Some flavors that have been emerging at chef nights lately:
Morel mushrooms & Ramp butter w/ fresh herbs and shallots over pasta or on rustic toast points
Lots of experimentation with sweet and savory purees,
We are enjoying blending Japanese and Mediterranean styles lately,
Smoked Trout Salad w/ Watercress / Radicchio / Radish / Marcona almond & Cool, Creamy Dill and thyme dressing
Lamb & Chorizo Sausage with Fennel, Beans & sweet Onions in a lemon / Yoghurt dressing,
Miso poached salmon, Lima bean and Mushroom soup,  
Grilled Fish and Season Vegetables and fresh lemon zest aioli
Paella MIxta - Camarones a la Basque (with Pernod)
Roasted rack of Lamb with herbed Cannellini Beans
Ratatouille - Gazpacho - Vietnamese 'Bo la lot'
Farro / Feta / Fava / Mint salade - simple Pan Fried Zucchini 
our Focus is on French wines this season - Floral and Mineral White Wines & supple Reds
" Tout pour le plaisir "

Poi dog pondering founder & singer; Frank Orrall loves to cook
& loves dinner parties  
If you are interested in hiring "Chef Franc" 
to bring the groceries, wine & bring the guitar to your house  
to cook and sing for your dinner party    


Chef Franc:  Gypsy Chef and Troubadour Night Diner Party

"The Gypsy / Hobo / Troubadour, Bon Vivant life"

(Flavorful food & Inspiring wine to fuel the dinner table Conversation & living-room Music)

We love dinner parties. 

We love what happens when friends and family come together over food and drink. 

Standing in the kitchen, chopping, talking, sipping wine. Preparing, Serving. 

Everyone all together at the dinner table enjoying flavors and conversation. 

The guitars coming out of their cases and the songs drifting into the night air. 

A satisfied belly, a dream pondered and a song in the heart. 

 At the core of the concept of the Chef Nights are 4  things:  

 Good food, Good wine, Conversation & Music.  


" La Cuisine du Marché " : Our Menu selection is inspired by what looks good and Fresh at the Market


 Our Food Shopping Priorities are:     

 Super Fresh ingredients: Locally grown / Seasonal and Organic  

 Sustainably sourced seafood, & humanely handled, hormone free meats;    

 Prepared with an international flare & diverse flavor combinations   

Drawing on the flavors of: 


& pared with interesting wines from around the world. 






photo by:  Agnieszka Kulon

Chef Franc: 

(A.K.A. Frank Orrall / "el Dandy"):

Born in New Mexico, raised in Hawai'i. Touring with Poi Dog Pondering and Thievery Corporation has taken Frank Around the world; from Morocco to Turkey to Brazil to Japan... 

A self taught musician, poet & chef;  with a strong passion for the international flavor. Likes to eat well, travel, laugh & sing. 

Chef Franc's Sous Chefs for larger parties & Road Adventures


Sous Chef / Musician: 

Gilles Aniorte-Tomassian: 

Born and raised in France. Gilles moved to Mexico city for 15 years before relocating to Chicago. We lovingly call him the "Frenchican". 

Gilles also has Spanish & Armenian roots. All these influences and more come into flavor the food and atmosphere of the Chef Nights. Gilles and Frank share the passion for adventure & have a band together called: "Los Inmortales de Chicago". 

Ô toi, quiconque sois, qui passes,  (O you whoever are, and pass)
Sur sa fosse répands des tasses,  (on his grave spread cups)
Répands du brit et des flacons,  (spread Brie and bottles)
Des cervelas et des jambons.  (sausages and hams)

"Following the ghosts of Kerouac and Escoffier having a conversation under a dirty moon, 

Poi Dog Pondering frontman Frank Orrall received the raison d'être;  of cooking home diners and 

playing living room acoustic music for enlightened friends and bon vivants from Chi-Town to the world…

He then added a cooking knife in his guitar case and went hobo in the streets and waterways of America 

to spread the good flavored-word on grilled slices of French bread.

he will bring the poetry of this life into the safety of your own home, invite a few friends and soul mates, 

cut the TV off, light a candle, set the table…. guess who’s knocking at your door…"

                                         By: Gilles Aniorte-Tomassian


Sous Chef  / Musician: 

Sean Coffey:  "Sean-dinista"

Born and raised in Hawai'i. As the the original Poi dog pondering drummer, Sean and Frank toured North America together extensively. Sean spent a decade in Berlin, then a few years in Montreal before relocating recently to Austin. Sean is a soulful traveler who brings his philosophical / rascal heart with him. 


Sous Chef / Musician: 

Mariko Usui:  "Coco" 

Born & raised in Sapporo Japan, Coco has also spend a great deal of time living in Hawai'i & now lives in Chicago. She is very creative with flavors, and carrys a wonderful knowledge of tasty Japanese dishes. 


Sous Chef / Musician: 

Charlette Wortham:  "Truffy" 

Born & raised in Chicago, Charlette has also spend a great deal of time in France. She is a world ambassador of love, and also a Poi Dog Pondering Member (Singer/percussionist). 


Sous Chef: 

Carolynn Travis:  "Chaka" 

Born & raised in Detroit, then Moved to Chicago. Chaka has steadfastly been Poi Dog Pondering's chief Consiglieri. Chaka and Frank frontiered the Chef nights, and tho she is busy with her Solo Music and her work in hearing protection service, she sometimes still comes out and swings a knife for the chef nights. 


Sous Chef / Musician: 
Susan Voelz:  "Susqua" 
Born & raised in Wisconsin, Schooled in Bloomington then Moved to and spent foundational time in New Orleans & Austin. Susan and her Violin are one of the signature sounds of poi dog pondering. She likes good wine, and pretends like she doesn't eat bacon.


1 to 9 people

$500 + $50 (per person for Food and Wine)

10 to 15 people

$500 + $50 (per person for Food and Wine) + $250 for my Sous Chef

12 to 22 people

$500 + $50 (per person for Food and Wine) + $500 for 2 Sous Chefs)

23 or more people begins to lose intimacy, but it is is still possible - email me to discuss 


To inquire about booking Chef Franc and Friends to Cook for your dinner party, Send Franc an email letting him know what City you are in and what approximate date you would like: email 


Here are a few basic questions that will help us plan your dinner: 

Food & wine: I usually decide on the menu a few days before or even day of once I'm in the store and see what looks fresh and good.  But I am happy to follow any direction you want. 

I notice that my tastes generally fall in these 3 areas: 


Pacific Ocean: (Combo of: Hawaiian / Thai / Japanese / Vietnamese)

Mediterranean: (Combo of: French /  Spanish /  Italian / Greek / Moroccan)

South Atlantic: (Combo of: Brazil / Argentina / Caribbean )


If any of those stand out to you, let me know. Or, if you want me to decide, I am happy to. 


Any food restrictions, dis-likes or preferences?


Here's a few questions that would be helpful to know: 


what is the address?

How many guests?

What time do the guests arrive?

What time do you want to eat?

Can I arrive 4 hours before dinner to prepare?


Do you have these things in your kitchen? (not that we need these, just good to know either way)


* Oven

* Blender or food processor

* roasting pan

* 1 or 2 fryng pans

* Large pot for boiling water

* Strainer

* a few mixing bowls

* Do you have a Grill? (not that we need one, just good to know)

(Frank & Gilles love to travel, so If you live outside the Chicago area, This is not a problem. But, transportation is a special consideration.

But we can discuss that when the time comes, and find the best solution for everyone.)

Thank you!







If you are interested in hiring Chef Franc & Friends
to bring the groceries, wine & bring the guitar to your house  
to cook and sing for your dinner party    


Last year's Chef night adventures Took us all across north america
for 3 month long dinner party tours - it was quite an adventure! :))