Table Etiquette

Written by Jacob. Posted in Uncategorized

Good basic table manners are important because they ensure that both guests and hosts are comfortable at the table. Table manners are mostly common sense. Following these will carry you through most common situations from Formal Dinners to a night of poker with the guys.


Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than absolutely essential!

Do not sit until everyone is ready to be seated.

Do not put your elbows on the table or sit too far back or lounge.

Do not talk loud or boisterously.

Be cheerful in conduct and conversation.

If possible, never cough or sneeze at the table.

Do not speak with your mouth full.

Chew quietly and try not to slurp.

Taking small bites will help you with the two previous rules!

Never indicate that you notice anything unpleasant in the food.

Do not break your bread into the soup or mix with gravy. It is bad taste to mix food on the plate.

Keep fork in the left hand and knife in the right hand.

Never leave the table before the rest of the family or guests without asking the host or hostess to excuse you.

Eat soup with the side of the spoon, without noise.

If a dish is presented to you, serve yourself first and then pass it on to your right.

Never overload the plate when serving others.

Never make a great display when removing hair, insects or other disagreeable things from your food. Place them quietly under the edge of your plate.

Break your bread rather than cut it.

If you prefer, take up asparagus with the fingers. Olives and artichokes are also so eaten.

If a course is set before you that you do not wish, do not touch it.

When passing salt, pass the pepper as well.

Use a napkin only for your mouth. Never use it for your nose, face or forehead.

Eat at a leisurely pace.

Don’t reach for things but rather ask that they be passed to you.

Compliment the cook!

10 Ways to Be a Good Guest

Written by Jacob. Posted in Uncategorized

As often as we are the host or hostess at a party, we are also in the role of being the guest. It’s easy when you’re the guest to feel like you have little responsibility for the success of the party. But if you’d like to be a guest who is always invited back for the next party, here are tips to make you the kind of good guest who is welcome at anybody’s table!


1.Respond to your invitation as soon as you know (and no later than the stated RSVP date) whether or not you can attend the party. That way your host can make plans knowing the exact number of guests who will be attending.


2. Ask if you can contribute anything to the meal such as an appetizer, side dish or dessert. The host may be relieved to have someone take charge of one of the courses for her. However, do not just bring a dish without running it by your hosts. They may be making something very similar already or your dish may clash with a carefully planned menu. Similarly, if you bring a bottle of wine as a host gift, you shouldn’t expect it to be served with the meal. The hostess may already have selected the wines to complement the meal.


3. Not a cook? Then offer to bring a table or buffet centerpiece. Once again, don’t bring this if your host has declined the offer as there may already be a specific decorating scheme planned.


4. If you have the time, offer to come a little earlier than the other guests to help with pre-party setup. But if your offer is accepted, don’t be late-your host will becounting on you.


5. Arrive at a dinner party on time. Some hostesses plan the timing of their meals very precisely, and you wouldn’t want to hold up the meal and spoil the food for everyone else.


6. When the meal is over, ask your hostess if you can help clear the table. But if the answer is “no thanks”, then just relax and leave things alone. The host may not wish for everyone to feel rushed as their plates are taken from them mid-bite.


7. If you see the host frantically cleaning in the kitchen after the meal is over, offer to help.


8. Do your part to be friendly and make conversation with other guests. You’re part of the chemistry that will make the party a success.


9. Don’t raise a conversation topic that you know will cause dissension among that particular group of guests.


10. Drink responsibly. Your host may be serving alcoholic beverages to complement the meal, but it doesn’t mean everyone should become a sloppy drunk by the end of the party. Nor does the host want any of the guests to be hit with a DWI violation, or worse, on their way home.

Spring 2006 Newsletter

Written by Jacob. Posted in Uncategorized

With the arrival of Spring it’s time to shake off those winter blahs and turn our focus to the great outdoors. With the sun shining stronger each day, the memory of backyard BBQ’s will be a reality before you can say . . . crudités!

Springtime is also a great time to start planning your summer celebrations-weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, and family gatherings of all kinds. I am fantastic at keeping secrets so why not let me help plan that surprise party!

Perhaps you’d like to host an office party where staff can gather outside around a fantastic BBQ or perhaps a garden party? I have some terrific menu ideas full of scrumptious dishes we could serve to your guests. I can also arrange to rent all the necessary equipment and dishes—whatever you need!

Dial a Chef is for sale to the highest bidder! One lucky bidder will have the opportunity to purchase my services on March 23rd during the Annual Celebrity Chef’s Auction at the Canada Aviation Museum. From 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in support of the Canadian Arthritis Society.

Looking for an afternoon of entertainment? Why not plan to invite a few friends over, open a bottle of wine and sit back and allow me to share some of my trade secrets? I can come to your home and teach you how to prepare some of your favourite foods. It is a demonstration class that culminates with a taste for everyone-a fun way to enjoy a rainy Sunday afternoon!




Nestled in the Cultural Heart of the Rideau just three minutes from Merrickville, CREATIVA is a charming little retreat village, specializing in the inspiration and celebration of creativity through retreats, workshops and special events.

CREATIVA is a friendly, non-denominational centre, which is also available to small groups (up to 14 people) who are looking for a quiet, private and intimate space to gather overnight. The centre is perfect for workshops, learning retreats, business meetings, small weddings (a licensed marriage officiant is available) and family gatherings.

CREATIVA is just a 45-minute drive from downtown Ottawa.
To reserve, please contact Evelyn at (613) 269-2545 or



Coming from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus, it takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound which explains why it is the world’s most expensive spice.



  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 5 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 whole chicken (3
  • 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • (cut into 8 pieces)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 7 oz. jar roasted sliced
  • 1/2 t. crushed saffron threads pimentos with juice
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lb. large uncooked shrimp
  • 1 lb cleaned squid, bodies peeled and deveined cut into 1/2” rings
  • 1 dozen clams, scrubbed
  • 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed and debearded


Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Set aside. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pot and cook over medium heat until brown, about 7 minutes per side. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot. Add chopped onions and garlic to pot and sauté until beginning to brown, scraping up any browned bits, about 10 minutes. Stir in rice, roasted pimientos with juices and saffron. Add clam juice and chicken stock to pot and bring mixture to simmer. Remove from heat. Pour rice mixture into 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange chicken, shrimp, squid, clams and mussels in rice mixture. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and peas. Cover with foil. Bake paella until chicken is cooked through, clams and mussels open and rice is tender, about 45 minutes (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Remove foil from baking dish. Let paella stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Enjoy!

As always, I look forward to cooking for you!

Erick Le Pors

Fall/Winter 2005 Newsletter

Written by Jacob. Posted in Uncategorized

In 1992 when I had the brilliant idea to set up Dial-A-Chef, my intention was to provide culinary information, cooking tips and recipes via the telephone!! I must say things have changed quite a bit since then and very few of you call me for advice. What was supposed to be a paid service is now available for free. Don’t be shy – call me anytime with any of your culinary questions!

Bravo to the many who planned ahead and already booked their 2005 Christmas Party. I still have a few dates available and I’d be happy to help make your celebration a smashing success! Whether you chose an intimate dinner party at home or a banquet for the whole office, let me help youentertain this Christmas.

Perhaps you are already thinking about next summer. Why not reserve the Rockcliffe Park Gazebo for your party or special event? Rain or shine the show can go on and it’s free of charge! They do have a waiting list so book now for your summer reception.

Not enough dishes, tables and chairs? I can arrange to have whatever you need delivered to your door and picked up the day after your special event—hassle free!

Speaking of hassle free, I know many people are too busy to shop, especially as the Christmas season approaches. Why not enlist the services of Craig Richardson from Select Personal Services. You can view the services offered at


– Caterers use a fairly standard formula to figure out the number of appetizers required from each recipe. Twelve pieces per person times the number of people divided by the number of appetizers. When appetizers are being served before a full dinner, you can divide the total in half. If your guest list has fewer than 45 people, plan on using six different appetizers; for more than 45 guests, use eight types. The rule of thumb for smaller gatherings is that three types are suitable for eight to ten guests and four or five for 14 to 16 people. An equal number of hot and cold foods is also helpful so that while one appetizer is heating in the oven, a cold one can be circulating keeping everyone happily nibbling!

If you are not afraid of calories, you will love this recipe. It is rich and decadent and wonderful for the holidays!

Chocolate Marquise

1 square genoise 145 g dark chocolate
7 egg yolks 200 g sugar
300 g melted butter 160 g powdered bitter cocoa
500 g whipping cream
Melt the chocolate in a bain Marie. Whip up the whipping cream. Whisk the egg yolk with the sugar until pale and thick. Add the melted chocolate and better. Mix well. Add the whipped cream and the cocoa. Mix. Mold in a pan coated with baking paper. Put a layer of genoise and then a layer of chocolate. Another layer of genoise and again chocolate. Cover with a sheet of baking paper. Leave it to set overnight. Serve with custard. Magnificent!!

Christmas Check Lists

Written by Jacob. Posted in Uncategorized

The Christmas Party Planner

Two to four months ahead

Date of party: _________________________________
Time (starting/ending) __________________________
Place: ________________________________________

Call your caterer (Dial-A-Chef, of course!) to book the date


Three to four weeks ahead:

Choose a theme

Meet with caterer to create menu

Finalize guest list

Post invitations

Plan and select decorations

Arrange for music

Choose the perfect outfit

Arrange rental of chairs, linens, dishes, etc.

Two Weeks ahead:

Confirm guest list and give final numbers and seating arrangements to your caterer

One Week ahead

Relax because Dial-A-Chef will take care of everything! 



Christmas the Easy Way Check List


Evaluate your Christmas gift-giving list

Make your own Christmas list

Set up a photo shoot to have a family Christmas photo taken



Order gifts

Order Christmas stamps



Start your Christmas cards or letters

Compose your Christmas letter or

Purchase Christmas Cards

Address envelopes

Put stamps on

Put return labels on

Stuff envelopes

Enclose Christmas photo

Mail your Christmas cards or letters

Begin to wrap Christmas presents

Put up outdoor Christmas decorations


Finish wrapping presents

Do Christmas baking

Decorate Christmas tree

Be thankful!

The Setting

The Food

The People


  • P.O box 527
    Kemptville, ON, K0G1J0