We recently caught up with Celebrity Chef Stuart O’Keeffe, during a Gourmet 3-Course Dinner he was hosting with Macy’s Culinary Council at Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco. Aside from treating guests to a fabulous meal (during which he did a live demo showing how each recipe was made), he also entertained us with his funny stories, interesting anecdotes, and helpful cooking tips.
To inspire you to enjoy cooking and the art of entertaining, in today’s Entertaining Guide, Chef Stuart O’Keeffe shares his gourmet cooking tips, a decadent dessert recipe, and a Foodie Giveaway for an autographed copy of his popular cookbook, The Quick Six Fix.
About Chef Stuart O’Keeffe
With his charming Irish accent and effervescent personality, it’s easy to see why Stuart O’Keeffe has risen to celebrity chef status. Since landing in Los Angeles about 10 years ago, he’s since become a television regular, making appearances on Extra TV, Food Network’s Chopped, CBS’s The Talk, The Home and Family Show, and more.
We’ve even heard the buzz that there might be an exciting television project airing on the Food Network featuring him. So keep your eyes peeled (pun intended)!
I&C: How did you get started in your culinary career?
I grew up cooking with my Mom and loved it. So I went to Culinary Arts College in Dublin for four-years after high school and absolutely fell in love with it. One of my favorite classes was Larder (which is butchering), but we didn’t get enough people to sign-up, so they canceled the class, and I ended up majoring in pastries in the end. I knew pastry was more complex, so I really wanted to learn the ins-and-outs of that.
I&C: What was your experience like living in Napa Valley?
When I moved to the States, I moved to Napa Valley, where I lived for two years before moving to Los Angeles. While I was there, I worked at Meadowood Napa Valley for about 18 months. It was amazing! I had never lived in America in my entire life, so when I went to St. Helena, it had a really nice smalltown feel. So I felt really comfortable there.
I&C: How has living in California influenced your cooking style?
Everything is pretty much always in season here, so it’s easy to come up with different dishes. I get a lot of inspiration when I go out to eat, and then I think about how I can put an Irish twist on it.
When I worked at The Grill at Meadowood, there was a cheese called Humboldt Fog that I fell in love with. It gets its name from Humboldt Bay when the fog rolls in. It’s a beautiful goat cheese; a bit acidic, with a nice tang to it. It gets stronger as it goes to the rind and it has a beautiful ash that goes through it too. So, visually, it’s really pretty too.
Gourmet Cooking Tips from Chef Stuart O’Keeffe
I&C: What are your tips on making gourmet-looking food at home?
- I’m a fan of a big white plate, even if you just have a starter salad on it. If there’s more negative space around the food, it makes it look like you know what you’re doing.
- Make sure to wipe your plate before you serve your dish, so it looks cleaner.
- When you can get edible flowers, that can be nice too, just make sure to take the petals off first.
- Garnish with microgreens.
- Stack your food.
I&C: How do you cook healthy, flavorful meals at home?
When I’m cooking at home, I go easy on the oils but still use seasonings. I’ll eat a ton of vegetables and protein, but go light on the carbs and super-starchy foods, especially at night. Like – a quarter cup of brown rice would go with salmon, or chicken and vegetables. For lunch, I like to make a nice Spinach salad with tomatoes, red onion, chicken or shrimp. I try to keep the starchy or sugary carbohydrates to a minimum.
I&C: What is your cookbook The Quick Six Fix about?
The focus of my cookbook is simple eating at home, with minimal ingredients and easy clean-up, and prepared in a short amount of time. I want to help people cook less in the kitchen and spend more time eating it.
I&C: What are some of your favorite recipes in your cookbook?
Some of my favorite recipes in the book are the Pistachio Salmon, the Creme Fraiche Chicken, and the Cioppino (which is great for Spring and Summer).
Fun Tidbits from Chef Stuart O’Keeffe
I&C: If you weren’t a celebrity chef, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be creative, like doing graphics or working at an advertising company.
I&C: Tell us something we wouldn’t otherwise know about you.
I’m an avid tennis player.
I&C: What inspires you to create recipes?
If I see something (like a chocolate cake on the cover of Bon Appétit), I just get inspired to make it. Sometimes I’ll see things on Instagram or in Tasty videos, which makes me want to re-create it, but in a unique and different way.
If you want to whip up a decadent dessert that’s as scrumptious as it is beautiful, then you need to try Stuart’s delicious dessert recipe below. His Black & White Croissant Bread Pudding is what foodie dreams are made of.
Stuart’s Dessert Recipe: Black and White Croissant Bread Pudding
Prep time: 6 Minutes
Cooking time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 5 people
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 medium eggs plus 3 additional yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar plus 1 tbsp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 one-day-old croissants (or fresh is fine too)
- 5 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (70% cacao)
- 5 oz. white chocolate chips
- 1 whipped cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Butter the bottom of a 9 x 5 x 3-inch baking dish with your hands.
In a large bowl, whisk whole eggs and yolks, cream, and milk with the ½ cup brown sugar and vanilla extract.
Tear up croissants and mix with egg mixture until well combined.
Spoon half of the egg croissant mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with dark and white chocolate chips, top with more egg croissant mixture, and finish with remaining chocolate. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Remove from oven. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream.
Chef Stuart O’Keeffe’s Foodie Giveaway
To inspire you to get in (and out) of the kitchen, while enjoying the process of cooking, we’re excited to collaborate with Stuart on The Foodie Giveaway. If you’d love to win an autographed copy of Chef Stuart O’Keeffe’s cookbook, The Quick Six Fix, then enter The Foodie Giveaway hosted by Inspirations & Celebrations.
In The Quick Six Fix, Stuart shares 100 delicious recipes for breakfast, salads, soups, pasta, fish, chicken, pork, beef, sides, and desserts that will get you in and out of the kitchen in thirty minutes or less. Each requires no more than 6 key ingredients, 6 minutes of prep work, and 6 minutes of clean up. Tasty and easy? Sign us up!
To enter The Foodie Giveaway, follow the easy entry instructions listed below.
To learn more about Chef Stuart O’Keeffe and his tasty recipes, check out his website TastyBites.net.