CHAD GARDNER, Executive Chef and Owner of Dash and a Handful Catering, has a passion for exotic, bold spices and surprising flavors. In 2011, Chad founded Dash and a Handful Catering, a full service Catering, Craft Services and Special Event Company in Palm Springs.
“The name Dash and a Handful is an homage to my mom because that’s how she taught me to cook,” says Chad, “ With a dash of this and a handful of that.”
The culinary bug bit Chad at very young age. As far back as he can remember his mother worked in the kitchen creating wonderful meals for his family and for the customers of his family’s popular Sonoma County restaurants. By age 17, Chad was a cook in one of the restaurants when he realized that he wanted a career in the fine dining hospitality industry.
Chad’s first food and beverage job was at the five Star, five Diamond Four Seasons Clift Hotel in San Francisco where he worked alongside several notable chefs who, impressed with his unique approach to cooking, invited Chad to cook alongside them. He then moved across country to manage New York City’s Tuscan Square Restaurant, located in Rockefeller Center. Having assembled an impressive resume, he returned to his native Sonoma County and was promptly hired by John & Ash and Company in Santa Rosa, California.
It was his next job at Santa Rosa’s Zazu Restaurant & Farm that reawakened his passion for cooking. He found that Zazu co-owners Duskie Estes and John Stewart’s farm-to-table approach mirrored his own style of cooking and knew he wanted to cook on a more full time basis. However, he would work at the Applewood Inn Restaurant in Guerneville, California, and then move to Palm Springs for a prestigious Wine Director job before he officially got his degree in Culinary Arts. Chad began catering before he even had completed culinary school, and thus, Dash and a Handful was born.
Hailed a Culinary Artist, Chad is proud to offer his clients the culmination of his culinary experiences, blending global spices with classic techniques to create sumptuous global modern cuisine. He has over 20 years of fine dining hospitality experience, which enables him to create the ultimate five Star guest experience by taking care of all the details to make each event a memorable occasion. Listed as “Best of Yelp – Palm Springs – Personal Chefs”, Chad, a member of the James Beard Foundation, has seen his catering business more than triple in the past year.
“My mom cooked with love, so to me, cooking is love,” says Chad. ”And my clients can see that love in every dish I create.”
Chad is available for catering and event planning consultations at the Dash and a Handful studio by appointment only.