Jennifer’s Kitchen and Catering in Rancho Mirage recently saved my life. Well, not literally, of course, but in a way for which I will forever be grateful. For months I had been planning the big birthday dinner of my BFF Tom—a special meal with a special menu chosen for just a very special group of friends. But then it happened—I got the call from my favorite client who just HAD to have her guest rooms redone tout de suite. Turn down work in this economy? I don’t think so. So I moved to plan “B.”
There was no other option for me than to call on Jennifer Johnson, the chef extraordinaire who runs a tight ship catering some of the best intimate dinner parties and over-the-top weddings in the Palm Springs Valley. I stopped over to her great lunch café on 111, where we sat and chose my future soiree’s menu while I munched on an amazing Tuna Melt. This intimate birthday fete was to be for an even dozen on my condo terrace, and thankfully this was a foodie crowd so we could be a bit more adventurous than the usual (but always delicious) crab cakes that seem to be a staple of catered food.
Jennifer’s food feels far from catered fare. First off, it’s about as “green” and organic as you can get from a caterer. But the choices are almost limitless. Jennifer sent her best staff member to take care of us, a wonderful Southern gentleman named Jackie who did an outstanding job taking care of our every culinary and service need. We started with passed hors d’oeuvres of Risotto and Fontina Croquettes and Deep-fried Green Olives stuffed with Sausage and Goat Cheese, then moved on to a refreshing salad of Arugula with Caramelized Pears and Toasted Walnuts. For the main course, Tapenade-Crusted Rack of Lamb (sublime) and an amazing Three-Cheese Vegetable Lasagna (for the non-meat-eaters) were served. Needless to say, Jennifer’s special Three-Chocolate Mousse Torte was the showstopper that all expected after such an incredible meal.
I love to cook and I love to eat. Cleaning up, not so much. So this experience with Jennifer and her crew was a win-win for everyone. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll need her for MY special wedding… In the meantime, I’ll stick to her for my dinner parties. And by the way, the guest rooms of my favorite client were done in record time, and look divine.