Eliza Glaister began cooking in earnest when she went to the Savannah College of Art and Design after graduating from the Millbrook School. Her house mates idea of dinner was pizza until Eliza said “no were going to have dinner parties.” At their art openings friends would serve Domino Pizza and a keg “and I said this is not how you do things…I would trade the food and time for a piece of art work. I gave them a choice of hors d’oeuvres and in return would get a photograph or a painting.”
Eliza inherits her love of cooking from her parents, John and Sarah Glaister. Friends all agree they are both consummate hosts whose Sunday lunches legendary. For Eliza, those lunches were a chance to “spend time one on one with my dad who was in the city during the week. He would come up and make a big fun mess in the kitchen on the weekend and I could do that with him.”
After graduating from SCAD, Eliza did a three month internship with Gordon Elliott as an assistant on the pilot for The Chew which was “was a big thing for me.” A friend then persuaded her to apply as a contestant for the television show “Rocco’s Dinner Party” with Chef Rocco DiSpirito. She showed up for the pilot facing two seasoned professional chefs one of whom who had worked at Daniele’s.
The event was a comedy of errors. She was so nervous she peeled off all the red nail polish she had carefully applied for the show. She couldn’t get the industrial oven to start “so I had to change my game plan and cook the dish on top of the stove in the process setting a wooden spoon on fire.” When she finished Rocco told her he would like her to be a guest on the show because she was so funny. If she wanted to be a professional chef, he said, she would have to go to culinary school.
Eliza took his advice and enrolled for a six month term at the French Culinary Institute in Soho. Although the program was very intense she says, “I absolutely loved it. I knew that was where I was meant to be.”
After graduation Eliza worked at Prune and Grey Lady in New York before freelancing at the food network. When she started cooking small dinners for her parents’ friends both in the city and here in Millbrook, she realized “I can cook what I want and people really like my food.”
She combines her background in traditional French cooking with modern techniques and styles including Asian, Caribbean and mid eastern dishes. She describes her menus as “refined multi cultural comfort food.” In the summer she tries to keep everything seasonal and as locally sourced as possible. Eliza is very organized and tries to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Once at the client’s house she cooks, serves, and cleans up. Depending on the size of the event, she will bring in a local wait staff.
The largest party she has catered so far was last summer’s Smithfield Open polo tournament for 200 people at Karen and John Klopp’s. Everyone raved about Eliza’s superb chicken dish - and with good reason.
Karen Klopp said, " The food was fabulous and Eliza's professionalism was outstanding. When my sons and their friends tried to come into the kitchen Eliza made it very clear she was working, and they were not welcome. Later after the meal was finished and everything cleaned up, Eliza joined her friends on the dance floor. She is absolutely first rate."
No wonder one must now book Eliza well ahead for an event especially in the summer.
Looking at her sample menus one would like to order everything.
Tuna Tartar on sesame wafer
Watermelon feta and mint Pops
Smoked trout crostini with horseradish and dressed greens
Grilled Rib-eye with chimichurri
Warm roasted corn salad with scallion Manchego mint and cayenne
Roasted cherry tomatoes with thyme
Salad and a selection of cheeses
Rhubarb Cobbler with Creme fraiche ice cream
Fig and fiddlehead ferns salad with mixed greens and a lime vinegarette
Slow roasted lamb with pomegranate
Mint and ramp aioli
Zesty couscous with fresh herbs
Fava and Wax bean with radishes and feta
Meringue nests with fresh berries and Bourbon whipped cream
Special Occasion dinner party
Potato latke with creme fraiche and Caviar
foie gras profiteroles with red currant glaze and pistachio dust
Wasabi minted pea aranccini with local honey
Beet Carpaccio with goat cheese and balsamic glaze and pomegranate
Individual lobster pot pie in a sherry cream sauce with leeks, celery, peas and puff pastry
Salad and a selection of cheeses
Cardamom chocolate mousse
Southern cocktail menu
Coconut fried chicken and waffles with a Thai red curry maple butter
Mini beef sliders
Mac n’ cheese bites
Sautéed shrimp with tarragon aioli
Crab cake Po boys
Fall Dinner Menu
Butternut Squash Tartlet with Manchego and Thyme
Smoked Duck crostini with fig preserve grainy mustard and sliced grapes
Sautéed Shrimp with a lemon Aioli
Spatchcock Poussin over bitter greens with mushrooms and barley
Assorted Local cheeses and Salad
Orange olive oil cake with bourbon whipped cream
Cheese Puffs with Lemon and Thyme Ricotta
Mini Croque Monsieur with Guyere and Spanish ham
Herbed Crab cakes with mustard sauce
Braised Chicken with a Mushroom, Thyme and Rosemary broth
Wild Rice with Scallions, cranberries, and almonds
Assorted French Cheese Crackers and Baguette
Profiteroles with Cinnamon Vanilla and Coffee Ice Cream Drizzled in Chocolate Sauce with Almonds
www.elizaglaister.com [email protected]