Sept. 14, 2020
By Laura Holloway
For many, the idea of having a private chef making dinner is a luxury, but on 30A, it’s a very attainable possibility. Many talented chefs offer their services for an intimate gathering at your own home or event. This can be an affordable option that not only allows you to select and plan your own menu tailored to your taste, party size, and dietary needs, but also provides an easy scenario that prevents the need to make complicated reservation arrangements for parties with young children, guests with travel restrictions, or even just families who prefer to keep dining a simple, intimate gathering at their home or vacation rental. On 30A, three stand-out options are presented, and each delivers its own flavor and offers a unique dining presentation.
Plate to Plate
Kali Davis defines herself as a personal chef and is the creative force behind Plate to Plate, offering private dinners, table design, seafood boils, cocktail party menus, kitchen takeovers, brunch, cooking lessons, wine experiences, tea and coffee tastings, and cooking for kids. She even offers grocery stocking for those looking to skip the lines at the store while in town on vacation.
Chef Kali started out cooking at home for friends, attributing her beginnings in the kitchen to her teenage years when she was grounded at home.
“I was allowed to have friends over, but I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere, so I would rack up a bunch of money on the credit card via groceries and have friends and family over for little dinner parties. I had a French cookbook that I would test recipes out of.”
Eventually, she grew out of her rebellious cooking phase and buckled down to truly hone her skills at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, and after graduating and spending many years in commercial kitchens, she decided to open her own business and “Boom, Personal Chef Kali was born.” Her favorite dish to make?
“Anything local and fresh. I cook very simply, meaning I let the ingredients do all the work,” Kali said. She describes her style as Southern farm-to-table but with a focus on seafood. She truly loves the family time that the personal chef experience affords her clients and also her own family. “I love working, I love cooking, but I would deeply regret missing out on time with my family when they are young and experiencing life. With restaurants you get a lot of notoriety, but time with loved ones is most important.”
Marrow Private Chefs
The duo behind Marrow Private Chefs, Richard McCord and Ryan McNay, offers 30 years of combined culinary experience and “a collective passion for food that really does shine right through every bite.”
The two chefs met five years ago and “initially bonded over our shared love of classic Southern cuisine and our joint desire to always serve the best plate of food we can give to every single guest we serve.”
Marrow Private Chefs was formed from that shared appreciation and philosophy, and today offers full four-course menus, family-style deliveries, event catering, and tasting menus, and the two personally handle the design, shopping, prepping and cooking of each meal. Although they have only been in partnership for half a decade, they share a similar start to their culinary journey.
“I was born into a food family,” Chef Ryan admitted. “My father was a chef, my mother was a restaurant manager, and my cousin owned a catering business headquartered next door to my childhood home – all right here in South Walton. One could say I was bred for it.”
Chef Richard similarly shared that he comes from a Southern family with an established culinary tradition, so he got the cooking bug from the family at a young age. The exciting aspect of hiring Marrow Private Chefs to cater your meal is the variety and uniqueness of each happening.
“One of our favorite aspects of Marrow is the freedom we have to create, paired with our collective desire to always try something new. We are constantly playing with new ideas and pushing ourselves out of the box. However, if you’re looking for one thing that we’re particularly proud of, a great example would be our Coconut Poblano Crab Cake with Champagne Vanilla Cream.”
Kyle Swift spent more than 20 years in the food and restaurant industry before taking the plunge into his own business. He moved to the beach in 2006 and formed Swiftly Catered with partner Dallin Harris (former owner of Barbacoa Mexican Grill) to offer his passion for food to a more specialized audience. From intimate private dinners to large catered events, the Swiftly Catered crew has something for everyone. Delicious offerings might include Pork Belly and Scallops, Key Lime Almondine Snapper, and Southern Strawberry Style Shortcake.
Kyle said he found his culinary start at age 6, making scrambled eggs, watching cooking shows, and playing with different food ideas. And although he spent many years in restaurants in Northwest Georgia and Florida, he says there is something really special about the private chef experience that offers his guests something unique that he truly enjoys.
“It’s interacting with our guests in a personal and non-chaotic environment. You don’t really get that experience in a kitchen where the chefs are trapped in the back of the house. You can go to a busy restaurant in peak season and see the immediate appeal to having a private chef. No hassle of rounding up the kids, finding somewhere to park and then waiting sometimes hours for your meal that might not even be that good. We have some amazing restaurants here but you can see the trends towards sacrificing quality and service to handle more volume. Diners are feeling that and seeking better options for what should be a relaxing vacation.”
To book your own private chef or catering experience, you can reach Chef Kali at www.platetoplate.us, emailing [email protected], or by calling 850-974-2665. To reach Marrow Private Chefs, visit www.marrowprivatechefs.com, email [email protected], or call 850-830-0000. And to book with Swiftly Catered, visit swiftlycatered.com, email [email protected], or call 850-972-0850.