Verde Valley, AZ – Back to School with Chef Christopher Dobrowolski

Schoolhouse Journals December 2013
New Year Trends & Spiked Hot Chocolate
By Chef Christopher Dobrowolski

Christopher DobrowolskiEach year every member of the gastronomic world, whether chef, consultant or foodie, try to predict “what will be next year’s trends?” Well I guess I’ll jump on the band wagon and give you my opinion. Not so much what we should be looking for, but what we should be doing to enjoy a better lifestyle through food.

I won’t ramble on about all the claims of all the diets of the world, I believe if it makes you feel good, do it. Now before we get all heated about that statement I am NOT condoning going out and eating everything you can get your hands on, but I am saying that one bite every now and again won’t kill you. Actually scientifically it may make you feel better or help you get over that slump or funk that makes you want to roll over and be lazy for the day. (By the way, there’s nothing wrong with doing nothing except reading a good book or watching a game!)

Ok, so here we go with the hot food trends I am predicting for the New Year. They match up pretty well with a lot of the gastronomes out there.

  • Kale – This hearty green is still holding strong because of its great nutritional value and ease of preparation.
  • Chicken – This bird is flying off the menu left and right due to high cost and low flavor profile.
  • Game Meat – There is truly no better way to eat ORGANIC then to eat something that’s been frolicking in the woods!
  • Vegan instead of Vegetarian – If you aren’t going to eat meat you might as well take it all the way. You’re going to see more and more Vegan choices in your favorite eateries.
  • Wine by the keg – This is a great journey that has been up and coming for a while. There are a number of companies working on it. After all, what’s better than no wine waste when you pour by the glass? How about no more guessing if that glass you’re serving your guest is sour? It’s win-win.

I’m sure none of the above is a big surprise. Here are a couple things retailers are doing that may surprise you though.

  • Food Courts – Disappearing as we speak across the nation, due to unhealthy eating options. Good riddance!
  • Retailers – Bringing back their investment branch of restaurants.
  • Healthy Fast Food – Never saw that coming! There are a couple great companies out there really heading up this incredible concept. LYFE Kitchen is my favorite brand at this point. I know one of the owners and he and his family are simply amazing.
  • Soup and Salad Style Companies are finally getting into the beer and wine market – It may be awhile before you find a margarita on the menu but the base is there for us now to enjoy an adult beverage with our light meal.

Well if I have learned anything about blogging it’s to quit before you get boring, so I’m going to leave you with a simple recipe for your holiday parties. Have an amazing holiday season and we’ll see you next year!

Spiced & Spiked Holiday Hot Chocolate


  • Spiced & Spiked Holiday Hot Chocolate5 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 10 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet, as preferred
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dark rum, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon of Ancho chili powder or Cayenne


  • Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted.
  • Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk and still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more. Add more sugar if you want this sweeter, too. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into preferred cups.

SchoolHouse RestaurantWine Dinner
5-Course Wine Dinner
December 14th, 2013
Whether you’re a connoisseur of fine wines, or just love great food, join us at the SchoolHouse Restaurant for a 5-course wine dinner on Saturday, December 14th. The excitement begins at 7pm. Don’t forget to reserve your table today… it’s going to be EPIC! Call 928.634.0700 and make your reservations today! Visit the SchoolHouse Restaurant of Facebook, Join us on Twitter.

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