I took a Spanish tapas cooking class a few months ago led by two talented chefs, Chef Dee Melton and Chef Gabriela Interiano from Raffinee Catering based in Los Angeles. They were informative, creative, interesting, and most of all their food was fabulous! This dynamic chef duo gave great tips and taught us simple ways to make rue, the base of macaroni and cheese sauce, spicy salmon tartar stuffed peppers, goat cheese spread, fried chickpeas, Serrano ham & Manchego cheese croquettes, and shrimp dish within 90 minutes.
Chef Dee has an extensive professional culinary background, and graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. She loves cooking and expresses, “I thrive on continuously learning and teaching others.” She has been an executive chef and leading kitchens in local restaurants in Los Angeles. She has also been a private culinary instructor, and a personal chef to celebrities. She was the head chef and catered celebrity events and countless movie premiers. She has worked for celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Melissa Ethridge, and Ringo Starr and catered wrap parties for shows like New Girl and Shameless.
Chef Gabriela’s passion for cooking initially started with her knowledge base of food product and visual perspective. Her educational background is in Event Administration specializing in Culinary Arts and Floral Design. Gabriela produces beautifully decorated displays for her events. She managed catering events throughout Los Angeles for various institutions as ESPN, UCLA, USC, Overture Films, and much more. Like Chef Dee, she catered events for stars including George Clooney, Penelope Cruz, and Cher.
The two ladies met working together at Bristol Farms. Chef Dee and Chef Gabriela realized they could combine forces and create something of their own. Over three years ago they decided to start Raffinee Catering. They develop menus and cater celebrity A-list events, private parties, fundraisers, grand openings, weddings, bridal showers, and offer group and personal cooking classes. They have taught courses at Surfas, Sur La Table, and currently at Chef’s Inc. at the corner of Pico & Veteran in Los Angeles. Additionally, both women are well traveled in Europe and Latin America, and knowledgeable of their culinary customs, cuisine, and ingredients. They offer several hands-on cooking classes with a wide range of cuisine including sushi, tapas, desserts, Italian, French, and vegetarian.
Both Chef Gabriela and Chef Dee are big on using local ingredients, and bringing infinite flavor profiles to their dishes through specialty spices and cooking oils. Chef Gabriela speaks to adding distinctive flavors together such as banana and pork, “there are no rules in cooking, for restaurants or at home—so long as the ingredients make sense, the dish can end up tasting great.” Both chefs explained the importance of keeping up with the heavy influence of the culinary media and translate that when teaching classes and working in the kitchen.
These ladies are so passionate about what they do and it is apparent that they genuinely love it! They have the ability to teach individual at different skill levels—from someone that hasn’t ever touched a stove, to working with individuals who can cook but want to expand and improve their culinary skills. Chef Dee and Chef Gabriela also have plans in the pipeline that may involve opening restaurants, and potential opportunities overseas. This dynamic chef duo is going strong and will have more surprises to unveil in the future!
Chef Gabriela and Chef Dee contribute their Holiday Spicy Garlic Shrimp, a Spanish tapa recipe (Gambas al Ajillo) over French Bread to HauteNosh. It’s easy to make and an impressive, savory dish to serve loved ones and guests for the holidays! This dish pairs well with a Spanish Rioja or Sauvignon Blanc.
If you are in the LA area looking for catering services or need to brush up on your cooking skills, consider Raffinee Catering. For information, visit their website at www.raffineecatering.com or like them on Facebook.
- 1 tsp sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2-3 oz of dry sherry
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lemon for juice (Lime juice can be substituted)
- 1 French Baguette
- In a sauté pan or heavy frying pan, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about one minute or until they begin to brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
- Raise the heat from low to medium and add the shrimp, lemon juice and paprika. Remove pan from immediate heat and add dry sherry. This step is to avoid a flambé (which is a large flame created when alcohol comes in contact with high heat). Place pan back on the heat and stir well, then sauté, stirring briskly until the shrimp turns pink and curls – about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a warm plate or serve right from the pan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with or over fresh french bread. Serve with a delicious Spanish Rioja Wine or Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy!