The first time I met Chef Monique Santua of Gastromonique was at a friend’s dinner party. Gastromonique is committed to feeding Austinites seasonable, local, and sustainable foods through farm to table personal chef services.
Dazzling our group with artful presentation, each course honed its own story of origin, preparation, and presentation. When you shop organic, locally-sourced ingredients, the palette is seasonally serendipitous. Therefore, Chef Monique hand-selects each ingredient blended into her flawless recipes from Austin’s local Texas Farmers’ Market.
Beyond the canvas of colorful plated produce and scrumptious bites, Chef Monique’s culinary presence exudes nurture and comfort, reflective in the food she serves.
Growing up as an immigrant, cooking was never just about creating something delicious. Cooking has always been a way for me to share the flavors of my heritage, show respect to the earth, and the people that grow the food. After all, there is no determination as strong as that of a Filipino woman trying to feed you!”-Chef Monique Santua, Gastromonique
VIP Meal Prep
Using only the freshest and most nutritious ingredients, Chef Monique accommodates an array of tastes, food allergies, and special diets in her meal prep service. She will meal plan, shop, and prepare your family’s meals within the comfort of your home.
Order from a seasonal menu online by Friday at 8 p.m. and receive your weekly meals by Monday, with complimentary delivery.
Chef Monique shops, preps, and cooks for your guests in the convenience of your own home. With full-course meal presentation catered to your tastes, Gastromonique brings fine food dining to your next dinner party.
Think the speakeasy of food (without the illicit or debauchery). If you are a foodie and crave melting into an underground culinary extravaganza, this is your scene. Supper clubs cater to culinary creativity within a surprising space. An effervescent atmosphere where conversation bubbles and new friends with shared good taste abound.
Gastromonique Spring Feast Menu
I enjoyed sampling Gastromonique’s spring menu. Vexed by the hearty flavor and tender texture of the peppercorn beef, balanced by the sweet edge of beets and tangy goat cheese, and anchored in an earthy chard cobb salad, my taste buds moved from winter to spring–and back again. Chef Monique seasons to accent and complement, but never to disguise food.
Springtime is a season about rebirth and freshness. With so many vibrant vegetables coming into bloom, my spring menus always gravitate towards light vegetable-forward dishes that offset the heaviness of winter comfort foods.”Chef Monique Santua, Gastromonique
Spring Menu Example
- Seasonal beef stir fry
- Halibut with basil cucumber salsa
- Strawberry balsamic pork tenderloin
- Minty lamb chops
- Lemon za’atar cauliflower
- Strawberry kale salad with pecans and goat cheese
Touring Texas Farmers’ Market – Mueller With Chef Monique
Living in a house with small children and food allergies, our family learned to lean into a healthier lifestyle. The less mature taste buds of our toddlers weren’t equipped for eating as holistically as their bodies required. Naturally, we gravitated towards the farmers’ market as a fun place to introduce where food comes from and add healthful options to our diet.
Crafting a menu that is largely dairy- and gluten-free, Chef Monique’s true food ingredients are both inviting to the senses and nourishing in digestion. Since Chef Monique also works as the marketing and events coordinator for Texas Farmers’ Market, she let me tag along as she did her weekly shopping.
Tables drenched in colorful spring hues, and streets canopied with sunlight and a cool breeze all whispered spring’s arrival. Feel-good vibes bubbled throughout the market as Monique introduced me to local farmers and shared her passion for “exploring the stories of others through their food and cooking techniques.”
Moving on to Smith & Smith Farms, featuring ethically pasture-raised chicken, pork, and lamb, Chef Monique described how she bought a whole pig from the farm last spring to roast for a supper club she hosted.
Owner of Smith & Smith Farms, Colby Smith, shared that after being laid off from his factory job in 2008, Texas Farmers’ Market provided him a means of economic sustainability. It’s currently the only place he sells his fresh meats and eggs.
➡️ Read more: Harvest Local Goodness at Mueller Farmers’ Market
Love Your Farmers
Next up was Yegua Creek Farms Pecan Orchard, and a Texas-sized hug, bringing texture and love to any spring dish. Chef Monique sprinkles salads and desserts with these raw pecans to balance savory earthiness with sweeter components of spring.
Pure Luck Farm and Dairy boasts a blue ribbon for the best goat cheese and feta in all of North America. I tasted the chèvre with thyme and honey, which Monique utilizes for dessert elements. According to Chef Monique, spring is goat cheese season with milk production at an all-time high for mama goats.
We even found a peek of spring purple sage at the Bouldin Food Forest stand, brimming with delicious and interesting vegetables and herbs grown through permaculture practices that respect the natural ecosystem.
At F-Stop Farm, we admired a rainbow assortment of edible flowers that paint spring sophistication into any culinary composition.
Our last stop, Hi-Fi Mycology, featured an urban mushroom farm growing a large variety of medicinal and culinary mushrooms. We couldn’t take our eyes off the giant lion’s mane mushroom purported to have the capacity to improve cognitive function. My “mom brain” might give this one a try.
Hi-Fi Mycology even features grow-your-own mushroom farms, bringing new food to life just in time for spring.
Living a Sustainable Life
It wouldn’t be a spring feast at the farmers’ market without imparting a bit of knowledge regarding sustainable cooking practices. So my visit concluded with an incredible demo from Chef Monique herself.
Thanks to a grant from the city of Austin, the Zero Waste Demo Series teaches novel ways of cooking. By turning the lesser-used parts of produce into gourmet recipes, patrons learn how to wholly enjoy every aspect of seasonal produce and reduce food waste.
Story-telling Through Food
Texas Farmers’ Market does more than bring sustainable foods to Austinites, it also brings sustainable living to treasured local farmers and makers.
Maybe the old adage is true, “You are what you eat.” Your experience with food has a story to tell, and learning that story from inception to curation honors the hardworking people who deliver their farm to your table. It is this artistic and empathetic connection with food and its makers that renders Gastromonique truly unique.
For information on Chef Monique’s meal prep services and supper clubs, check out the Gastromonique website.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your perfect spring meal?
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