Up Close with Chef Kelly Fields
Banquet and Catering Chef for Ray's Plaza Conference Center
By Janet Wade
Our Local food spotlight is focused on Chef Kelly Fields. During his 20
year career in the food industry Kelly has worked in all facets of the
food industry. He found his desire to be a chef while working at a
family owned and operated Italian restaurant in Florida. The
grandmother of the family noticed something in Kelly that made her take
him aside to teach him how to make the sauces and pastas from scratch.
That was the jumping in point for Kelly. With professional training and
working under some top trained chefs there was no looking back.
Tired of the urban sprawl of south Florida, Kelly started looking to
move to the midwest. Intrigued by Missouri he relocated here and
couldn't be happier. He worked for the Dexter Country Club before
taking the position as Banquet and Catering Chef for Ray's Of Kelso. He
oversees events at The Plaza Conference Center by Ray's, located in
Cape Girardeau; The Water's Edge, located south of Gordonville; and The
Whiteford House, located in Kelso. Events can range from 30 to 500
patrons. Ray's Of Kelso is one of the largest caterers in our area.
Kelly and Ray Ressel, (owner of Ray's of Kelso) collaborate on all menus
but the final result is customer driven. After meeting with the client
they take into consideration the needs of the event, then combine that
with years of culinary experience and a love of people pleasing. The
end results are always over the top. The restaurant delivers a casual
dining experience but always with a Wow factor involved. For example,
Chateaubriand, lamb chops, homemade sauces, gourmet pizzas, table side
flambe desserts are menu standards. Chef Kelly and Ray seriously
believe everyone should have baked Alaska at least once in their life!
Anyone who has eaten at Ray's of Kelso knows that they are all about
local and all about family. At anytime you will see at least one of the
family members working there--if not all of them. Chef Kelly seems to
have fit right in.
The Ressel Family and Kelly both support responsible animal husbandry,
being careful where their meat comes from. They make every effort
possible to do business with people who care for their land and their
animals. They just recently switched produce suppliers for more organic
Chef Kelly shared this Lamb Chop recipe with us for Easter. He
recommended pairing this with oven roasted yukon gold fingerling
potatoes and spring peas and carrots. You can get also lamb chops on
the menu at Ray's of Kelso.
When shopping for ingredients, remember to shop local first. You can
find most of the ingredients at Natural Health Organics located on 35 S.
Broadview in Cape Girardeau. The lamb chops can be found at Schnucks.
For a wine paring we asked the local expert, Keller Ford, from Primo Vino
Keller suggested two good wines that where fruity and spicy to
compliment the dish: 2008 Paso Paso Tempranillo @ $10.79 from Spain or a
2007 Ramey Syrah @ $34.69 from Sonoma on the Coast of California.
2 mangos, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c. cranberries, mashed (or run through a food processor)
2/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. minced garlic
1/8 c. finely diced (or shredded) fresh ginger
1 t. each of cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat; simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve either hot or cold.
Lamb Marinade (6-8 lamb chops)
1 1/2 c. Wesson oil
1/2 c. rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 level t. fresh-ground black pepper
1/8 c. Dijon mustard
Mix all of the above ingredients. Marinate lamb chops overnight, covered in refrigerator.
Heat 1/8 c. olive oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to cook
all the lamb chops at one time. Add lamb chops to heated skillet. Let
cook undisturbed until nicely browned (4-6 min.), then turn to repeat on
the other side (turning only once). Once browned on both sides, remove
to a paper towel to absorb excess oil and tent the lamb chops with foil
to rest for 5 min. Depending on the size of your lamb chops, the above
cooking time should result in a cooked temperature of medium. Adjust the
cooking time to your wellness preference.
Plate the lamb chops 2 per plate, topping with mango chutney. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Ray's of Kelso Page