Black Velvet

Black Velvet

Only two days left in 2011.  Wow!  Where did the year go?  Given all of the excitement that occurred this year, I guess I can see how time would just fly past me.  In addition to a rigorous full time job, an active dating life and numerous social engagements, I managed to accomplish the following:

  1. Food Styling & Photography Workshop with Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson
  2. West Elm event #1 – The Host with the Most
  3. Kitchen Konfidence LIVE, in home cooking classes and demonstrations
  4. My 1st video – Peach Ginger Sangria
  5. Wes & Kayleen’s Wedding – 140 guests, 5 appetizers
  6. My 2nd video – Yucatan-Style Slow-Roasted Pork
  7. West Elm event #2 – Greater San Diego Business Association Mixer
  8. Coastal Road Trip: San Diego, CA to Guernville, CA
  9. Thanksgiving 2011
  10. The Home Distiller’s Handbook, my first cookbook photography project
  11. West Elm event #3 – Holiday Entertaining

2011 was about pushing my own limits.  Diving out of my comfort zone and seeing how far I could go.  Several days before my first West Elm event, I remember thinking to myself, “Gosh, food for 70 people, how can I do this?”  I had hosted many dinner parties at my house leading up to that moment; however, the max attendance was normally around 30 people.  Not 70!  With the help of a friend (Sous Chef Pryor, for those of you who follow me on twitter), I was able to prepare all of the food and execute a successful live demonstration.  I remember being so proud of myself as I drove home that evening.  My next milestone was Wes & Kayleen’s Wedding.  140 guests, 5 appetizers, no additional help in the kitchen.  Continue reading for more of my thoughts on 2011, a fab recipe for Black Velvet and a list of winners of last week’s cookbook giveaway.

Many months before Wes & Kayleen’s wedding, the two approached me at my Cinco de Mayo party, asking if I would cook the appetizers for their wedding.  I told them that I was honored but nervous to cook for so many.  I didn’t want to screw up their special day!  Wes & Kayleen then said to me “You may not believe in yourself right now, but we believe in you.”  I was really touched.  I once again made it through the event successfully, beaming from ear to ear by the end of the night.  So when West Elm came to me in November asking for drinks and desserts for 200, I confidently said yes.


Push yourself.  The best advice that I can give you based on my experiences in 2011.  Stop dreaming of what you want to do in life and get out and actually do it!  Confidence will come in time (if not already there).

With that, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on 2011 by saying thanks to the many wonderful people in my life.  To my loving and supportive family.  To the most amazing group of friends.  To the many Kitchen Konfidence readers.  Thank you and Happy New Year!


And the randomly selected winners of last week’s giveaway are:

Joey [Comment 42]

Matthew [Comment 12]

Cindy B [Comment 38]

Ann P [Comment 3]

RoChele [Comment 48]

Congratulations!  I will be contacting each of you via email to coordinate sending out the books.  If you have not responded by 11:59pm on Wednesday, January 4, I will need to select another winner.  Much thanks to all who participated.

Continue reading below for the Black Velvet recipe.  Dark stout beer meets effervescent sparkling wine in this intriguingly simple cocktail.  A delicious addition to your New Year’s Eve celebration.  Cheers!

Black Velvet

Black Velvet
Adapted from here.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 1 drink
  • 1 part Guinness, chilled (I used 1 1/2 oz.)
  • 1 part Prosecco or sparkling wine, chilled (I used 1 1/2 oz.)
  1. Fill a champagne flute halfway with Guinness. Hold a small spoon (with the back, convex side facing up) over the flute. Slowly pour the Prosecco over the spoon and into the flute until filled. Using the spoon will keep the Guinness and the Prosecco from mixing.


  1. says

    Brandon you’ve had an amazing year! And if I were to list one or two of the top events/things I did of the year…it would be that one day with Matt & Adam. It was…awesome! Plus I got to meet you.

    And thank you for the cookbook…the pictures, your work, is just…STUNNING!!!!! Major congrats, again!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks again Averie :)!

      I really did enjoy that day with Matt & Adam. Hoping to do another workshop this year. Or maybe a convention!

  2. says

    AHHH I am so excited–this is the first thing I’ve ever won a blog before! I can’t wait to mix up some amazing flavored liquors, oooh yes :)
    Brandon, I’m so glad I found your blog this year when googling “san diego food blogs.” I don’t know how to otherwise describe it, but your “taste aesthetic” is right up my alley and it’s been so fun following these past few months! Plus it’s so awesome knowing and supporting a fellow food blogger from SD. I am so excited to see what you have in store for 2012! Bet you’re cooking up something GOOD.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      I really appreciate all the love and support! Thanks again Ann :) I do have some fun things planned for 2012!

  3. says

    I think we all need to be reminded to get out of our comfort zone of complacency and push ourselves! You accomplished a great deal—cudos—I am impressed and more than a little envious!! Happy New Year!

  4. says

    Hi Brandon –

    I just discovered your blog and realized you were in San Diego. I’m in Orange County. :) Looks like you had a great 2011, and 2012 will be even better! Congrats on pushing your limits! It feels gratifying, yes?! I made my first wedding cake in November and fed 180 people with it. I was a nervous wreck but the bride believed in me. Sometimes, that’s just the push you need.

    Happy New Year!


    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Kim!

      A wedding cake for 180!? Wow… that must have been a big cake 😉 Glad to hear you had a similar experience.

      I love the OC by the way. Recently visited Newport for the first time. So beautiful!


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