Holiday Cooking Tips from BO-beau's Chef Katherine Humphus

December 17, 2013

As many of us know, cooking a big feast for the family can be one of the most enjoyable part of the holidays but it can also be one of the most stressful.  With so many things to keep in mind and so much that can go wrong, it’s important to come up with a game plan to put you at ease when your guests arrive at the door.  Executive Chef Katherine Humphus of BO-beau kitchen + bar is no stranger to cooking for large crowds.  From her years of experience, she’s rounded up a list of expert tips to help your readers put their worries aside and go into the kitchen more confident than ever this time around.
Chef Humphus -- who worked under highly acclaimed chef Thomas Keller of internationally notable The French Laundry and previously distinguished herself at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France with Le Grand Diplome in Cuisine and Pastry - provides her helpful hints on holiday cooking.

1) Dedicate a "prep" day. Look at all the recipes you will be using and dedicate a day to slicing, dicing and measuring. You will be amazed at how fast the recipe will take to assemble once you have everything measured out and ready to go! You can chop vegetables and save them in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator a few days in advance. You can measure out your liquids and dry goods and save them in tupperware. By the time the day of rolls around, you can pretend like you have your very own TV show by simply just throwing things together and screaming "bam!"

2) Have a variety of foods that are tasty when served hot, room temperature and cold.  Sometimes the most stressful part of a holiday is the timing - making sure it all comes out hot. Plan your menu so that you have an assortment of dishes - hot, room temperature and cold -  to cut back on the stress of timing. Example - grilled vegetable quinoa salad is great at room temperature!

3) Use recipes you are comfortable with and have made before. Extra confidence goes a long way!

4) Create a cocktail for the evening so you dont have to play bartender.  This is a simple way to wow your guests and allow you more time for mingling.

5) Warming your plates in the microwave is a great way to impress the crowds. You can warm five plates at a time for one minute and a half.

6) Taste along the way. Use disposable spoons to taste test everything before you begin to serve. You will be so glad you did!

While residing in Paris, France, Chef Katherine Humphus cultivated her personal creativity, while mastering the classic, yet intricate French cooking techniques that continue to inspire her today. Humphus’ culinary background draws from a diverse mix of cultures and worldly experiences. Her extensive cooking credentials span the United States and dip into international regions across the globe.

A native San Diegan, Humphus was lured into the culinary world when her passion for fine cuisine was recognized at an early age. While working at the Prado in Balboa Park, Humphus’ zeal was instantly sparked. A mere two years later, she had distinguished herself at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France with Le Grand Diplome in Cuisine & Pastry. Chef Katherine also attended Le Cordon Bleu’s Wine & Spirits Program completing multiple courses in wine education.  “I loved the experience – the food and people in France – everything inspired me.”

Chef Humphus has continued to feed her epicurean passion through a wide breadth of hospitality venues, garnering top tier experience at several of the nation’s leading dining destinations—including Wylie Dufresne’s Michelin Starred WD-50 in Manhattan and the internationally notable The French Laundry under highly acclaimed chef, Thomas Keller.  Equipped with an extensive resume and an eagerness for new challenges, Katherine opened her own catering company in 2010 after returning to Southern California - Pardon My French, which became a vehicle for Humphus’ unique talents in French dessert buffets and chocolate truffles.  Reconnecting with the Cohn Restaurant Group, Chef Humphus began teaching classes at the Balboa Park Food & Wine School while playing a key role the opening of the Cohn’s new restaurant and bar concept, Analog, in San Diego’s Gaslamp District.

As the Executive Chef of BO-beau kitchen + bar in Ocean Beach, Chef Humphus’ undeniable desire to create memorable and lasting experience is apparent in her signature eclectic, Mediterranean inspired menus. Incorporating the flavors and fare of numerous countries known for their deep culinary roots, Humphus takes the reigns in the kitchen and delivers a repertoire that continues to raise the bar in San Diego’s bourgeoning culinary scene.

BO-beau kitchen + bar is located at 4996 W Point Loma Blvd. in Ocean Beach.  For more information, visit