinner parties and offers a wow factor, with differences in flavours, colours and textures.

I had great feed back from the evening and it was great to be invited to join everyone for a drink at the end of the evening.

                                                        Menu for Louise Bush                                                                    

To Start:

Freshly made cheese, blush tomato, olive and spring onion bread.

Seared scallops, prosciutto ham, balsamic dressing.
Asparagus spears, Parma ham, Bernaise sauce.


Beef fillet Wellington, Wild mushroom pate, Parma ham, puff pastry, red wine gravy.


Pan fried cod fillet, crisp chorizo slices, saffron, white wine and cream sauce.

Served with:

Fondant potato, honey roast chantenay carrots, sauté broccoli florets and baby spinach.

To Finish:

Trio of desserts:

Vanilla and honeycomb brulee,
Raspberry cheesecake, black sesame shortbread,
Chocolate and orange brownie, chocolate and ginger tuile.

"Thanks again for a fantastic evening, I still can't believe how good the food was! 
Gary Connolly, Guest.

"Thank you again for a wonderful evening you came up trumps and the food was truly fabulous" 
Louise bush

10 December 2011


When I am recommended for a private dinner party, there is nothing more rewarding for me when having cooked a fantastic dinner, I get great feed back from the evening. My latest dinner party was for six ladies celebrating their friendship over Christmas by booking me to cook for them in their home. I tailored a menu together to suit the occasion and have been looking forwards to being able to provide by bespoke services so that they could relax and enjoy the food while I waited on them.

I arrived just before the guests so that I could set up and was introduced as they all arrived. Everyone was really friendly and I served the first course of canapes in the lounge before the ladies sat at the dining table to enjoy my beef fillet Wellington. This has become my most popular of dishes for the main course and it is definitely one of my favourite to cook. I use the best quality fillet steak, seared in a roasting hot pan to give the edges a great caramelised flavour, before wrapping in puff pastry with wild mushroom pate and Parma ham. I place a thin pancake over the fillet to absorb any natural cooking juices so the pastry stays crisp during cooking. My ladies tonight had it served rare which is definitely the best way to eat a great tender piece of fine fillet steak. 

The hospitality from Sharon was excellent and I had to resist a cold beer until the main course was sent. I was really chuffed with all the feedback I received and it carried onto the last course. A trio of desserts is another popular option and I served three different desserts in small portions to experience difference in flavours and textures.

                                               Menu for Sharon Sothcott                                                                      

To start: Selection of canapés,

Bruschetta: Spiced guacamole, chilli and fresh coriander.

Pork and wholegrain mustard chipolatas, glazed with honey and sesame.

Crispy vegetable spring roll, Hoi sin sauce.

Goats cheese in filo pastry, blush tomato and black olive.


Beef fillet Wellington: Wild mushroom pate, Parma ham, puff pastry, Red wine gravy.

Served with:

Fondant potato, honey roast chantenay carrots, sauté broccoli florets, baby spinach.


Roasted butternut squash, garlic, ginger and fresh coriander.
Puy lentils, baby spinach, chilli and tomato salsa.

To finish:

Trio of desserts:

Toffee and Bailey’s cheesecake,
Raspberry and lemon pannacotta,
Chocolate and hazelnut brownie. 

"Thank you for last night. The food was superb!! All the girls were raving over a perfect evening, one we are all hoping to repeat soon. Thanks again"
Sharon Sothcott.