Nothing To Wine About!

Wine rating systemWine comes in many white and red varieties including but not limited to – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling,  Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon and is used as both a food accompaniment (enhancer) or as a flavor agent in stocks or braising. Wine has been used throughout history in various religious celebrations as well as family gatherings to bring people closer together to enjoy life and culture. Being a Private Chef I’m a lover of all wine and how it enhances the taste and flavor of food. Below are some tips on how to explore both red and white wine in your cooking techniques.

Red Wine Cooking Tip: Using red wine is a fantastic way to add depth and richness to your sauces. Start by reducing the wine to cook out the alcohol flavor. Then add other ingredients such as garlic, onions and some type of stock. Let flavors infuse by allowing to simmer for about 30 mintues. Serve over any dish to add your unique flavor profile.

White Wine Cooking Tip: Use white wine to create a fantastic butter sauce. By using the same wine you are going to serve with dinner you can add a second note of flavor by adding a splash of that same wine to your sauce, risotto, or sautéed seafood.

Health Benefits: Red wine in particular is packed full of polyphernols which have antioxidant characteristics and if consumed in moderate amounts are directly associated with decrease in cardiovascular death (heart attack) by 30-50%. Red wine also contains resveratrol which is found in the grape skins and seeds and increases the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and prevents the LDL (bad cholesterol) from forming – meaning it can help reduce blood clots or blood vessel damage caused from fat deposits . Wine has been said to reduce the risk or help with the following conditions: Cardiovascular Disease, Blood Clots, Plaque formation in the arteries, Lung Cancer (in men), and Alzhimer’s Diseases. So why not join the vine vine and enjoy a small glass of wine daily its nothing to WHINE about. Cheers to your health!


wine benefits

Image: Salvatore Vuono /



I Love Olive Oil

Olive OilOlive Oil has been consumed since before 4000BC and is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed fresh as it is i.e.  juice from pressing olives. There are a few varieties of olive oil from extra virgin to extra light, which vary on quality and  process. I’m going to share some private chef tips on when to use each type of olive oil for optimal cooking and food enhancement.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Tip: Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality because it is the least processed form and is procured from the first pressing of the olives and contains no more than .8% acidity. This type of olive oil has the most superiors taste and should be used for finishing foods such as to create salad dressing, soups, pasta, or to just enjoy bread with some balsamic. Basically you shouldn’t use Extra Virgin olive oil to cook anything as it is really a waste, it should be added before you serve a hot item or to cold preparations to enhance the food.

Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Tip: Virgin olive oil is from the second pressing of the olives and has an acidly level of less than 2%. Pure olive oil undergoes some processing such as filtering and refining which results in a product which lacks strong flavor. This type of oil should be used for sauces, or anything sauteed such as fish, or vegetables because extra virgin olive smokes when it gets to hot and burns which damages the flavor of the olive oil. Use virgin to saute items as a vehicle to enhance the other items flavor no to be the lead flavor.

Extra Light Olive Oil Tip: Light olive oil undergoes more processing and retains only a mild flavor of the olive and in some cases is even mixed with other oils. My tip is just say no to light olive oil. It doesn’t contain the same antioxidants, flavor, and isn’t lighter in calories so just seems like a waste of time to use.

Health Benefits: Olive oil has a multitude of health benefits because it is a monounsaturated fatty acid and has antioxidative properties. Studies have shown that olive oil can help fight heart disease by controlling the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while increasing the HDL “Good” cholesterol levels. All olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, however, the least processed extra virgin olive oil is the most healthy because it contains the highest levels of antioxidants, including vitamin E, carotenoids, and oleuropein which is said to strengthen the immune system. Olive oil is a healing fat and is delicate on the stomach because its easy to digest and can have positive effect on ulcers and gastritis because it activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones naturally in the body. Olive Oil has been said to reduce the risk or help with Colon Cancer, Ulcers, Gastritis, Heart Disease and Cholesterol. So substitute butter for oil and say I-love olive oil!

Olive Oil