Amy Jurist: Amy’s Culinary Adventures, Beautiful Plating and Curried Chicken Salad with Cucumber Cups

Taste Buds with Deb - Episode 60
June 12, 2024

Chef Amy Jurist, Amy’s Culinary Adventures, has had a passion for cooking since she was a child.

“My earliest food memory is customizing food for my parents, when they were still together,” Jurist, who needed to take out her little step stool to cook, told the Journal. “My mom liked her scrambled eggs more firm and my dad liked them very soft.”

This experience exemplifies what she loves about cooking, which is making specific things for different people. Potential catering clients email Jurist, asking for her menu. She doesn’t have one.

“I send lots of choices,” Jurist said. “Each person will get 40 or 50 different appetizer choices and like 40 different mini dessert options, because choosing the menu is the most exciting part.”

Jurist loves when she sends so many options that people can’t decide.

“That means that I’m hitting all the different taste buds and they really can create the menu of their dreams,” she said.

Jurist worked in advertising and marketing for many years before pursuing a career in the culinary arts. After taking cooking classes in France, Switzerland and Los Angeles, she formalized her training at the Westlake Culinary Institute, before receiving a professional Pastry Certificate at Academy of Culinary Education. Amy’s Culinary Adventures is in its 20th anniversary year.

“I wouldn’t be able to be where I am and wouldn’t be able to do what I do, if I hadn’t had that marketing and advertising background,” she said. “Just because you’re a chef doesn’t mean that you can be a caterer; there’s a lot more to it.”

Not only does she like the marketing part of her catering business, she enjoys the instant gratification of cooking. Creating ads takes months.

“You make some food in a saute pan and you serve it to someone and they’re so excited to eat it,” she said, “And they tell you right away how much they love the food or the presentation.”

Jurist likes to find very unique ways to present food. “And I try to make everything look fun,” she said. “You don’t have to have food just sitting on a white plate.”

For instance, Jurist takes a wooden box, puts a plate in the middle and surrounds it with moss and fresh flowers.

“It looks like the food is sitting in a garden,” she said. “I love how beautiful it is, how different it is and [how] we can change the flowers, based on whatever the color theme is for whatever event.”

Jurist’s recipe for curried chicken salad with cucumber cups is below.

Another way to uplevel your presentation is to stack the food, rather than separate the meat, potatoes and vegetables on the plate.

“Make it look like it’s from a restaurant,” she said. “You put that little mound of your mashed potatoes down first, then four or five stems of asparagus diagonally across that and then put your chicken, your salmon, whatever on top of that; then [place] your sauce around it.”

It’s that simple.

Jurist, who loves all food, has strong opinions about some Jewish favorites: They deserve to live outside of its “trapped little holiday.”

“Latkes deserve to be eaten throughout the year, and they’re like trapped in sad, little December,” she said. “They should live in March, and June is good; there’s never a bad time for a potato pancake.”

And then there’s brisket,

“When I think of brisket, I think of my mom’s heavy wine, onion brisket, not barbecue brisket,” she said. “I don’t even drink wine, but I love that heavy wine taste in food.”

And every time she makes her dad’s favorite salad, she can’t help but think of him.

While Jurist’s parents passed away over 35 years ago, cooking keeps that connection strong.

“That love of good food and sharing it with other people [really] translates into what I do now,” she said.

Follow @ChefAmyJ on Instagram and learn more at AmysCulinaryAdventures.com.

For the full conversation, listen to the podcast:

Amy’s Curried Chicken Salad in Cucumber Cup

Photo by Amy Jurist

Even if you think you don’t like curry, try this. I swear you’ll like it! This is a great gluten-free make-ahead party appetizer! This chicken salad lasts for quite a few days. Once you make the cucumber cups, use the remaining chicken salad for sandwiches! It’s perfect in a toasted croissant. Make this vegan by replacing the chicken with hearts of palm and using vegan mayo!


6 large Persian cucumbers

1 store-bought roasted chicken (I usually use Costco’s because they’re bigger and cheaper); shred the breast meat and chop up into small pieces

1/4-1/3 cup mayo (you can also use fat free mayo)

2-3 Tbl of Madras curry powder (Sun Brands is my favorite)

1/2 + 1/3 cup of sweet mango chutney (remove the pieces of mango, finely mince it and return to the chutney)

1/2 cup red onions, finely minced

1/2 cup celery, minced

Salt and pepper

½ bunch of chives, minced


Make the Cucumber Cups:

Slice off the ends of the cucumbers. Then score each cucumber with 4-5 stripes using the channel knife of a citrus zester

Slice the striped cucumbers into ¾” chunks.

Then take a mini melon baller and scoop out a little well in the middle of each piece. Be careful not to go all the way thru to the bottom or the filling will fall out!

You can make these 1 day ahead. Store them in a container upside down with paper towels on the bottom and between each row.

Make the Chicken Salad:

Mix the rest of the ingredients (except for the other ⅓ cup of chutney) together in a bowl. Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Note: The cucumber will mellow out a lot of the flavor, so I like to make the chicken salad almost “over flavored” to account for it.

Put the chicken salad in a piping bag. Or take a large Ziplock bag and cut a hole small enough so it doesn’t come out too fast, but not so small that nothing comes out. Sometimes when it’s too small, you get a lot of juice and not the actual chicken salad.

Pipe a mound of chicken salad into each cup. You can do this 1-2 hours ahead of serving.

Put the second 1/3 cup of Mango chutney in another piping bag. Snip off the end to create a small hole. Just before serving, pipe a little squirt of chutney on top of the mound of chicken salad. (This can not be done ahead of time, as it will slide off.)

Sprinkle a couple of chives on top of the chutney and serve!

Debra Eckerling is a writer for the Jewish Journal and the host of “Taste Buds with Deb.Subscribe on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Email Debra: tastebuds@jewishjournal.com.

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