November 16, 2023

Miracle Turkey


by Meagan Price

Director of Marketing and Kitchen Sorceress

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Growing up at Culinary Crafts and working events from a young age, I learned the art of putting out fires. I don’t mean literal ones (well, sometimes literal ones), but being a full-service caterer means constantly dealing with problems on the fly, from changing a tire to repairing a bride’s dress to figuring out how to cook the entrée when the venue’s oven breaks. My childhood gave me an unshakable sense of “I can figure that out.” I’m grateful for the confidence I developed, but sometimes it got me into trouble, like it did on the year of the Miracle Turkey.

During my junior year in college, I worked as a resident advisor in the dorms at SUU . I thought of the students in my charge as “my kids” and loved surprising them with pies, cakes, and fresh-made cinnamon rolls. (When did I ever get any studying done?) As Thanksgiving approached, I worried about my residents who would be stuck in their rooms instead of visiting family, so I decided I would take it on myself to make them a full-blown Thanksgiving meal. I hadn’t done anything like that before, but I was sure I could figure it out. How hard could it be?

The Miracle Turkey

Anyone who knows me will not be shocked to hear that I went all out. Twenty pies, three types of stuffing, seven sides, and dozens of homemade rolls. The pièce de résistance was a frozen twenty-two-pound turkey.

I had never baked a turkey, and attempting it in the tiny oven in my tiny apartment was…well…probably a bit crazy, to be honest. After about forty calls to my mom and dad, three batches of burnt Stove Top, and seven hours of cooking a turkey, I finally had my first ever Thanksgiving meal! It was glorious.

None of us knew how to carve a turkey correctly, so we hacked away at it like maniacs. My dorm didn’t have a dining room, so people were lined up and down both sides of the hallway, on beds and couches, or standing in doorways with plates in hand. As more and more guests arrived, I began to worry that we would run out of food. I had planned on about forty guests, but when 150 showed up, I was freaking out! Then something strange happened. As if by magic, the meal seemed to keep multiplying itself. Somehow, we all got fed. It was the miracle of the Thanksgiving turkey.

With a few more years of experience, I realized that it shouldn’t have taken me seven hours to cook a turkey; I could have done it in one or two hours. How? You can find step-by-step directions here for how to save yourself hours in the kitchen and have your turkey come out perfect every time!

November 9, 2023

A Perfect Apple Pie


by Mistie Tunbridge

Pastry Chef and Girl with the Golden Smile

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A Thanksgiving meal isn't complete until you end it with a slice of perfect apple pie.

When I was growing up, my grandma always took on the job of making what seemed like hundreds of pies for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember pulling a stool up to the counter, helping her stir, and putting together pies all day long—of course sneaking tastes along the way.

When I got older and more into baking, I decided that I wanted to contribute a pie of my own to Thanksgiving. Thus, my journey began to make the perfect apple pie. Through many trials and errors, from soggy crusts and soupy fillings to pie dry as the desert and sprawls of notes filling a notebook, I finally found the sweet spot of what I consider to be a perfect apple pie: a sweet, flakey, buttery tart shell filled with the crisp sweet flavor of golden delicious apples caramelized in cinnamon sugar. I was finally ready to bring my pie to dinner, thus beginning a new Thanksgiving tradition that's been going on for seven or eight years.

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Perfect Apple Pie

Pie Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3 lb golden delicious apples
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp caramel sauce (optional)


  1. Peel and chop apples into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, and apples.
  3. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add half the apples. Cook over medium-high heat until golden and caramelized.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat Step 3 with remaining butter and apples. Let cool completely.

Tart Shell Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3½ cups flour


  1. Add butter and sugar to a food processor and blend until just combined.
  2. Add the eggs and blend for 30 seconds. Add flour in small portions and blend until dough just comes together. (Do not over blend.)
  3. Add a tablespoon of cold water if dough is too dry. Divide and shape into two disks and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Roll out one disk of crust to about 1⁄8 inch thick. Place in a 9-inch pie pan, and trim off excess pastry around edges.
  3. Add cooled apples to the pie shell and brush the edge of the crust with water. Roll out remaining crust and place over the top. (I like to do a lattice.) Crimp edges and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

October 18, 2023

Chris’s Chili


by Chris Brady

Event Manager and True Raider Fan

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A while back, I was in a fantasy football league with some buddies I met online. It was a friendly group full of banter and smack talk, and, of course, with money on the line we also got super competitive.

One year, one of our founding members wasn’t sure he would be able to come up with the entry fee because he and his wife had a newborn who was suffering with costly complications. He proposed to the league that instead of cash, he could wager some sports memorabilia, gift cards, and his secret chili recipe. We put it to a vote. Even though his “memorabilia” was an autographed John Elway football—which was an insult to a true Raiders fan like me—we decided to let him enter.

Long story short, I won the league that year. Naturally, I sold the John Elway football to get that abomination out of my house, but the chili recipe stayed, and I have made it several times a year ever since. The chili always gets rave reviews, and my wife’s family specifically requests it whenever we get together.

Working at Culinary Crafts, sometimes I’m able to use left-over short ribs or flank steak for my chili, but you can get great results with almost any cut, even a simple pack of Costco USDA Choice.

When people ask for my secret ingredient, I tell them it’s the amber beer, but really, there’s another ingredient that only I can taste: the sweet, sweet taste of victory!

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Chris’s Chili


  • ⅓ cup of olive oil
  • 5 pounds of stew meat
  • 2 pounds of pork sausage
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5-6 large dried New Mexico chilies (You can get these pods at Macey’s or Smiths)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 T of dried cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 13 oz of beef broth
  • 36 oz of good amber beer, divided (I use Fat Tire, but Wasatch's Evo, Epic's Cross Fever, or another local amber will work well.)
  • 1 shot of Jack Daniels whiskey (High West Distillery in Park City also makes some excellent whiskeys you can use.)
  • 34 oz of beans (optional - I use dark kidney beans)


  1. Cut the meat into ½ to ¼ inch pieces.
  2. Rehydrate the chilis in 12 oz of beer. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min. Strain, and then puree the chilis. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over med heat for 5 min. Uncover, bring the heat to high, and brown for another 5 min. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 min until fragrant. Add the cumin and the pork. Stir until the meat browns.
  4. Add the beef, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Brown until most of the redness is gone. Add the chili puree, 24 oz beer, Jack, beef broth, tomato paste, tomato soup and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1½ hours until it has a chili-like consistency. Then add beans and cook for another ½ hour.
  5. Garnish with green onion and cheese.

(Note: For max flavor, cook a day ahead and let the flavors come together overnight in the fridge. Reheat and enjoy some great chili.)

October 17, 2023

Cacao-Bittered and Milk-Washed Antrim


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Last month, on our Bacchus bartending webpage, we shared a recipe for Milk-Washed Apple Cider. There, we promised to share the recipe for a milk-washed antrim cocktail that we made for a fabulous event using the same milk-washing technique. To make good on our promise, here is that recipe. Enjoy!

Cacao-Bittered & Milk-Washed Antrim

(makes 4 cocktails)


  • 6 oz cognac or brandy
  • 6 oz tawny port
  • ½ oz bitters (If that seems like a lot of bitter, it is! But trust us; the milk-washing process will smooth it all out in the end. Don't be afraid to use some strong flavors of bitters. We used cacao, coffee, oak, and tobacco.)
  • 3 oz whole milk
  • ½ oz lemon juice


  • 2 mason jars (or other similar container)
  • strainer
  • paper coffee filter
  • kitchen torch or lighter
  • fire-safe dish


  1. Combine cognac, port, and syrup bitters in a jar. Allow to marry for at least 2 hours.
  2. Put the milk in the second jar. Slowly pour in the liquor mix. Let rest for several minutes. Slowly add the lemon juice. The milk should begin to curdle. Stir until well mixed. Allow to stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (longer is preferred if possible).
  3. Filter the mix through a fine mesh strainer. Then strain through a rinsed paper coffee filter. The final product should be clear and golden colored. Serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon, fig, cherry, or other fruit as desired. This goes wonderfully paired with a bite of dark chocolate.

Eat and drink well!

Non-alcoholic variation:

Replace the brandy with 10 oz of apple cider. Replace the port with 2 oz of orange juice. If desired, you can simmer the juice mixture with winter/holiday spices in advance for an extra layer of flavor. Then simply prepare as described above.

October 11, 2023

Championship Chili


by Gary James

Bar Logistics Manager

When my family was young, we rented a home in the Sugar House area in Salt Lake City. The neighborhood was old, and the homes either belonged to elderly couples or were being rented by young folks like us. The LDS ward in our area was jokingly referred to as “Newly Wed or Nearly Dead.”

Our new (old) neighbors were quick to welcome us and invite us to church activities, including their annual chili cook-off. I wasn’t an especially good chili cook, but I found a recipe that seemed interesting because it used liquid smoke, and we made a batch to bring with us. The judging was done by a panel of sweet old ladies who had obviously been doing it for 50 years. They would take a nibble, nod at each other knowingly, and say, Oh, that’s Margaret’s. I can taste the chocolate,” or “Oooo, that one’s got a kick!”

At the end of the night, no one was more surprised than me when my chili took first place. I was careful not to make a big deal of winning because the dear old ladies didn’t seem very pleased that an outsider (a young whippersnapper, no less!) had taken their prize. Still, they were gracious and kind. One of them even offered to watch our baby son if we ever needed a sitter.

The story of the cook-off and my “Championship Chili” would have ended there, an odd little tale in our family history, if it weren’t for what happened next.

Bitter-Sweet Memories

A few months later, that same kind old lady was baby-sitting our son Connor when she found him in his crib, not breathing. In desperation, she called her son who came and tried to resuscitate Connor, but our baby was already gone. The poor woman was distraught. We were heartbroken and devastated.

It’s been over 20 years since those events, but I still make our family’s Championship Chili whenever my daughter Taylor requests it, which is often. Sometimes the smell and taste and texture of certain food is our strongest link to the past. And sometimes, when we go through the motions of preparing and sharing a meal, a part of ourselves is reborn.

To this day, every time I mix up a batch of this recipe I am flooded with the bitter-sweet memories of Connor, that house, and everything that happened there.

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Championship Chili

makes 20 servings


  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 yellow or orange peppers, chopped
  • (2) 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • (2-3) 10 oz cans of Rotel Tomatoes
  • (2) 15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans
  • (2) 15 oz cans of pinto beans
  • (2) 15 oz cans of black beans
  • 1 lb hardwood smoked thin bacon
  • 1½ lb ground beef
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin


  1. In a slow cooker/crock pot, add all chopped veggies, tomato sauce, and Rotel tomatoes. Drain all canned beans and add them to the pot.
  2. Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and fry in a pan until crispy. Add bacon and half the bacon fat into the pot. Add ground beef to the remaining bacon fat in the pan. Salt and pepper the ground beef, fully cook it, and drain off fat before adding the ground beef to the pot.
  3. Add chili powder, cumin, and minced garlic.
  4. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, then reduce heat for 1-2 hours.

Note: I also add fresh tomatoes to taste. If the smoked bacon doesn’t give enough of a smoky taste/scent, I add a dash of liquid smoke.

September 26, 2023



by Brantson Long

Bartender and Resident Globetrotter

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I’ve always been interested in food. Eating it. Cooking it. Even a little baking. When I was a kid, instead of watching cartoons, I watched Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef, or No Reservations. In fact, Anthony Bordain became a hero of mine.

I love Bordain’s advice that when you travel, you should eat where the locals eat and drink with them whenever you can. When I go somewhere, I always try to get off the beaten path and eat at places I can’t get at home. That’s why I found a tiny Mexican back-alley restaurant recommended by some rando in a bar, and a three-seat ramen shop in Kanazawa where I had the best ramen of my life! Sometimes you find what you’d never expect, like the sugar-glazed Asian-style wings at the Burr Trail Grill four hours from civilization on the side of a mountain outside Boulder, Utah.

The essence of Bordain’s advice (and the way he lived) was to be open to serendipity and to let food be a way to form connections. When I lived in Japan, I shared a lot of Japanese meals with people who became friends, but I also got to share a little American cuisine with them. Japanese people love American fast food! They would beg me to show them how to make “smashburgers.” Even though my Japanese wasn’t fluent yet and I had to rely on a lot of hand motions, it was always a great experience. And really, who doesn’t understand a juicy burger?

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(makes 2 burgers with 2 patties in each)


  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 potato buns
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • goat cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
  • mayonnaise
  • whole grain mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Form ¼ lb balls of ground beef and place into fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat cast iron pan or griddle to 500°F.
  3. Place burgers directly into pan and press flat using back side of spatula to ensure crust. (Patties should be as thin as possible without breaking apart.)
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for one minute or until the edges become crisp. Flip and cover with the Monterey Jack and goat cheese. Cook for an additional minute, then put burgers aside to rest.
  5. Toast potato buns in burger fat.
  6. Lay out bottom buns and dress with mayo. Assemble burger by stacking meat patty, arugula, lettuce, tomato, and second patty on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  7. Dress top bun with mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. Place it like a crown atop your American masterpiece. Enjoy your smashburgers!

September 12, 2023

Alpine Mule


by Danny Bonilla

Bartender and Executive Vice Party Animal

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When I was a teenager, my uncle would sometimes throw parties, and my family usually went. At one of those parties, I found myself all alone in the basement. Everyone else had gone to eat dinner, so it was just me and an open can of Bud Lite sitting on the coffee table in front of me.

This was my chance!

Even though I’d been around alcohol all my life, I’d never actually had a taste before. I picked up the can and gave it a sniff. It didn’t smell very good, but the temptation was irresistible. Checking to make sure no one was coming back down the stairs, I raised the can to my lips, held my breath, and took a big sip.

I nearly gagged. It was terrible! I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to drink something that tasted so bad. Right there on the spot, I decided that I never wanted to have another drink of alcohol my whole life.

It probably seems funny that someone who hates the taste of alcohol would become a bartender, but that’s exactly what I did. Years later, I started working behind the bar at Culinary Crafts events. At the first event I did at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, I was working with Ryan and Luis who showed me how to make a signature cocktail called an Alpine Mule. I figured if I was going to be mixing Alpine Mules all evening, I probably ought to know what one was supposed to taste like. I totally expected it would be disgusting, but for the second time in my life I held my breath and took a sip. To my surprise, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it tasted great!

I’ve mixed a lot of drinks since, at events or just with friends. There are a few other cocktails that I really like (Alan Starks makes a good Moscow Mule and I like Tyler’s Whiskey Sour), but my favorite is still that first cocktail that Ryan and Luis introduced me to, the Alpine Mule. It’s 1,000,000,000,000 percent better than Bud Lite.

Alpine Mule

(makes 1 serving)



  1. Fill a glass halfway with ice. (Mules are traditionally served in a copper mug to keep the drink cold, but if you want to see the blue color of this drink clearly, use a clear glass.)
  2. Add the vodka, curacao, ginger beer, and optional lime juice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with a wedge of lime or sprig of mint if you feel like getting fancy. Or just enjoy it like it is.

August 15, 2023

Apple Pie Bars: How to Win Friends and Influence Teachers


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Back in the day, at the start of a new school year, a shiny, polished apple was the way to win over your teacher. To be clear, we are not advocating acts of apple-related bribery. But…if you happened to send your young scholars back to school this year with a lunchbox full of delicious apple desserts (like, say, the recipe for amazing Apple Pie Bars below), they just might find themselves making instant friends and becoming their teachers' favorite. Just saying.

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Here at Culinary Crafts, we love finding ways to feature locally grown, in-season ingredients in our menus, and there are soooo many ways to enjoy the sweet abundance of Utah’s apple varieties that are ripening to perfection at this time of year. Apple-infused drinks. Apple butter. Apple chips. Crisps. Cobblers. Crumbles. Chutneys . Hors d’oeuvres. Cheeseboards, The uses for apples are limited only by the imagination. (Whoever said “You don’t make friends with salad” had never tried our Winter Greens with Apples, Beets, and Walnuts.)

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Of all the “apple-ications” you can make with this amazing fruit, some of our favorites are bite-size apple tarts, spicy ciders, and our own Hattie’s Apple Spice Cake.

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If you want to send your kids back to school ready to win a few points with their new classmates and teachers, we’ve got just the thing!



  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 large apples, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ⅓ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • salted caramel sauce (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Make the Crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. apple pie bars, crust, dough, pastry dough, cookie sheet, hand spreading dough, Culinary Crafts kitchen, baker working dough, how to make crust Bake for 25-30 minutes, then remove from oven. (As the crust bakes, you can prepare the filling and streusel.)
  3. Make the Apple Filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
  4. Make the Streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Turn oven up to 350°F. Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown. apple pie bars, streusel, apple slices, spreading the apple filling, roll the crust, spatula, oats, cinnamon, sugar, butter, flour, Culinary Crafts, Utah catering, catering Wasatch Front, best caterer in utah
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Lift the parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. After they are cut, you can make the dessert even more decadent by drizzling salted caramel sauce on top.

Pro Tips:

  • If you want even more of these delicious Apple Pie Bars, you can double the recipe and bake it in a 9x13 pan. Just make sure you pre-bake the crust for only 18 minutes (instead of 25-30) and then extend the baking time in Step 5 to 45-55 minutes (instead of 30-35).
  • The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. If you’re going to be storing the bars, avoid unnecessary mess by waiting to add the caramel sauce until you’re ready to serve them.
  • If you’re going to use only one type of apple, Granny Smiths are the way to go! They keep their shape beautifully when baked, and their wonderful tartness balances out the sugar in many baked desserts. For a fuller, more complex flavor, use two or more different types of apples; we like to combine a Granny Smith with a sweet variety like Pink Lady or Honeycrisp. Of course, the best guideline for choosing apples is to pick something ripe and fresh from one of our local growers.
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Where to Find Fresh Local Apples

Starting in August, Cherry Hill Farms in Alpine, Utah allows you to pick your own apples straight off the tree. You can’t get fresher than that! (Call ahead to check on availability.) And while you’re there, don’t miss their chocolate-covered cherries.

Throughout September, you can also pick your fill of apples at Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 AM to 7 PM. (Treat yo'self to their apple cider donuts and fresh apple cider slushies!)

Allred Orchards has been a local favorite on University Avenue in Provo for generations. We are huge fans of their fresh-pressed cider! Along with the classic apple types, they also grow some unusual varieties like Zestar and Mutsu.

McMullin Orchards in Payson grows half a dozen different varieties of apples including Fuji, Honey Crisp, and Ginger Gold, all of which make school lunch snacks that are delicious, nutritious, and expeditious!

Crandall’s Fruit Farm in Orem is a great place to get fresh Gala apples. For the 2023 season, call ahead to find out exactly when they’ll be opening.

Wishing all the best to you and yours at the start of a brand-new school year!

Eat well!

August 2, 2023

Mango Pulled Pork


by M Parker Reed

Event Manager

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When I was six, my parents taught me to cook my first recipe, which was Whacky Cake, also known as Great Depression Cake. Ever since then, I have loved to cook. When I am in the kitchen, I feel like the chef in Ratatouille who has a rat secretly telling him what to do. The voice in my head isn’t a rodent, obviously, but I have wondered if some past relative of mine is connecting with me from the other side, or if it's just an unconscious part of my psyche manifesting itself. Whatever it is that I feel when I’m cooking, it gives me peace and makes me feel centered, like I’m in the right place doing what I love.

It’s also cheap therapy.

Growing up, my favorite TV channel was always the Food Network, but along with cooking, I also loved the broader field of hospitality. I went to UVU to study Hospitality Management (with an emphasis in Event Planning), which is where I came into contact with Culinary Crafts. I ran into Clayton Price at a career fair and later interviewed Kaleb Crafts as part of an assignment. Starting in May 2022, I began working at Culinary Crafts.

I love the family culture here and the feeling I get from people that “I’ve got your back.” They really walk the talk and take excellent care of the clients as well as the team. I’ve especially appreciated the mentorship of Chris, Sara, Amber, Jinous, and others who have been so generous with their help. Even the owners take the time to teach and share their knowledge.

The recipe I want to share, Mango Pulled Pork, is a creation I developed for an assignment at UVU. My wife (who is very particular about her pulled pork) claims that this recipe is better than her mother’s, but I’d never dare to mention that to my mother-in-law.

Bon Appetit, darlings!

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Mango Pulled Pork

(Serves 2-3 people)


  • 2 lb pork roast
  • 1 can (11 oz) mango nectar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Mix 1 cup (not the whole can) of mango nectar with 1 cup of water. Add a dash of onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Pour mixture over the pork roast in a crockpot.
  2. Cook on high for 2 hours. Then semi-shred the pork, turn crockpot down to low, and cook for another 2 hours.
  3. Mix the remaining mango nectar with ketchup and brown sugar. Drain the pork and place it in a mixing bowl. Pour ketchup mixture over the pork.
  4. Season with a dash of pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir until evenly coated, then serve.

July 11, 2023

Guinness-Battered Onion Rings


by Joey Howard

Prep Chef

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My stepfather believed in a lot of things, but paying taxes was not one of them. He was retired from the Army, and he had his checks sent to PO boxes far away from our house so the government couldn’t track him down. We moved from state to state, running from the law and living waaaay off the grid.

For a while, we lived in a half-finished house in the middle of freaking nowhere in Montana, 35 miles from the nearest paved road. Once, when I was eight, the truck broke down and our parents had to walk over 100 miles into town to pick up the check. Mom took the two youngest kids with her and left the other four of us to fend for ourselves. They were gone three weeks.

We didn’t have a lot of food in the house, and after four days it was gone. We were able to catch a few fish from the tiny creek that ran through the property, but by the end of the first week it was completely fished out. My oldest brother took his 30-06 and tried to hunt, but there was no game anywhere around us, so he gave up. Then things got bad.

During the second week, we didn’t eat anything. I had blood sugar problems as a kid, so I started to get lethargic. It was like a dream where everything seemed hazy and nothing made sense. I would wake up at random times, look around, and then go back to sleep.

The Best Onion Ever!

Part way through the third week, we found a Vidalia onion in the cellar. I don’t remember which of us found it, but we were so excited that all four of us gathered around and ate the whole thing raw. It tasted so sweet and delicious!

I moved out when I was 16 and have lived on my own ever since, but I’ll never forget the experiences I had as a kid. My crazy childhood taught me how to rely on myself and get through hardships. It taught me to be patient and generous with other people because you never know what their life has been like.

It also made me appreciate food, especially when it’s cooked! And if it happens to be Guinness-Battered Onion Rings, that's the best!

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Guinness-Battered Onion Rings

makes 4 servings

(adapted from


  • canola oil, for frying
  • ½ Tbsp hot paprika
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 (14.9 oz) can Guinness beer
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • kosher salt


  1. Fill medium pot with oil 6 inches deep. Heat over medium high to 350°F.
  2. While oil is heating, line a baking sheet with paper towels for finished onion rings to drain.
  3. Trim ends from onions, peel, and cut into 1-inch-thick rings. Gently separate rings, discarding innermost rings and broken pieces.
  4. Dredge onion rings by coating them in corn starch and then gently shaking off the excess.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and hot paprika. In a small bowl, whisk together beer, mustard, and honey. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring well to combine. Batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
  6. Dip onion rings into batter one at a time, coating thoroughly. Shake off excess batter and carefully lower into hot oil. Cook small batches until dark golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes, turning once. Remove with a wire strainer and place on prepared baking sheet. (If you place the baking sheet in a warm oven, you can keep the fried onions warm as you finish your other batches.) Sprinkle lightly with salt while hot.
  7. Continue frying remaining onions in small batches. Once they’re all fried, serve immediately. Allow oil to cool completely before straining and storing.

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