Cooking for a crowd: A chef who cooks for more than 9,000 offers tips and doable recipes – The Dallas Morning News

Restaurant News

If cooking for a crowd intimidates you, the catering and banquet chef at Wynn Las Vegas has advice. Chef Kelly Bianchi and her staff are used to cooking for 9,000 people on a busy day, so they know a thing or two about how to make simple things seem elegant. Add these two dishes to your whatever else you have planned for your holiday celebrations, and your guests will think you hired a pro to do the heavy lifting.

Bianchi’s stacked smoked salmon crepes are more assembling than cooking – a really easy, no-cook appetizer that even your kids can do because all the ingredients are easy to find in the grocery store.

“They come together in just a few minutes but look like you spent hours,” Bianchi says. “You can make them look really fancy if you purchase a little 300-gram jar of caviar and put a tiny spoonful on each wedge. A little bit goes a long way but makes it look like you spent a fortune.”

Her gingerbread tiramisu takes a little more effort, but it’s easier than wrapping Christmas gifts, so give it a try.

“You can do all of these recipes the day before or make them even sooner and plop them in the freezer if you need more time than that,” Bianchi says.

Kelly Bianchi is executive chef at Wynn Las Vegas.
Kelly Bianchi is executive chef at Wynn Las Vegas.(courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas)

Smoked Salmon Mille-Feuille (layered salmon crepes)

1 pound cream cheese

1 small package fresh dill

1/2 pound smoked salmon

1 package store-bought, pre-packaged crepes (or substitute fresh corn tortillas or flour tortillas)

4-ounce jar of caviar, optional

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Chop 1 tablespoon of fresh dill and mix into the cream cheese, reserving the remainder of the dill for garnish.

Remove the smoked salmon from its package and have it nearby. Place one crepe on a cutting board. Using a spatula, gently spread about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the crepe, taking care not to tear the crepe. Place a single slice of salmon over the crepe with cream cheese (use additional salmon to entirely cover the crepe). Trim around the edges of the crepe to create a clean circle. Repeat, stacking each completed layer atop the other until the stack is five layers tall.

Finish the top layer with an additional crepe with no cream cheese. Trim up any overhanging edges.

Wrap the completed mille-feuille in plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight. While it rests in the refrigerator, place a heavy plate on top of the wrapped mille-feuille to compress it. (Bianchi says this ensures the finished dish sits flat and each slice looks the same.) The next day, remove from the refrigerator and unwrap. While still cold, cut the mille-feuille with a sharp knife into your desired shape (consider 2-inch wedges or squares). Tip: Run your knife under hot water between cutting to ensure nice, clean cuts. Garnish with a fresh dill sprig (and a small dollop of caviar, if using) before serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Adapted from Kelly Bianchi, executive chef at Wynn Las Vegas

More recipes:

Gingerbread Tiramisu from chef Kelly Bianchi at Wynn Las Vegas
Roasted Thumbelina Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto from chef Kelly Bianchi at Wynn Las Vegas

Source: Thanks