Thank you so much for all your amazing support and words of encouragement from my last post.

Losing Mochi has been one of the most difficult times in our family, she shared 13 amazing years with us and there has not been a day that’s gone by that we don’t miss her sweet face and soulful spirit. But times like these make me appreciate life, love, and friendship that much more.

So with that said, I wanted to share some special moments from this past Saturday’s shindig: Our 6th annual Chef’s Bet Dinner with this year’s theme: Havana Nights. If you are new to the blog, I have featured 5 years’ worth of Chef’s Bet Dinners in the past.

What is the Chef’s Bet Dinner?

My husband and his friends have this crazy fantasy football league tradition where the 4 losers from each season plan, prep, source, cook, serve, then clean a SUPER FANCY dinner meal for the 4 winners (and their spouses). When I say cook, I mean TOP CHEF status honey! It’s 12 courses, alcohol/wine pairings with each course, think premium ingredients like foie gras, wagyu steak, lobster, duck, hand-made pasta, fresh oysters and caviar, basically the works! These meals cost thousands of dollars to make, takes weeks to research and prep, all for one night of amazing showmanship and creativity.

Le hubs had been winning year after year, so of course I had always been sitting in the winner’s circle where I don’t have to do a thing except come up with a cool ensemble to fit the theme, lol.

But, all that’s changed since he lost 2 years in a row, which means the losing wives (i.e. me) must decorate the dinner party. Womp womp!!! Luckily for him (and 15 of our closest friends) I LOVE a good theme party so this year I went all out decking the party out with one hot Havana night.

Décor and Details

It’s never enough to simply serve amazing dishes and cool new cocktails, the ambience must be perfect to create an unforgettable evening for these Chef’s Bet Dinners. I created a Cuban-themed tablescape using tropical leaves I cut from my yard, wicker baskets as vases, reflective glass candle votives, coffee beans, paper umbrellas, palm tree candelabras, designed in a sunset-hued color story of reds, oranges, yellows, golds, and browns.

Invitation and Dress Code

No JKID theme party is complete without an accompanying dress code. Old Havana Cuba is all about color, color, color! I always send dress code inspiration along with custom invitations that I design myself so it takes the guesswork out of what to wear for those attending.

The more sun-drenched color the better! Fruit print dresses, jewel-toned cardigans, bright, funky frocks for the ladies while the men donned cool fedoras with classic button-ups and blazers.  The winners even came correct with bongos and their own cigars to amp up the fun!

The Menu

High Shigoku Oysters with apple, grapefruit, jalapeno, bonito, infused with cannabis vapor | Soju | Viet

Scallops on potato pancake, lemon blanc, and caviar | Dom Perignon Champagne | Dave

Consommé tomato spot prawn, iberico mint chives, habanero | Soju | Viet

Eggs Coddled with Ann’s farm fresh egg, ikura uni, miso potato | Sauvignon blanc | Viet
Fermented Octopus with endive and carrot emulsion topped with dashi soup | Sauvignon blanc | Le hubs

Smoked Escalope wild sea bass with artichoke puree, bacon bordelaise sauce | Chardonnay | Theo

Shaved foie gras with Riesling gelée, pine nut brittle, lychees | Riesling | Le hubs

Mini Japanese Cubanos with kurobuta pork belly, garlic mayo, wasabi mustard, truffle cheddar, habanero pickles | Pinot Noir | Le hubs

Conejito Rabbit Ravioli with foie gras, buttered baby carrot consommé reduction | Pinot Noir | Theo
Palate cleanser (left) | Caught in blogging action (right)

Roasted Bone Marrow with braised oxtail, onion marmalade | Cabernet | Dave

Muscovy Duck Breast with toasted spice butter and cranberry mostaza | Cabernet | Dave


Dessert: Homemade chocolate ice cream cigars with waffle matchbook | Theo

Thank you to our amazing master chefs this year Viet, Dave, le hubs, and Theo for this incredibly meticulous, fanciful, creative, always super scrumptious spread! You guys sure do know the way to a woman’s heart! <3

Congratulations to this year’s FFB winners Chris, Ken, Paul, and Binh! Hope you enjoyed this luxuriously decadent dinner!

And can’t forget my BOL babes! Love these ladies so much, they always bring their A-Game!

Catch up with past Chef’s Bet Dinners below:

1st annual: Hamptons Backyard Cocktail Party2nd annual: Eat Your Heart Out | Valentine’s Red Theme

3rd annual: Romance in the Roaring 20’s | 4th annual: 1930’s Prohibition5th annual: Masquerade Dinner

Can’t wait to see what’s cookin’ next year! Hopefully I’ll be on the winning side this time! Losing sucks! lol



    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Aw I love you gals!!! Thanks for the visit and thanks for spreading so much love and joy always ????

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