Jan 31, 2011 No Comments

You are invited to an underground dinner party! All we can tell you is the date, time and theme of this dinner party, the location remains a secret till the very last minute and the menu will be presented upon arrival. Come hungry and prepare you taste buds for pure decadence. Excited yet?chef-amy

Amy Jurist is the outrageously talented chef and owner of Amy’s Culinary Adventures. This one-man band is run entirely by Amy. She is cook, caterer, marketing extraordinaire and the mastermind behind LA’s strongest food craze known as the “underground dinner parties.”

With 20 years experience under her belt as a marketing executive one wonders how exactly she became immersed in the food industry. Her resume is very impressive and lists major marketing positions for networks such as FX Network and E! Entertainment. After finally giving into her, and we quote, “itchy-scratchy” need to change her career path, Amy sought her passion. She took the advice given by so many friends and the skills she’d acquired through her parents, and went to culinary school. Amy was on the road to becoming a chef.


At first she took some local cooking classes just to better her skills in areas of cooking she was interested. Eventually, when Amy decided to go full-time to culinary school she met a female professor who would change her life. The professor’s name was Cecilia and she enabled Amy to really take hold of her talent. Amy was quick to learn her strengths, those of product development and the ability to create new food products and recipes. While doing all this research, she began catering on the side. She was her own boss and still to this present day only hires freelance staff for bigger events and productions.


Flash forward some 7 years and Chef Amy is a full-blown female entrepreneur with an interactive website, books and events that will amaze you. “My marketing background really helped my business because I have all the experience and could use it towards the growth of my company. Most people have to hire and depend on others to make changes to their website, upload pictures or build new pages, but I just do it! These things have really helped my one-man band!”

So, enough history, back to the intriguing dinner parties! The underground dinners are one-night only events. They are mostly in LA, but are spreading rapidly. If you’d like to check them out in your area, simply go to “I started doing them [underground dinners] 5 years ago as a way to get reimbursed from friends for dinners I would cook them. It’s like when you have a truck and people ask you to help them move, so when you are a cook people ask you to make food.” These dinner parties were away for Amy to showcase her talents and food, but she was quick to turn it into something far more profitable. “I find the locations, get the rentals, hire the staff and do all the marketing. I do everything. The dinner parties are an amazing and wonderful experience, but they don’t really make you too much money. It serves more as exposure and away to network,” explains Amy.


Exposure is exactly what Amy got. She was approached by the authors of the best selling vegan book “Skinny Bitch” to lend her talents for the creation of their cookbook. To add to this success Chef Amy’s Potato Pancakes won “Best Holiday Recipe” in Sweet Paul Magazine. She’s been featured on CBS, NBC, 944 Magazine, Viva La Foodies, and the list goes on. Her talents are limitless as she is able to cater an Indian wedding one weekend, a Peruvian dinner the following week, make Italian anything, and is skilled at Asian cuisine.

This self-professed, “sauce whore” will tell you how much she enjoys making “yummy decadence.” Chef Amy’s niche is one of great delight, many sauces, rich textures and beautiful, but no-fuss presentations. The passionate chef goes on to tell us how much fun she’s having, “I love that I’ve created this “foodie” community! These people, this food and this location will never be available again – it’s one unique event every time.” There are many variants to underground parties. The venues don’t always have all the necessities to assist in cooking seven-course meals (one dinner was in a gas station), while feeding 80 plus people, but Amy manages to impress every time.


Each underground event has a theme. The next event is entitled, “The Haute Chocolate Affair” an intoxicating evening of decadent chocolate infused savory and sweet eats. If you’d like more information on Chef Amy and here unique underground parties go to and sign up!

As a special treat to, Amy was kind enough to share some of her best recipes with us. Read them, prepare them and tell us just how scrumptious they are:

Inside Out Potato Skins in Bacon Cups

Recipe by Chef Amy Jurist

Yields 2 Dozen Appetizers

  • 1 pound of regular cut bacon(not thick cut)
  • One 12 oz bag of frozen hash brown potatoes – fried crisp (per package instructions) and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or lite sour cream
  • 8 oz of Gruyere(or Swiss) shredded
  • 1 bunch of chives minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3-4 tbl of reg olive oil or canola oil

Preheat the oven to 375˚ You will need 1 mini muffin tin (24 each).

Heat the Oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, then add the onions and sauté until they are slightly caramelized about 25 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Cut the bacon into 3 inch strips. You will need 2 pieces per cup, depending on how big your muffin tin is and how thick/wide your Bacon is. Place the pieces in a cross pattern so it fills up the cup.  The strips should be just long enough to go across the bottom and up the sides of the cup of the muffin tin.  The goal is to create a “cup” with the bacon so you want bottom and sides covered. It needs to go to at least to the top of the tin since the Bacon will shrink down. But if pieces are too long and they go too far over onto the flat part between the cups, it will stick and the cups won’t cook right!

Cook the bacon cups in the oven until the bacon is firm and cooked about 30-35 minutes. Be careful they don’t burn. After about 20 minutes check the cups and gently push the bacon down toward the bottom of the cup, unsticking any pieces that have stuck across the top.

When cooked, and slightly cooled, lift the cups out of the fat(they will be sitting in the rendered fat) so they can drain and cool off.  The cups will firm up a little more once they cool. You can make these 1-2 days ahead of time, You will just need to store them in the muffin tins, or in a single layer on sheet pans so they don’t break and to help them keep their shape.

Set up an assembly line with bowls of each of the ingredients. Put the sour cream in a squirt bottle if you have one. If not just use a small teaspoon.

Fill each cup with 1 tsp. of the fried seasoned Potatoes, then a sprinkle of onions, then a tsp. of the Gruyere.

Bake the filled cups in a 375 degree oven until the cheese melts about 3-5 minutes.

Top each cup with a squirt of the sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.  And Enjoy!

*Chef’s Note* While testing this recipe for my Bacon Affair Decadent Underground Dinner, I tried this recipe with fancy thick bacons and regular thin center cut store brands. While the flavor was terrific with the “heirloom” bacons, the cups worked better, and the pieces fused together better with the plain store brands. The pieces seemed to stay separate with the thick fancy cuts.  What I finally did was make the cup with the store brand and put a small piece of the “fancy” bacon at the bottom of each cup. Though this is not necessary.


Yam & Goat Cheese Raviolis with Sage Butter Sauce Serves 4-6

Recipe by Chef Amy Jurist

  • 2-3 yams, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbl. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup Goat Cheese
  • Shallots
  • 1 bunch of fresh Sage
  • 1 stick of Butter
  • 1 Package of Wonton Wrappers
  • Cornstarch

Rub Yams with a little olive oil, and roast them, cut side down, in a 475-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until they are very soft. (If they are still stringy when you try to scrape out the flesh, then they are not done enough.) If they’re done, the skin will almost separate on its own from the flesh. The cut side will be browned so scoop out the clean flesh in between.

When all the flesh is scooped out, mash the yams in a bowl until smooth and fluffly. You should have about 1 cup of yams.  Add about 1 tbl of butter, 1 Tbl of brown sugar, pinch of pumpkin pie spice, and mix until well blended. Then add about 1/3 cup of goat cheese(softened in microwave for about 13 seconds), mixing it all together until it is very creamy and fluffy. (The ratio should be 3:1 yam to goat cheese.) Add a dash of white pepper to taste.

Then open your package of wonton wrappers and put a lightly damp paper towel or cloth over them to keep them from drying out.

You’ll need a small dish with a little water and a pastry brush to assemble them.

Put a little mound of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper, brush the water around the edges, put a second wrapper on top and press the edges together well to seal. Push the bubbles out as you seal them. Be careful not to get water on the outside of the raviolis as your brushing the water on them.  A tight seal is very important. I usually makes 3 – 4 ravioli per person for an appetizer portion, 6-9 for an entree, so keep assembling as many as you would need.

As you finish each one, dusts both sides of it with a little bit of cornstarch so they don’t all stick together and they don’t stick to the paper. You can make them a day ahead. Line a sheet pan or foil bin with parchment and lay down a layer of raviolis(don’t overlap or they’ll stick) then put a layer of parchment over the top and continue.

To cook, boil some salted water in a large wide but shallow pot. When you are ready, turn down the water to a light simmer. If the water is boiling, the raviolis will burst. Cook the raviolis about 3-4 minutes, flipping them about 1/2 way through, and until they float to the top, remove them carefully and drizzle them with a little olive oil so that they don’t stick together at this point, either.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, finely mince 2-3 large shallots, and Chiffonade 1/3 cup of sage leaves into thin strips. Then pre-heat a saute pan over medium high heat, and then adds about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sautees the shallots until they are translucent, and slightly golden.

Add  a 1/2 stick of butter and cook until it melts and turns slightly browned. Add the sage leaves and cook for another minute or 2. Toss the cooked raviolis in the butter sauce to coat and place on plate.

Drizzle with sauce and top with shaved parmesan.   So elegant and so delicious!!

Written by: Bridgette




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