SHAKER LIFE | FALL 2017 35
The couple decided to make the move and Vicente soon found work in Cleveland’s
burgeoning restaurant scene, first with Doug Katz at fire in Shaker Square, then as
executive chef for Taste on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.
After his son was born, Vicente began contemplating a change. He’d been helping
out a caterer friend who was looking to wind down his business. “When he needed help
with a big party, he would call me,” says Vicente. Over time, the friend began referring his
customers to Vicente, who soon also started getting calls from new customers.
An added bonus: Vicente could spend more time with his son, since catering is mostly
a weekend affair. So, three years ago, Vicente officially launched his business, Flying Garlic.
Now he caters on the weekends and works as a personal chef during the week.
Vicente develops every menu from scratch for his clients. “We’ll work together.
You tell me what you have in mind, how many people, and anything else. Using the
information, I set up a menu and we’ll go back and forth until you are happy. Every menu
is different from the next. Everything is customized,” he explains.
He favors fresh, locally available ingredients, often shopping at area farmer’s
markets for his customers and growing his own herbs during the summer. “Everything is
fresh. I buy it and prepare it just for you,” he says.
And his repertoire isn’t limited to French cuisine, though he’s happy to prepare it
when asked, including French-inspired desserts, for which he has a particular fondness.
(Check out Flying Garlic’s Facebook page for a photo of a mouthwatering chocolate
tart with mascarpone Chantilly cream and salted caramel sauce he made for Teacher
Appreciation Week at Fernway School.)
Says Vicente, “It could be barbeque, Asian, Mexican, French, or whatever. It all
depends on what the customers want. I’m here to make them happy.”
For a recent event at the Transformer Station — the Ninth Annual Life Drawing
Competition — Vicente’s summer menu included watermelon “pizza” slices topped with
crumbled feta and fresh mint, a tomato-citrus gazpacho, and tacos with sautéed onions
and peppers, a cilantro pesto, and finished with a creamy chipotle sauce.
For a fundraiser for Save the Children last spring, it was red and golden beet
bruschetta with goat cheese and honey cream, zucchini salad with anchovy cream and
deviled eggs, a hearty beef bourguignon, and molten-style chocolate cake topped with
vanilla ice cream nestled between French-style tuiles and drizzled with a raspberry coulis.
His personal chef clients also get this
custom touch. A preliminary interview
helps Vicente figure out a client’s
preferences. Says Vicente, “If you lived
in Asia for ten years, then I can be pretty
sure you will enjoy this kind of food. Or if
you don’t like chicken, I will know to never
suggest a chicken dish.”
Menus are determined week by week.
“I send you suggestions and you make
your choices,” he explains.
Vicente then buys the groceries and
prepares the meal in his client’s kitchen.
Recent dishes have included a savory tuna
tart, chickpea tikka masala, and coconut
barley risotto — healthy, home-cooked
meals that await clients when they arrive
home from a busy day at the office.
“I label everything, put it in your
fridge, and you just need to warm it up,”
Vicente says. “The idea is to make your life
easier.” Visit flyinggarlic.com to learn more.