This series highlights our amazing team members at The Seasoned Chef and The Gourmet Spoon. In this series, each member will also highlight their favorite recipe, along with the story of how it became important in their lives. The heart of the home is always in the kitchen.
Meet Litsa Monsell!
Litsa has always been involved in the travel and tourism industry.
She and her husband Marshall adventured off to live in Greece for 12 years just ten days after they were married. Starting off as a tour guide on Naxos, they owned and operated a restaurant called Papagalos Restaurant for ten of their 12 years on the island. (Papagalos is a 110 seating restaurant where they had over 22 tasty vegetarian dishes on the menu.)
Litsa and Marshall returned to the States as a larger family when their son Alexander (now 26) was in 1st grade. Moving home, Litsa resumed working in travel, while Marshall continued to work in the food business, as well as both working together to cater a wide variety of events.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JOIN THE SEASONED CHEF AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PART OF THE BUSINESS?
Marshall and I continue to cater to this day. As luck would have it, we hired Jodie and Mike (two other team members here at The Seasoned Chef) to work an event and Jodie asked if I was interested. I join the team almost immediately!
WHAT ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR AT THE SEASONED CHEF? WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I do everything that is necessary to make the client’s experience a positive and fun time. My goal is create an experience where everyone in class becomes confident with their cooking capabilities, and I help that experience to run smoothly. From passing by and saying, “Claw” or “May I take this out of your way,” I love that each day is different, fast-paced and that I can see our client’s eyes light up as they learn throughout the class.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WORKING AT THE SEASONED CHEF?
That I get the same restaurant feeling of… “let the show begin!” Working with people is so rewarding and inspiring every day.
Tell us about your favorite recipe
Baklava is a sweet treat that is very familiar, thanks to my love of Greek culture. This Walnut and Honey version hits the spot every time.
WALNUT AND HONEY BAKLAVA
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 Tbs. rosewater
- 2 cups walnuts
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch salt
- 1-1/2 sticks butter, melted
- 1-8 oz. package phyllo
- (In advance, if possible) Simmer syrup ingredients 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Spread walnuts and almonds on a baking sheet and toast at 350° for 5 to 8 minutes, or until light golden brown and fragrant. Let cool, then pulse (in batches) in a food processor until finely chopped. Combine with remaining filling ingredients.
- Using 1/3 of phyllo sheets at a time place a sheet, folded in half, in a 9 by 13 pan. Brush with butter, repeat with remaining sheets.
- Spread 1/2 of nut mixture over top, drizzle with butter.
- Repeat with next layer ending with phyllo, brush top with butter.
- Cut with sharp knife into 24 pieces. Bake at 400° until golden, 30 minutes.
Did you know…
If you’re interested in learning more about international cooking and baking, we have a class coming up that is sure to peak your fancy. French Macarons are the perfect, melt-in-your-mouth treat. And you can easily make them in your own kitchen!