Tag Archive | "Don Strange Catering"

Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Chefs’ Coop Dinner and More

Z Tejas skillet pan cropped









Z Tejas Southwestern Grill’s Cool New Summer Items

Z Tejas announces a few new temptations on their menu. These include four new entrees, along with Two Berry Delicious Skinny Cocktails and a twist on a dessert classic, S’mores Cake with a Root Beer Float.  Z Tejas is at the Shops at La Cantera. (210) 690-3334.


Fig Tree Dining RoomFig Tree welcomes new chef, Laurent Rea

“I’ve known Laurent for some time now, since he worked at L’Etoile. I’ve been very interested in him and his talent, and we are all very glad to have him here, now, at the Fig Tree.”  — Moe Lazri, general manager, Little Rhein and Fig Tree. See more on the Fig Tree Bastille Day celebration this week here.


Enjoy a taste of Italy at Crumpet’s Vintner Dinner Friday

Fine dining and wine tasting will come together on Friday, July 12, at 7 p.m. Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery will be hosting a wine dinner featuring five Italian wines for guests to enjoy along with a specially prepared Italian inspired gourmet menu by chef/owner Francois Maeder.

The cost of this event is $70 per person, plus tax and tip. Seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information and to make reservations, call (210) 821-5600. Crumpets is at 3920 Harry Wurzbach.

The menu (wines listed first, per course):  Ca De Meo Gavi, Gamberetti con Salsa Crema d’anglio;  Tenuta del Buonamico Bianco-Montecarlo, Indiva Brasato con Proscuitto Mozzarella; Macato La Giareta Cabernet Franc, Raviolo Frito de Carne;  David Sterza Valpollcella Superiore Ripasso, Vitella del Piemonte; Villa de Filicaja Vin Santo Del Riserva, Meringa con gelato e lampone freschi.

Johnny Hernandez addresses CIA SA grads

Johnny Hernandez chef

Johnny Hernandez

Ten students at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, received their associate in applied science diplomas during commencement ceremonies at the Pearl complex last week.

San Antonio native Johnny Hernandez, a 1989 graduate of the CIA at the college’s main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y., was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. He is executive chef and owner of La Gloria Ice House, Casa Hernán, Frutería Botanero, and True Flavors Catering. He’s also working on his first cookbook and memoir, México Mi Gloria. He was named one of the Five Top Latino Chefs in the United States by Siempre Mujer magazine in 2011.

Hernandez has also opened a La Gloria restaurant at the San Antonio International Restaurant earlier this week.

This was just the second AAS in culinary arts graduation at the San Antonio campus, with the first having been in April. The 10 graduates join the ranks of accomplished CIA alumni, which number more than 45,000 since the college’s founding in 1946.

Chefs’ Cooperative, Peeler Farms Dinner

Peeler Farms and the Chefs’ Cooperative invite you to a once-in-a -lifetime event to showcase all that is Texas and to “give back” to the farm. This event is on Aug. 10 at The Emily Morgan Hotel, 705 E. Houston St. It begins with a 5 p.m. reception and dinner following at 6.  The price is $75 per person, plus tax and tip. All proceeds go directly to Peeler Farms.

For reservations, call  (210) 225-5100. Also available are free valet parking and reduced rates on hotel rooms.

Here’s the menu the chefs have planned:

Reception:  Jeff White presents Charcuterie — Head cheese with porcini aioli, Smoked lamb belly rillette with candied green apple, Suckling porchetta with grain mustard and sweetbread; Pistachio mortadella with rocket emulsion

First: Stephen Paprocki presents Cheese: Farmhouse white cheddar;  Texas lavender and honey montasio; Alamo Ale; mozzarella quick cheese with pickled Texas citrus. This course features products from Alamo Beer, Duff Distributing and Fall Creek Vineyards.

Second: Alex Altamirano presents: Texas sweet white shrimp tempura, cucumber jicama escabeche, and cilantro ginger aioli.

Third: Tyler Horstmann presents Peeler Farms “golden egg.”

Fourth: Laurent Rea presents Broken Arrow Ranch venison tartar, Sun choke hummus, peach mostarda.

Fifth: Chris Cook presents Peeler Farms Young Chicken Confit, minted squash and watermelon water.

Sixth: Jeret Peña presents “Pinky Swear” with rye whiskey, grapefruit, Texas honey and pink peppercorns.

Seventh: Isaac Cantu presents Texas mushroom-crusted Hill Country Beef with honey-carrot puree, watercress and iconic Cabernet jus.

Eighth: Melissa Beverage presents Country bread pudding and peach ginger compote with a blackberry goat’s milk ice cream.

The Settlement is a new Don Strange catering venture

The Barn at The Settlement will be completed soon.

The Barn at The Settlement will be completed soon.

Renowned caterer Don Strange of Texas has launched a new destination venue called The Settlement, which is nestled in the foothills of the Texas Hill Country near Highway 281. It offers the beauty of the countryside and the convenience of easy travel from San Antonio as well as a variety of venue settings, from intimate to large scale.

Situated on 78 acres on Bulverde Road, The Settlement dates to 1850 but has all of the conveniences of a modern event facility, making it ideal for people who want to give their event a touch of Texas charm and the natural beauty that can only be found in the Texas Hill Country.

For more information, call (210) 434-2331 or email









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Gifts for Mom, More at Mother’s Day Plant & Bake Sale

There will be lots of treats for Sunday morning breakfast for mom at the Time Dollar Bake Sale

There will be lots of treats for Sunday morning breakfast for mom at the Time Dollar Bake Sale

Time Dollar Community Connections’ second annual Mother’s Day Plant & Bake Sale is Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 2806 West Salinas St.

Food, baked goods, plants, yard art, collectibles as well as vintage items will be for sale.

Also, free bilingual workshops are offered. The first, at 10:30 a.m. is on making healthy tamales, presented by registered dietitian and diabetes educator Linda Triesch and chef Ana Maria Martinez, both of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

The second workshop is at 11:30 a.m. on traditional plants and healing, by Jane Madrigal, MEd., curative Herb and Plant expert.

Funds raised will go towards providing basic needs programs and life changing programs.  Basic needs programs are the Time Dollar Community Table food pantry, utility assistance, and basic case management.

Also, enjoy music, sweets from Earl Abel’s, the Guenther House, and pastries made by pastry chef Jenny Mattingsley to name a few.  Food and fresh aguas will be catered by Don Strange Catering.

In 2012, Time Dollar served over 7,947 Westside and Bexar County residents with a budget of about $35,000 that equates to $4.40 per guest. Thanks to our supporters, other community-minded donors, and volunteers, Time Dollar was able to provide basic needs and life changing services to all who expressed a need.

Life changing programs include Parent Child Math, one-on-one math education for underserved parents mutually benefiting parents and children, Summer Children’s Gardening Classes that ignites creative learning and thinking, and Square Foot Gardening and Sustainable Living Classes for adults.

Time Dollar Succulent Wreath



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Don Strange: 60 Years By the Numbers; Trends to Come

More than 60 years of catering means a bigger shopping list than we can even imagine. Here is what the catering company says they have ordered, prepared and served in the span of six decades.

Over the years, the numbers say it all

Flutes of Champagne – 2.5 million
Pounds of beef tenderloin – 16.5 million
Pounds of chocolate – 1 million
Avocados – 1.2 million
Shrimp – 2.4 million
Pounds of masa for gorditas – 475 tons
Grilled White Wings – 3 million
Number of events catered at the White House – 2
Texas governor Iiaugural balls – 15
Events for Henry “The Fonz” Winkler – 3
Catered for the president of the United States – 3
Served John Wayne – 1
Number of celebrities served – too many to count!
Number of non-profit dollars DST has helped raise – more than $10 million

“One of our keys to success is we make an event all about the client. We don’t want our clients to feel like we’ve created something directly from a magazine or following a trend—we may be inspired by a trend, but what we create we make for that client.  That’s served us well — customizing never goes out of style”

Brian Strange, president and CEO of Don Strange of Texas and the third generation of the family to lead the business.

The “Eat St.” crew films Say.She.Ate.

Elderflower Elixir and Super Fruit Sunrise from Fogo de Chão.

Looking Ahead:  Culinary Trends that will Flavor our World

•Pickling/preserving/canning vegetables and fruits at home

•Street foods and food trucks are still growing, and global street foods will continue to be strong, adding variety to the offerings

•Home cooking/cooking classes: People are experimenting, learning, becoming more hands-on

•Spices, new/different, unusual—more easily available

•Beer and beer pairings, outdoor beer garden parties

•Cocktails: Classic cocktails, old recipes with new twists are big

•Farm to Table: Our awareness of where our food comes from continues to grow, people want to know how their food is being farmed, where it comes from and questions about growing our own food. Farmer’s Markets, community gardens and co-ops will continue to grow in popularity.

•Healthy foods: On a day to day basis, people are seeking low-salt, low-fat, high flavor foods—we want healthy, but we want it to be delicious.

•Roasting: Roasted vegetables has been big, but we’re seeing different flavors, like curry or za’atar, a Mediterranean spice, being added.

•Going global on many scales — combinations of multi-cultural foods duck taco with lime sake slaw

•Korean (Kimcheé), Indian and Greek food

•Comfort foods – upscale twists and indulgence – truffle mac and cheese

•Whole animals – excluding bone marrow; using more duck, goat, lamb

•Roasting and drying lighter sauces, citrus peels, eggplant, tofu


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The Chow Train Rolls In to Feed the Hungry

“It takes a village to feed a village.”

Joan Cheever prepares roasted carrots in the Chow Train.

Joan Cheever prepares roasted carrots in the Chow Train.

Joan Cheever has learned that in the past year. The founder of the Chow Train food truck has relied on many to help her in her mission to feed San Antonio’s homeless and hungry.

The chef, who is also a student at St. Philip’s Culinary School, needed a corps of volunteers from Broadway Bank Sunday as she made food for more than 150 military men and women who were part of the crews building a home for a Wounded Warrior as part of the TV program, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The Floresville home for the Shiloh Harris family was co-sponsored by Morgan’s Wonderland, through the efforts of Gordon Hartman.

Hartman’s involvement was what got Cheever out to the site twice recently. The first was on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the second was this past Sunday, as the crews finished work on the house.

Cheever planned an elaborate dinner for these volunteers, a plate laden with a garden salad with cherry tomatoes and roasted corn, Coca-Cola braised brisket, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, roasted carrots with parsley and mashed potatoes. Pan dulces donated by Don Strange Catering crowned each plate.

To get each plate to a worker in quick time required about a dozen workers adding the food in an assembly line that had the workers getting hungrier with each addition.

Volunteers from Broadway Bank help set up the serving table.

Cheever gets the same response most every day from the people she feeds. Part of it is because she caters to the needs of the people she feeds. She makes sure that those with diabetes have low-carbohydrate dishes and those who are vegetarian are given meat-free dishes. She even feeds someone she calls “Vegan John,” who always asks if the food on his plate is made without meat or dairy products.

You might expect such treatment if you were paying for your meals, but most of these people are either homeless or unable to pay for a meal.

“I’m not going to let anybody go hungry,” Cheever said.

“She’s like a woman for all diets,” said Chris Plauché, who works with Cheever regularly at the Catholic-sponsored soup kitchen downtown and is in awe of her dedication.

“You do what you can,” Cheever said, adding that she’s learned a great deal from dealing with people with special needs that extend beyond normal kitchen concerns, such as the dental condition of many of the homeless creates an added challenge.

Dennis Quinn helps wife Joan Cheever prepare the meal.

“When you’re doing a garnish, you need to be thoughtful about it,” she said.

Cheever also wants to make sure her meals are well-balanced and nutritious as possible, which means that though her food truck came equipped with a deep-fryer, she has yet to use it.

She does use items like bacon to help make some taste foods as foreign as brussels sprouts, soups or salads more appealing. “They know by now that if they don’t eat the appetizer, whether it’s a soup or a salad, Chef won’t give you the main course,” she said. “But I tell them, ‘Try it. You don’t know it, but you’ll really like it.'”

Her non-profit mission, which was registered as a 501(c)3 last summer, has grown because of the contributions of area farmers, who donate what they don’t sell at the end of their market day at Olmos Basin. She’s also been getting donations from Broadway Daily Bread. Kiolbassa donated sausage for the “Extreme Makeover” meals, and Saweet Cupcakes offered dessert for the first meal the chef provided.

Cheever juggles her truck duties with her classes at St. Philip’s, which should conclude in May.

This isn’t Cheever’s first career. In a former life, she was a New York attorney and a journalist. She’s also the author of the book, “Back from the Dead: One Woman’s Search for the Men Who Walked off America’s Death Row,” which is used as part of the curriculum at Incarnate Word.

The volunteer builders line up for a Chow Train meal.

Cheever’s family drew her and her husband, Dennis Quinn, to San Antonio, and she decided a couple of years ago to pursue a culinary degree. Out of that, the Chow Train was born. “I love to cook — and I just wanted to be a part of something,” she said.

Her truck doesn’t feed only local people. She took the truck to Joplin, Mo., last year right after the tornadoes, so she could feed the workers who were helping with the cleanup efforts there.

Cheever also plans on going across the country on what she calls a Hungry America tour, in which she would visit the most poverty-riddled areas of the country. “We would do a fabulous meal for people with local ingredients,” in order to bring them some information about nutrition and eating better, she said. She’s hoping to have other trucks offering medical screenings and advice where needed.

But she has to learn how to drive a pickup first — and a pickup with a food truck hitched to it. Until then, her husband has been helping out, both behind the wheel and in the mobile kitchen.

The finished house for Wounded Warrior Shiloh Harris.

In the meantime, she’ll continue feeding the people who show up wherever the Chow Train kitchen rolls to next.

As Cheever said, “What does the Bible say? The poor will be with you always, so we need to do something.”

For more on the Chow Train, click here.

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