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JAM Gourmet Foods and Catering

JAM Gourmet Foods and Catering

A Chef’s Epicurean Spin on Fresh California Cuisine

JAM Gourmet Foods and CateringJAM, Gourmet Foods and Catering is the inspiration of Executive Chef, Jennifer Mullen.  Offering a fresh selection of gourmet food created with the highest quality of local and organic ingredients, Mullen believes in eating healthy that tastes good.  Having previously worked as a private chef and caterer for years as Malibu Gourmet, Mullen launched JAM in 2007 towards her dream to expand into a storefront.  “JAM’s food will fulfill all of your epicurean desires yet make you feel like you just sat down at your grandmother’s kitchen table.”  Mullen is well versed in vegetarian and organic cooking. Since she needed to establish herself on the internet and the name Malibu Gourmet was taken, she opted for a different name under JAM.  She wanted to continue with JAM as a private chef and catering business.  “I am inspired by all the wonderful foods California has to offer and the warm, comfortable feeling we all get from a lovingly prepared meal,” Mullen shares.  She has since established a name for herself and her business as she also has celebrity clients.

Mullen initially trained to be a vegan chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City but has since broadened her horizons to include all preparation styles.  Her past experience before starting her own business includes traditional and vegetarian sous chef, pastry chef, and manager of a specialty food store.  Now located in Rancho Santa Fe, California, Mullen possesses over ten years of experience as a personal chef and caterer in Boston and West Los Angeles.  She has developed a unique style of cooking for traditional non-vegetarian and vegetarian alike, as well as sweet and savory baking.  JAM does feature seasonal items on her menu as her sample catering menu changes seasonally.  As a chef for catering events, Mullen prepares food in a client’s kitchen.      

JAM Gourmet Foods and CateringTo start, the perfect seasonal appetizer that is sure to be a hit at the party are the Grilled Scallops and Artichokes with Romesco Vinaigrette.  The sliced artichokes are tender and juicy as they are grilled perfectly giving it that slight sear crust, accentuating the rich nutty taste of the artichokes.  The romesco sauce, made of finely chopped almonds, nuts and a variety of small red bell peppers, is light and satisfying with its crunchy texture and bright flavor.  The highlight of the dish are the scallops, executed flawlessly with some char on the outside while keeping the inside succulent and tender.  These scallops do not disappoint as they are opaque in JAM Gourmet Foods and Cateringcolor with good texture and light, refreshing, and flavorful in every bite.  Another delicious appetizer are her Avocado and Fresh Corn Salad in Lettuce Cups.  Light and refreshing, this summer salad features diced avocado, cucumbers, sweet corn, and seasonings tossed in a tangy orange champagne vinaigrette.  The natural texture of the avocados gives this salad a creamy and buttery consistency while the cucumbers add a nice crunch. This salad atop lettuce cups is a healthy and satisfying appetizer or snack, great for poolside or outdoor entertaining.  JAM offers a fabulous Cheese and Salami Board that features a delightful selection of pepper crusted salami, flatbread crisps, various cheeses, along with homemade bumpy mustard and peach compote.

JAM Gourmet Foods and CateringSalad dressings are another specialty that Mullen masters as her vinaigrettes and dressings are light yet robust.  We loved the Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette, made of olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar.  Tossed with her simple yet delicious Tomato and Arugula Salad with Feta cheese, pine nuts and lemon, this is definitely a winner.  This fresh salad of arugula, halved cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and pine nuts offers great contrasting flavors and textures.  The peppery aroma of the baby arugula balanced nicely with the citrus from the cherry tomatoes and creamy feta.  While some find brussel sprouts unappetizing, Mullen’s version of roasted brussel sprouts are so good that they will win over even the biggest unbeliever.  Her Roasted Baby Brussel Sprouts with Herb and Caper Gremolata are flavorful, light, and aromatic.  The herb and caper gremolata accents beautifully when tossed and roasted with the brussel sprouts, giving it subtle tartness.  Roasted for the perfect finish, the brussel sprouts are tender to the bite with immense flavor. 

JAM Gourmet Foods and CateringThe Open Faced Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Grilled Multi-Grain Bread are healthy and light.   Diced white tender chicken breast tossed in a lemon-tarragon dressing with halved red grapes is savory and perfect atop the grilled bread with olive oil.  Mullen named her line JAM as it is an acronym meaning something created, comforting, simple yet complex, homemade and delicious.  She says, “It turned into being a description of how I cook and how I like to relate to my clients.”  Mullen makes a mean Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese as she knows how to conjure up a creamy and flavorful cheese roux that is then baked with pasta and topped with breadcrumbs.  The creamy texture underneath the light layer of toasted breadcrumbs is just enough while its cheese flavor from the blend of cheddar, Monterey jack, and Gorgonzola stands out.  We like this dish because it offers all the goodness that comfort food should without being greasy or oily. 

When it comes to her specialties and most popular items, her husband attests that her Short Ribs and Banana Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling and Ganache top the list.  While each client seems to have favorites, she gets a lot of request in the summer for BBQ spare ribs, chicken enchiladas, plank grilled salmon with sherry vinegar and honey, and Grilled Shrimp with lemon zest and either pesto or a homemade cocktail sauce.  Guacamole is always a must and her desserts are always a big hit.  “As I said, it really depends on the taste of the client,” she shares.  As for her personal favorites, Mullen adds, “My favorites change with what I am into at the time.  Right now I have been making a lemon pepper pasta that is simple and satisfying and rubbing chicken thighs with Moroccan spice paste served with grilled peach salsa.”  She also really likes grilling shrimp and serving it with black rice, kale and saffron aioli and topping it off with any chocolate dessert or a fruit crisp with homemade ice cream.

JAM Gourmet Foods and Catering Made with only a few simple ingredients, the Rustic Goat Cheese Tart could easily become a weekly indulgence.  A generous layer of creamy goat, ricotta, and variety cheese blend is wrapped in dough as its edges form the crust of the tart and bake to solidify its goodness.  The creamy goat cheese is absolutely fabulous with the homemade baked pastry crust. The Braised Short Ribs with Italian White Beans are as good as those that you would find at a high-end restaurant.  The tender braised beef in wine and port, with thyme, parsley and herbs, falls right off the bones as the shreds are flavorful and soft.  Not dry or bland, the perfect layer of fat adds a nice touch.  The white beans are tender and seasoned with the beef ragu, absorbing all the rich goodness from the braising.  Tender, falling apart at the seams with robust flavor and richness says it all.

JAM stands apart from other gourmet catering lines because they try to maintain relationships with clients by getting to know them and their specific needs as well as keeping ingredients as local and organic as possible.  “I will always work with a possible client to be sure they are getting what they ask for and within a budget that works for them.  Don't know if this is different, but I like to think I am easy to work with and don't have too much ego,” Mullen adds.  In five years, she hopes to see JAM working out of a commercial kitchen catering and/or making prepared items or opening her dream storefront.  In the meantime, she loves coming up with creations to make her clients happy.  For catering or meals, visit jamgourmet.com

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