Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cook On The Coals; Halal Is Hot; Stop Buying In Bulk; Sauces Of Thailand

Monday morning (7/12/15) at 8:40am I will be live on WVMT-620am. Stream live or tune in as we talk 2015 trends and the latest food news. Below are some fun topics we may touch on.

Yes, Right On The Coals 

Have A Better Office Lunch

7 Must-Bring Things If You're Cooking On Vacation 

What I Wish I Was Drinking 

Halal Is Hot! I Always Eat Here When In NYC

The Mother Sauces Of Thailand 

Are Health Foods Making You Fat?

Stop Buying In Bulk

Make This Potato Salad Now

My New Favorite Dessert


Flatbreads and Summer Salads On The Grill 7/25
Cook The Book: Cairo Kitchen 7/26
Girls Night: Summer Beach House 7/31

Chef Contos kitchen & store
65 Falls Road Shelburne

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fiesta Always - With Tequila And Fun Friends

"Fiesta Always - with Tequila and fun friends" - the wise words Lucinda Hutson autographed into our signed copy of her lovely book: !Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking, and other Agave Adventures.

Last week we had the delight of hosting "A True Fiesta with Guest Chef and Author Lucinda Hutson."

Everyone who attended had an absolutely amazing time - which seems to be Lucinda's specialty! We worked hard in the kitchen to prepare her delicious recipes ahead of time, so by the time class started, we had a beautiful spread of amazing fiesta foods we could enjoy with uninterrupted story-telling and tequila fun! The majority of the recipes in Viva Tequila come together quickly and are best made in advance - so the host can enjoy the party too! All of the recipes had Lucinda's unique spin but one very important ingredient in common - Tequila! 

Highlights of our fiesta menu included:

Queso Sabroso (Snookered Goat Cheese) 

Queso Flameado (Melted Cheese Flambeed in Tequila) 

Corn Salsa Prontisimo (with Avocado, lots of fresh lime juice, and Tequila!) 

Negros y Pina a la Criztina (Black Beans and Pineapple Spiked with Mezcal) 
A delightful spin on a pot of nourishing beans! 

And my personal favorite:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

CCKS Takes Yucatan

CCKS takes Yucatan!                                                                                               By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'"

In March 2015, we set off on our very first CCKS Culinary Tour to Mexico. We met at the airport in Cancun and then set off on our adventure. After stopping to get some chips in flavors that can only be found in Mexico, we arrived at Casa Marlene in Valladolid, where Rosalini, the daughter of the owner, greeted us.  We settled in and then sat by the pool to enjoy some fresh guacamole, watermelon juice (one of our favorites, we drank it every day), and some cold beer. We relaxed for a bit before getting ready to walk to the town center for dinner. 

We walked into the center of town, where there is a beautiful park surrounded by a yellow wall and has benches and couples’ chairs throughout where you can stop and watch the other park-goers. The park was speckled with vendors selling various treats, mostly sweets. 

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at a local restaurant with chaya (the Yucatan version of spinach or kale, but with a much sweeter flavor) margaritas and refreshers. We then took a walk back through the park and stopped for marquesitas, which are crepes filled with nutella, caramel, cheese, or a combination. They are rolled up into a cigar shape and they harden, so they are crunchy and the perfect after dinner treat! 
The next morning, we woke up and had breakfast at Casa Marlene. Breakfast always started with Mayan coffee, a plate of fresh fruit, and some sort of fresh fruit juice (it was melon juice this time). They would then make us a delicious savory breakfast, this usually consisted of a variation of eggs with some beans, tortillas, vegetables and hot sauce.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Join The CCKS Family

Here's your chance to join our strong and extremely fun team!

Chef Contos Kitchen and Store is looking for a manager & buyer to take over the position towards the end of May. The ideal candidate will have a strong attention to detail, excellent customer service skills, ability to multitask, great with sales, and a passion for the culinary world. This is a great opportunity for someone who is interested in small business management and wants to learn more about what it takes to operate a high-paced, high-traffic store. 
Job duties:
Keep track of inventory, replenish when necessary
Change store displays on a bi-weekly/monthly basis
Send weekly newsletters to subscribers based on upcoming events and new product announcements
Interact with customers and guests
Assist owner and other employees in maintaining the high standards of the store
Post to social media regularly
Seek out and contact new product leads
Write blog posts for the store
Key-holder for the store
Assist during 2-3 classes per week (mornings & evenings)
Assist in event planning and execution 
Ideal candidate:
Ability to work 15-25 hours per week
Excellent personal, verbal and written communication skills
Interest in merchandising and culinary fields
Weekend & evening availability a must
Strong passion for the culinary field 
Do you have what it takes? 
Please EMAIL us at:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Every Cooking Class Needs A Lot Of Ingredients!

By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'"

At CCKS, as I’m sure you can imagine, we do a lot of grocery shopping. Most of our shopping is done at Healthy Living, they have such a great variety of products and a lot of the hard to find things we need for our endless recipe testing and cooking classes. 

We get everything from produce and meat, to after-class snacks and specialty ingredients there. Here are five of our favorite must-haves from Healthy Living, in particular order. 

  1. Agave gummy bears: Okay, so I know I said this was in no particular order… but this might just be our favorite! I discovered these a few months ago, really randomly, and I brought them to the store. Needless to say the bag I bought did not end up coming home with me that night. We could not stop eating them as we prepared for class. Now one of us usually has a bag of them floating around in our purses, and we take them out as a treat before or after class. I don’t think we go to HL without stopping to get some of these now. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sometimes You Make The Cover!!!

By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'"

On Tuesday I answered a phone call from Courtney, when I picked up all she said on the other end of the line was, “we made the cover!” No time from hello, just incredibly exciting news. She was talking, of course, about Food & Wine magazine, they had just delivered advanced copies of it and right on the front cover was Courtney’s Tacos al Pastor. We have been working with them since early fall of 2014, after they contacted Courtney about the cooking school issue and how they wanted us to be part of it. The rest of that day were mostly text messages back in forth, varying from ‘omg’ to ‘holy shit,’ excuse the swearing, but it’s national press for a small Vermont business and if there was ever an appropriate moment for excited swearing, this was it! That night we celebrated at Hen of the Wood with an amazing dinner and drinks, thank you Eric! 

We kept it a secret until the end of January, you never know with these kinds of things. We didn’t want to get our hopes up and tell everyone, and then when the issue came out we weren’t in it. 

They first contacted Courtney when she was in the Yucatan, researching and preparing for our culinary tour. She texted me that night, in utter shock, and then got right to work figuring out what recipes to send. Those recipes were made about a dozen times, if not more, so they were perfect. Changing a little thing each time, until the combination of flavors was where she wanted it. The tacos were chosen because of the excitement over our culinary tours, and the fact that Courtney was there when she got the news. And the cake as a tribute to Courtney’s Irish heritage.  This is what Courtney had worked up to for her entire culinary career, and for it to come to fruition after less than two years after opening the school is incredible. 

We cannot thank Food & Wine enough for seeing what we all already know, that this little cooking school in Shelburne, Vermont is doing amazing things. We also cannot thank YOU, our amazing community, customers, and friends, for being part of CCKS. For being at every class, every cook-off, and every party, for helping us make CCKS what it is. We couldn’t do it without your support in creating this hub for food lovers in the middle of Shelburne. 

The issue will hit stands on February 20th, we will be carrying this issue in the store so stop by to pick it up (I bet you can even get it signed if you wish)!