Cook With Me's Blog

Eat Fresh!

Giving Thanks 2018 – Referrals from the Taylors

Many of these folks were referred to me by people who knew the Taylors. And now they’re repeat clients and friends.






November 13, 2018 Posted by | Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks -The Taylors 2018

One my favorite repeat Clients who has become a friend asked me to cater his wife’s birthday this year.  And this thanks is long over due. 


Saying I’m appreciative to Henderson, his wife Tara and his sister Patricia is such an understatement.  And this is why. Through knowing them over the last 6 years or so they’ve referred people to me a little over 80 times. 

Many of the referrals are also now repeat customers and friends also. So a huge gigantic Thank you to the Hendersons!

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks for 2018

You’re probably saying “It’s not New Years Eve yet. Isn’t this the type post for the end of the year?” No. Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away and if I were to wait to recap all that I’m thankful for, it would be the longest post ever.

I can tell it’s been a busy year because it seems like it was just New Years 2018 and I was so excited about having my first Macdill Air Force Base Catering Event in January, a Retirement Celebration for Colonel Michael Corpening. Thank you for your service. And Happy Veterans Day! What an honor it was to serve 125 or so soldiers enjoying my cuisine. Unfortunately no cell phones are allowed in the event area. 

Thank you to the Col. and Mrs. Corpening for supplying this photo.

And a big thank you to Kaliym and Cathy Haynes for referring the Corpening’s 

November 11, 2018 Posted by | Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

Cheat with me!

That’s right. Every 11th day I want you to meet up with me and cheat. Interested? I hope so. I want as many of you to cheat with me as possible. And it’s going to be fun and so satisfying!

You know I’m talking about cheating on your diets, right? What were you thinking? OMG! You’re nasty! LOL

Now that I have your attention, I’ll explain what we’re going to do. I started a diet right before Christmas and of course it was interrupted by Christmas dinners. (I had to have my grand baby’s Mac and cheese) A premature cheat day. But now I’m back on track and Friday, 01/05/18 is Cheat Day!

So here’s how I will help you enjoy your cheat day.

I’ll post the recipe of the meal(s) I am thinking of having 2 to 3 days before the cheat day. This will give you time to shop for the ingredients.
I will send reminders and steps I take to make it easier for you because, like me, you’re very busy. So prepping ahead of time will make cooking the day of so much easier
I’ll be available for questions the day of (unless I have an event to cater) just iMessage me and I’ll post the answer.

So if you want to cheat with me sign up now!  Email me at with your name and contact info so you can get the recipes.

This week is Fork Tender Beef Roast.

P.S. If you just don’t have the time but still want the meal contact me to make it for you.

January 2, 2018 Posted by | Cooking Class, Diet Recipes, Healthy, Let's Talk About Food | 1 Comment

Hats Off To Dining Catering Grand Opening

It was such an awesome time with me friends, family and clients. I was moved by the response and turn out to my Grand Opening/Menu Release/Wine Pairing. The idea is to expose customers to my dishes that they haven’t had. It gives me the opportunity to do what I love to do, cook me favorite dishes for my favorite customers. And guess what, they had great time with each other even though it was their first time meeting. Contacts were made and networking happened. I’m trying to figure out when to hold the next one because I still have clients that had other engagements and couldn’t make it.

And what would the evening be without great wine to pair with the great food. Thanks to Florida Orange Grove Wine for sponsoring this portion of the event. All of your wines were well received meaning they went fast but the star of the evening was your Hurricane Class 5. This was the favorite of the night.


June 14, 2016 Posted by | Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

Let’s talk about your catered food experience!

When Scott and I started “Hats Off” we were full of enthusiasm about cooking our dishes because so many restaurants where we dined were so average. The more we investigated about restaurants (specifically franchises) we found out why the restaurant cuisine was rather average.

  • – Some of your favorite restaurants are serving pre-frozen, warmed up food. With the exception of some steak houses this is true with many restaurants where you’re paying top dollar. Think about it. If a restaurant has about 35-45 different items offer on their menu, can all those ingredients really be fresh and served before they go bad? One or two slow nights would be financially devastating. No wonder your lasagna order was cold, it was frozen 15 minutes before you got it.
    • o Here is a test you can do to see if your restaurant is using pre-frozen meals. Ask for an ingredient to be switched or left out. They will give an excuse like it would back up the kitchen or some nonsense like that.
  • – Now lets talk about things like proteins and it’s freshness. Take chicken for instant. One reason why restaurants probably serve boneless skinless chicken is because if the bone were left in you could tell it had been frozen because the bone would be dark. I must stress that there isn’t anything wrong with the chicken; I’m just talking about fresh foods versus frozen food in restaurants.

Now when you have a catered event, there should a difference, right? Unfortunately, in many cases, there isn’t. Many of the caterers use frozen products. Scott and I learned early on that this was unacceptable to our vision.

Just so you know Hats Off Dining Catering actually prepares 85% – 90% from scratch. The 10% of pre-made items are things like sausages, bread, mayonnaise, etc. In the market I’m in most customers can’t afford to pay for the man-hours it would take to produce these items on a large scale. I reserve making these items for smaller more intimate dinner parties and personal chef services. This is where I find these little details are really appreciated.

What this mean for you is the freshest ingredients. I’m shopping for your menu the day before your event. I’m prepping your food the night before and cooking the day of your event. This includes entrees’ and side dishes. I created every recipe to be special. Clients who have taken my cooking class know this first hand.

So please inquire about whether or not your caterer is using pre-packaged frozen food for your special event. If you’re comfortable with that, fine. If not, give Hats Off To Dining Catering a call, 978-50FRESH, 978=503-7374.

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

2015 What a great year!

2015 was another blessed year for Hats Off To Dining Catering, Inc. So many events during the year, big and small, were so special to me.

Another good shot of the Ross's at the stove 020815

Newlyweds like the Ross’s who wanted to cook better took Hats Off To Dining Catering Cooking Class.  One of my very best clients, Henderson Taylor, arranged a Valentine’s Day dinner for a group of 20 of his close friends.

And I taught my first “Kids Cooking Class”. They were awesome and we had so much fun. I also had a chance to let Kiyah help me with this one, which was a real plus.

HOTD Kids Cooking Class Photo

Thanks to Young Smiles Pediatric Dentistry and Spa for sponsoring the class.


In 2015, I also did my first Bachelorette Party for one of Alison Barney’s best friends! It was so much fun!

Me with Morgan Alison Michelle and April 030615

Alison's group at the table 030615

I had one of the best cooking class ever with Kristee, Darlene. I got to teach Seafood Gumbo. We had a ball.

Four Ladies at the dinner table


I had one of the best cooking class ever with Kristee, Darlene. I got to teach Seafood Gumbo. We had a ball. They invited me back for a dinner for four.



They invited me back for a dinner for four.

Kristee and Darlene with Boyfriends




My lovely wife, Ella, signed me up for a craft event to sell my Crab Cakes. I had my doubts but I appreciated her support so I participated. We sold out of a hundred Crab Cakes in the first two hours and had orders for more that weekend. The director of the community center where the craft fair was held invited me back to provide Soul Food for Dr. Martin Luther Kings Jr. Day on 01/18/2016. And it looks like we will be doing other activities there too. It pays to listen to your wife.

Crab Cakes Plated

Anne Hoel has been a customer for about 6 years now. She took advantage of my Crab Cake offer during this holiday season for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Her husband even bought some for one of his clients. Thanks Anne for your continue support.

Anne and Mark Hoel Photo


I was privileged and honor to cater a wedding reception for one of my Network Of Greater Brandon group members. I loved when I get to do something new. They order a Raw Oysters Bar so I got to shuck Oysters for the first time. It was a fun experience! Thanks Laura and Randy and Laura’s parents Jim and Jean!

Laura and Randy Photo






January 1, 2016 Posted by | Events | Leave a comment

There was some great cooking at the Harrison Cooking Class tonight. 03/22/15

The Harrison’s are such a nice family. Harrison Class Kissing 032215We had a great class which there daughter purchased for them. After much discussion with Ilene, we decided on them learning my Fork Tender Beef Roast.

Ilene and me Harrison Class 032215

As many of my close friends know I don’t share this recipe; let alone teach someone how to cook it. But I did for the Harrison’s. I’m glad because they really enjoyed it.

 Me and The Harrison's Plating Dinner 032215

There daughter joined them and learned how to make the Pan Seared Salmon, another favorite. She was just as nice as her parents and did a great job cooking the Salmon.  You know she must be nice because i just don’t let anyone wear my Chef coat.

Michelle cooking her stir fry with me Harrison Class 032215

Salmon and Stir Fry Harrison Class 032215

And for dessert we had Banana Foster.

Banana Foster over Vanilla Ice Cream!

Banana Foster over Vanilla Ice Cream!

We had to change one of the ingredients and man did it turn out wonderful. I’m making it this way from now on. If you want to know the change and why it’s better, you’ll have to take my class.


Here are few highlights:


Harrison Class knife skills 032215Me Demostrating how to cut the roast Harrison 032215Louis cooking Mushroom Fries Harrison Class 032215Louis, Michelle and me Plating Harrison Class 032215


Thanks Lou and Ilene!





The Harrison's and me - Cooking Class 032215

March 23, 2015 Posted by | Cooking Class, Events, Healthy, Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

Mary’s Breakfast Cooking Class w/Me 03/21/2015

Mary is an experienced home cook and has traveled the world but she just couldn’t cook eggs. So her daughter, Allison, hired me to enlighten her about Eggs.  So I showed her Eggs Benedict.  She now knows how to make Hollandaise Sauce and Pouched Eggs.

Mary Lewinski and Me w:Eggs Benedict 032115

Eggs Benedict

She also learned a few omelets


Mary Lewinski and Tim holding Omelette 032115

Tim enjoyed the Egg. Cheese, and Mushroom Omelet

Mary w:Western Omelette 032115

Western Omelet

Mary really enjoyed learning to cook the breakfast meals and Tim enjoyed eating them.  Thanks Mary!  And Thank you Allison for thinking of Hats Off To Dining Catering, Inc.

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Breakfast, Cooking Class, Let's Talk About Food | Leave a comment

I am so “Blessed” to be honored again with the “Best of Brandon” Award! Award

You look at your body of work in a given year and you think “this past year was pretty interesting and fun” and hopefully profitable. Loving what you do is such a blessing! One of my favorite quotes is –

“Doing what you want to do is Life, and there is no real satisfaction in living if we are compelled to be forever doing something which we do not like to do and can never do what we want to do.”

Walter Wattles

That’s why I do what I do, for the love of it.  To be rewarded is really an unexpected honor. To be rewarded for the fourth year in a row, as the “Best of Brandon” is confirmation that maybe others like what you’re doing too. To all my supporters and critics, thank you. My Supporters keep me going.  My Critics keep me improving.

Thanks to my wife Ella. Thanks to my daughters, Areatha and Keandra and to my grandkids Kiyah, Tyrone and Tyree. Thanks to my crew who are also my friends Mandy Matlock, Kiana Goulh, Heather Weston, and Harold Brown.


Ironically, one of my favorite clients who is responsible for so many referrals I don’t have a photo of him.  A huge Thanks to Henderson Taylor!

Here are just a few my other clients which made this possible also.

Me and Alison 030615Mulligan Class Group Photo 022815Ross's at Stove 020815

Kiana, Darlene Green, Me, and Tonja at client's 60th Birthday Party

Kiana, Darlene Green, Me, and Tonja at client’s 60th Birthday Party



Me and Juanita Jubity 12102014

2015 Award


March 14, 2015 Posted by | Awards | Leave a comment