A Night of Moroccan Inspired Cuisine + An Interview with Chef Leslie Gordon

Last night,  I was invited for an evening of amazing Moroccan inspired cuisine. Penelahpes Culinary Services held their Non-Holiday Dinner Party in the Historic West End. Established in 2004 by Chef Leslie Gordon, Penelahpes Culinary Services have been serving up “healthy gourmet” meals to some Atlanta’s most influential residents.  

Chef Gordon did not hold back in bringing her skillful hand to the table. I really loved the beautiful decorations that complemented the theme of the private event. Some of which was made by Chef Gordon!  Everything came together beautifully.

 

Let the Penelahpes Culinary Services experience begin….

Ginger Kiss

As guest arrived, they were warmly greeted with a Ginger Kiss. You can find the recipe here! It’s a great cocktail to impress your guest with.

  

Samosa served with Tomato Jam

These samosas were delicious! They were filled with perfectly seasoned potatoes inside. But what brought these delightful bites to another level was the tomato jam. So good!! Everyone wanted a jar to take home with them.

  

Thai Wheat Clams

Seriously tasty! That’s how I would describe the clams. The broth was made with one of my favorite local beers, Thai Wheat by Second Self Brewing Company. With the beer being brewed with ginger and lemongrass, and Chef Gordon adding her special Moroccan spice mix, the clams were given a very exotic flavor. 

  

Wilted Spinach Salad with Ginger Dressing

Some love was definitely put in this salad! I saw a few guests asking for seconds. 

 

Spicy Gyro Spiced Roasted Vegetables (Indian eggplant, portabello mushrooms, mixed peppers, red onions, bok choy, and love.)

I love roasted vegetables. The spices added to this melody of vegetables was superb. So on point!

  

Coconut Curry Chicken

So first of all, the chicken was so moist and tender. Like it literally fell off the bones! The coconut and curry along with some intense spice made for a unique piece of chicken. Very tasty!

  

Lemongrass and Cilantro Salmond

Jasmine Rice with Golden Raisins and Cardamon 

Another delicious plate of awesomeness! Let’s start with the Jasmine Rice. It was complemented by Cardamon and golden raisins. I could have just eaten that by itself. I loved how the golden raisins gave you a burst of sweetness ever so often. So good! The Salmond  was very flavorful. The freshness of the lemongrass and cilantro really came through.

 

Death by Chocolate Chai Cake w/ Blueberry Lemon Ginger Sauce

Amazing!!! Super moist. Extreme rich flavors. Spicy. The blueberries were rolled in Cardamon Sugar!! Yes, please! I enjoyed every bite!! I still can’t believe it was vegan! 

 

This was truly an amazing culinary experience. Every guest left with a full belly and a souvenir to remember the amazing night. A spoon necklace!! How cute is that! Some guests even got in photo booth with the chef!

  

I got a chance to interview Chef Gordon. Get to know her below!

Chef Leslie Gordon ~ Penelahpes Culinary Services

Who or what influenced you to become a chef?

I cooked my whole life. My mom always encouraged me to cook. Her support was waking up after two weeks of finals in New Orleans to get a grocery list for a holiday dinner. When I entered culinary school my dad took care of my son. I also got knocked up and needed a trade that I would enjoy. Lol!

How would describe your culinary focus? 

My culinary focus is healthy gourmet. When I cook, I just want peoples’ taste buds to explode and their bodies to wake up and feel good!

If you could cook a meal for the first family what would it be?

Um..what I cooked the other night. lol! I would cook some collard green grits and fried fish. Yum! I want some now with a nice green salad and some spicy pickles for the collards!

Name a chef you are most the inspired by and why?


Chef Deborah Berry and Chef Calavino Donati are two chefs who taught me to be creative, innovative, and don’t sweat the small stuff by being flexible and believe in your flavors. Chef Scotley taught me about techniques and he is truly a hands on chef as well. All these Chefs believe in me. 

What is your life’s motto? 

Life’s motto?  Shit…believe in my truths and love myself and don’t let nobody tell you shit!

What’s your favorite Atlanta restaurant?

I can’t say for real. I volunteer at many events and have had food from all over Atlanta. And I love it all! Plus I cook at home a lot. 

Favorite childhood dish and who made it?

My mom would make chuck roast and the leftovers would be served on a slice of white bread with mash potatoes and meat and gravy. Man that was it!!!!! It was love on a plate!!
For more information about Penelahpes Culinary Services, visit www.penelahpes.com.

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