MEET THE SEASONED CHEF TEAM MEMBER… LITSA MONSELL!
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 began her love of food while working in the travel/tourism industry. She and her husband Marshall ventured off to live in Greece just 10 day after they were married – and they stayed there for 12 years!
While living as a local in Greece, she started as a tour guide on the island of Naxos. Two years into their Greek adventure, they decided to switch gears and owned and operated Papagalos Restaurant for the following decade. It’s a 110 seating restaurant where they had over 22 dishes for vegetarians to choose from on the menu.
They finally decided to return to the States when their son Alexander (now 26) was in 1st grade. When they returned to the US, Litsa resumed working in travel, while Marshall continued to work in the food business and they jointly continued to cater events. They continue to love food and enjoy being a part of every piece of the food industry!
1) WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JOIN THE SEASONED CHEF AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PART OF THE BUSINESS?
My husband Marshall and I continue to cater events in the local Denver area. A few years back, we hired Jodie and Mike (two other Seasoned Chef team members) to work with us for one of our events While at the event, Jodie asked if I was interested in the role, to which I jumped at the opportunity!
2) 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 to have all of our clients confident with their cooking capabilities when they leave our classes and events – and I simplify their experience so they can focus on the learning and cooking. From passing by and saying “Claw” to “May I take this out of your way?,” I make sure that their experience is seamless and fun!
3) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WORKING AT THE SEASONED CHEF?
I love that I continue to get the same restaurant feeling of “let the show begin” before every class and event. It’s such an exciting industry to be a part of everyday! I love working with people, and that’s exactly what I get to do.
4) TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE.
Baklava is an absolutely delicious, Greek sweet treat. This specific version, made to taste of walnut and honey, is sure to please every palette.
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 Tbsp. 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
1-1/2 sticks butter, melted
1-8 oz. package phyllo
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.
Pour syrup over top and let stand until syrup is absorbed.
Serve and enjoy!