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Private Dining

Professional Restaurant Chef for Hire

Urban Homesteader

Pickler, Preserver, Canner

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."

- James Beard

July 3, 2018

I don't know if you're aware, but it gets really hot in Texas. We have about 3 weeks of spring, and then we're talking 106F by the beginning of June. There have been some legendary summers where temperatures were in triple digits for 3 months straight.... at least that...

October 21, 2017

If you’ve never had Tasso before, it probably means that you don’t live anywhere near the south. Before visiting New Orleans and moving to Texas, I had only heard about it in Emeril recipes, always to be followed by the obligatory asterisk – “*if Tasso is unavailable,...

October 20, 2017

A couple years ago my mom gave me a package that included a bunch of cooking tools that I remember from her kitchen when I was a kid; I subsequently found out they were from my grandmother’s. These pieces still get great use in my kitchen, and will take up residence in...

October 10, 2017

We all know what leeks are: the perfect mild blend of their cousins, garlic and onion. They’ve been part of our diet since somewhere around 2000 BC in Egypt and they’re one of the official emblems of Wales (wearing one on your helmet in battle identifies you as a fello...

August 9, 2017


The great thing about a well designed snack is you can use it as an appetizer, amuse bouche, small plate etc. for guests or a dinner party. This is a great example of one of those eat-at-home-alone or dress-it-up-for-guests snacks.

This little b...

August 9, 2017

April and May (occasionally a bit of the beginning of June) is the season of the fiddlehead ferns: the unfurled fronts of the Ostrich Fern, which - once opened - is one of those "super carginogen" to the point of being almost poisonous. This shouldn't scare you off, th...

August 9, 2017

Black cod, also called Butterfish (which is extremely appropriate, given its texture) or Sablefishd, and the is the less expensive, but just as good, cut from the gills and throat bits.

It’s sorta funky looking at first, but once cooked, it’s a pretty attractive meal. 


August 8, 2017

Every trip I take south of the border, I am reminded how diverse Mexico is, and how much I love all of it.

Until this trip, my adult time in Mexico had been spent Guadalajara and south – I’ve experienced Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Chiapas. As a ch...

August 8, 2017

Manzanas are often times called “rocoto peppers” or “locoto”, depending on the region you’re in. Biologically they are different, but in terms of practicality, they’re really the same. Rocotos are more red, while Manzanas have a vibrant orange color like habaneros, wit...

April 6, 2016

Gardening in central Texas is great – and such a change from trying to grow anything in northern California! Here it’s hot, it’s humid, Spring is at least a month of heavy rain alternating with hot sunny days – basically, a little heaven on Earth for all those fruits a...

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October 21, 2017

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Chef Allyson Beth Menter

Global travel,  10+ years of professional experience, passion for creating joy through food, and an honest love for taking care of our Earth and of its residents through fresh, local and sustainably produced products. This is what makes me the chef I am.

I'm always willing to try anything once, and I don't think there's ever been something put in front of me that I won't at least try a bite of. (Maybe stinky tofu....) This kind of exploration guides me to unique ingredients and new takes on classic dishes.


I've been honored to be a featured guest and chef on NPR's  Bay Area epiosde on food and community, Mind of a Chef with Chef Chris Cosentino and Chef April Bloomfield as well as awarded for my vegetarian banh mi. The biggest achievement of my career, though, is being able to inspire and cook for those who find true joy in food!



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