Good news for anyone who was devastated when Montclair restaurant and dessert bar Vanillamore closed in 2020.
Chef/owner Risa Boyer is back, making food in private homes for dinner parties, through her business Vanillamore Culinary Experiences. Oh, how we missed those decadent chocolate cakes and crispy Brussels sprouts with pancetta.
“I wanted to do something that was more manageable lifestyle-wise,” said Boyer, who became a mom about a year ago. “It gives me the ability to do the part of the restaurant industry that I love – cooking.”
Boyer will bring the ingredients and equipment and prepare and serve everything in your home. Tableware, clean-up and wine pairing suggestions are included.
“I pulled from a lot of the flavors that I used at Vanillamore,” Boyer said.
Appetizer selections include ricotta with honey and hazelnuts; bay scallop ceviche and chorizo with figs and polenta. Entrees include skirt steak; roasted chicken with lemon-herb pan sauce; and roasted duck breast. Boyer’s beloved dessert options include almond cake with lemon curd, coconut angel food cake, and strawberry thyme galette with vanilla cream and oat streusel.
Dinner parties include charcuterie, three appetizers, two entrees and two desserts.
Boyer also offers a more hands-on, cooking class experience, where guests can learn to make the dishes they’ll later dine on. These meals include charcuterie, two appetizers, one entrée and one dessert.
Cooking in homes is a more flexible way for Boyer to work, she said. There’s no overhead, no permanent staff (though she will have some help from former Vanillamore staff for larger parties) and a manageable schedule.
“The great part of doing it this way is I can customize and adapt the menu with what people prefer,” Boyer said.
Plus, she said, with concerns about the delta variant increasing, folks may feel more comfortable in their own homes, rather than going out to a restaurant.
Vanillamore Culinary Experience can accommodate from two to 12 people. Boyer said she can manage up to six people on her own and will bring in a sous chef to help with larger parties (costs an additional $150). Dinner parties cost from $100 to $125 per person. Cook with the Chef is $150 per person, up to eight people. Tableware rental varies in price, and a server (if needed) is $100.
Go to chefrisa.com to book Vanillamore Culinary Experiences.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.