Chef Lea asks a newbie couple to give her a culinary challenge; then she invites them to work with her to prepare her recipe solutions.

Newbie Challenges

Newbies: Vanessa & Elise…want Cheese, please!

Comments Off 19 April 2010



Meet the newbies. Vanessa Rockey Del Bono and Elise Rockey are sisters who grew up in a big foodie family.  Every family gathering involves cooking, and some serious eating.  The two have never had the opportunity to show their family what they can do in the kitchen…and they’re nervous about whether or not they’ll measure up!

Newbie Challenge. The sisters say the their family is wild about cheese so they’d like to learn more about choosing and serving great combinations, along with ideas for presentation.

Culinary Conclusion. Chef Lea will teach them some cheese basics and introduce them to various international and American cheeses.  She’ll teach them her formula for creating  a cheese and wine tasting presentation that will always impress their guests!

Check out the film clip on arranging an artful and unexpected cheese platter.

Photos by Allure West Studios and film clip by Burkart Video

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Newbie Challenges

Newbies: Wendy & Michael
Seafood Risotto, Cooking Fish, and Leftovers

2 Comments 25 October 2009



Meet the Newbies. Wendy and Michael Mantilla were married in October 2008 – They love adventure! They keep life light and spontaneous…after 8 ½ years of enjoying being together, they just said “Hey why don’t we get married?  And they pulled together a magical, intimate ceremony at the Monterey Plaza Hotel.  It was relaxed and comfortable – just like them.

“That’s the way we make all big decisions in our lives,” says Wendy, “We keep things in perspective and make the choices as simple and basic as possible.”  They did all the planning and decision-making together – their goal was to make their wedding a celebration of their love surrounded by family, the sounds of the ocean and seagulls, delicious gourmet food and excellent wine.  According to Wendy, that’s exactly what it was!

“We try to keep life light and spontaneous.  You don’t know how long you have on earth, so you might as well find joy and happiness every day you are here.  Besides, the days that are tough are easier to manage if you have a full bank of good memories to collect on.”

Newbie Challenge. Wendy and Michael are interested in learning about fish and how to make a seafood risotto, and they challenged Chef Lea to also come up with some inspiring ideas for the leftovers.

Culinary Conclusion. She’ll teach them how to make her Moroccan-style seafood stew over a saffron risotto. Then she’ll show them how to make crab cakes using the leftover risotto.

By the Sea Tablescape. Learn how to set a modern Mediterranean seaside table setting using seashells, beach glass, lemons, flowers, votives and more.

Newbisode #2 Recipes & Resources

Photos By Allure West Studios

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