An Exquisite Dinner with Chez Montier and Leaning Ladder

I had the distinct pleasure last week to attend a fantastic spring media dinner at Leaning Ladder in downtown Woodstock, GA. Our featured chef for the evening, Juan Montier, of Chez Montier, blew me away with his culinary creations and generous personality {more about him in a moment!}.
Melissa Pelkey Hass, of The Front Porch Gourmet, was the ultimate hostess and event planner for our evening, and she sprinkled her own bit of magic wherever she went.
Chef Montier greeted us with his refreshing "Saketini" drink, garnished with lychee fruit and honey ginger balsamic vinegar, while Melissa gave us a tour of Leaning Ladder and their incredible array of flavored balsamic vinegars and olives oils. Wait till I tell you about some of the olive oil and vinegar pairings....little bursts of happiness in your mouth.

To say that Chef Montier is infectious is a bit of an understatement. He is like a big teddy bear wrapped around a tall glass of effervescent champagne. His cooking chops were evident throughout the evening, as he deftly took on the task of creating an upscale dinner incorporating Leaning Ladder's premium olive oils and vinegars {and even making items gluten-free for one of our bloggers}. And, well, he made us laugh and smile a lot throughout the evening, like we were old friends sharing a dinner in his home.

After many years in gourmet food service and interior design, Juan founded Chez Montier, Inc. in 2004 to provide boutique catering and event design services. He's been featured on The View, Atlanta & Co., and the Steve Harvey Morning Show. It was delightful that his family, including wife Judith and son Austin, were on hand to assist and be so involved in the evening. They were welcoming and full of life and laughter. So much fun to see father and son in the kitchen together.

This beauty was our appetizer - Crab "Fingers" with Wasabi Remoulade. Very nice.
Next up were a few tasty samples of in-house olive oil and vinegar pairings. First we tried a Tuscan herb oil with 18 year old balsamic {my fav} and then a Persian lime olive oil with coconut balsamic. 
Wow....that one was good. Melissa demonstrated proper tasting, showing how to swirl the cup of olive oil and vinegar in your hand to warm it up a bit.We followed with a simple and seasonal Arugula Salad with asparagus and bamboo shoots in a Sesame Olive Oil and Ginger Vinaigrette.

The evening was so relaxing for our group. The kitchen at Leaning Ladder is intimate, so you can sit right up at the counter and easily visit with your neighbors and the chef while he/she cooks. Chef Montier pulled out these sea scallops and I had to get up close and personal to watch them turn into some GBD....golden brown deliciousness. I could hardly wait for the entree.

Here's the final dish, Yucca and Potato encrusted Chilean Sea Bass with Wild Mushroom Wontons in a Miso Broth, with seared Sea Scallops, carrots, sesame sauteed field greens, whole crawfish, and garlic olive oil. Definitely the piece de resistance and worth waiting, while Chef cooked this dish, we had time to roam around the store an try out lots of different flavored vinegars and oils.

Oh, wine. Did I mention wine? We had some fantastic pairings thanks to Southern Vines. I'm kicking myself that I didn't write them all down for future reference.....Melissa, can you help a girl out here?
Especially loved that red.

We rounded out the evening with a light dessert of honey sweetened Ginger and Lemon Granita with Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar. A perfect finish. 
This was one of the most enjoyable events I've been to recently and I want to sincerely thank everyone who was involved:

Melissa Pelkey Hass, Chef Juan Montier and family, my fellow bloggers, and event sponsors: {Leaning Ladder, Sprouts Market, Astor Chocolate, Gimmee Jimmy's Cookies

We left with a lovely little bag of sponsor goodies including some samples from Leaning Ladder's oils and vinegars. 
After tasting some of the incredible pairings at the store, like Peach White balsamic and Basil olive oil, Espresso Dark Balsamic and Blood Orange olive oil, & Violet Dark balsamic with Lemon olive oil.....I had to bring home some of my own. I briefly considered giving them as gifts {which would be super nice} - but no, I'm keeping them for me!

To learn more about the food, decor, and lifestyle adventures of Chez Montier, please visit his website here or follow him on Twitter.

*Disclaimer: Although my meal was complimentary, all the opinions and food photos are uniquely mine.


  1. What a fantastic recap of the Spring Media Dinner Shannon! Thank you so much for the kind words. The wines we enjoyed during the event were: 2013 Idle Wines Grenache, 2013 Trione Henry's Blend, and 2013 Pinot Grigio. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Melissa. You did an incredible job! Thanks for the reminder of our wines....

  2. What a great night!! It was fun seeing you again!!!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts