A Stint with Chef Ire Evans in Denver

Posted by OmarTarakiNiodeFoundation
22 October 2017 | blogpost

Image: Ire Evans

I enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes and food plating. However, never in wildest dreams did I think that someday I would be learning from a personal chef in the United States and staying in her house for 10 days.

The golden opportunity came last March when Mariza Hamid, a good friend, and I were accepted to attend the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Denver led by US Vice President, Al Gore. Mariza who went to school there was very excited to go back to Denver, the city she called her second home, and to meet Ire Evans, her best college friend.

Personal Chef

Ire who has been living in Denver for almost three decades is now a well-known personal chef in Greater Denver Area, and owner of the Green Cuisine.  It is a unique service providing customers with healthy, preservative-free and family friendly meals that are customized and prepared in the convenience of their own homes.

 Image: Ire Evans

Ire and her husband Doug welcomed us in their beautiful house with the largest home kitchen I have ever seen, with premium-grade appliances. She has been cooking since she was a little girl living in Indonesia, learning from her aunts who own a bakery and catering company and watching her grandmother cook. She always looked forward to preparing culinary delights for her parents and their friends.

 Image: Ire Evans

Getting married and staying home with her two young children made Ire realized how difficult it is to have a healthy and busy lifestyle. She decided to hone her cooking skills professionally by enrolling in the Culinary Business Academy and getting a certificate to establish her Personal Chef Service. Later on Ire entered an Apprenticeship Program with American Culinary Federation to become a Certified Sous Chef.

Green Cuisine

Since Mariza and I admirably watched how Ire worked with knifes she eventually taught us knife skills, the basic knowledge for aspiring chefs.. Whenever there was time to spare, coming home from sessions at the Climate Reality Leadership Training, Ire shared her recipes and we cooked a number of dishes, including Tiramisu, a scrumptious Italian dessert. One day Doug surprised us by making fluffy pancakes with maple syrup for our breakfast.

Once in a while, after we finished the training, we went grocery shopping where Ire bought fresh ingredients for clients that vary from families to individuals. Green Cuisine offers a range of services, including menu planning for entrees and side dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, packaging and clean up. Some clients would like to cook for themselves, hence Ire will create the menu, do the grocery shopping, provide the recipes, and prepare the ingredients.

One satisfied client says in her testimonial: "Ire is one of the best cooks I’ve ever met! I work and go to school full time, and I have no time to cook. Ire has made my husband’s and my life so much easier, plus we save money!"

 Image: Ire Evans

Ire enjoys giving In-Home Cooking Classes for adults and children. The classes are designed based on specific needs, either ingredients, cuisines, or styles of cooking. Ire explains that not only is cooking fun, but healthy food can taste good too. Ire’s passion in children education earned her a "Parent Hero Award" from Action for Healthy Kids Colorado.

Indonesian Dinner

Ire can also arrange plated dinners up to 20 people for private parties, and buffets up to 50 people. We witnessed her prowess when meticulously preparing an Indonesian Dinner for 20 guests in her house based on the suggestion from Amanda Niode, the Chair of Omar Niode Foundation.

Mariza and I assisted Ire in all the process. Some ingredients can be bought days ahead in the Asian Market, namely tempeh, tofu, frozen grated coconut and petai (stinky beans). To maintain freshness, we bought other ingredients in a grocery store nearby on dinner day such as fish, shrimp, halal meat, corn, basil-like leaves, and ornamental flowers.

While assisting Ire, we intently observed how a personal chef prepared an elaborate dinner and admired her calmness as there was so much to prepare. When it came time for dinner, we were successful in setting the following dishes for the guests:

  • Sambal goreng udang pete (spicy shrimp and stinky beans)
  • Tahu dan tempe goreng (fried tofu and tempeh)
  • Binthe Biluhuta (Gorontalo traditional corn soup)
  • Sayur asam (vegetables in tamarind soup)
  • Ikan bakar (grilled fish)
  • Daging gepuk goreng (sweet fried beef)
  • Sambal (chili condiment)
  • Steamed rice.

Desserts started with durians, the king of fruits that smell strange and taste like garlic and caramel poured into whipped cream. One definitely needs an acquired taste to enjoy durians. Another dessert was Es Teler, literally translated as drunken ice, but is actually a bowl of mixed fruits with syrup.

Seeing how Ire worked in our 10 days in Denver as well as experienced how good her food is, it is no wonder that she was listed on the Top 17 of Personal Chefs in Denver by Expertise, a hub where qualified experts can connect with people to share their knowledge, experience, and skills.

I am beyond words in gratitude for the opportunity and hospitality offered by Chef Ire Evans and wish her the best of luck for future endeavors.

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As told by Dian Anggraini.