By Executive Chef Paul Marks
Believe it or not, we will actually cook for dogs that stay at the Hotel Bellevue. I remember years ago when my first canine room-service order came into the kitchen—I was horrified that I was cooking for a dog.
Nowadays, that has become the norm. We’ve even contemplated a doggie room service menu. However, people are all over the map with what they will feed their dogs. The most common request is for a bowl of steamed rice with chicken stock and shredded chicken. Someone even requested a bowl of peanut butter for a dog’s birthday. I won’t tell you what it was mixed with.
Some people in life are just dog people. Their dogs are literally part of the family—not just some pet in the backyard. Confession time: my wife and I happen to be those kinds of people. We do not have children, so our dogs are our family.
Do I open a can of smelly gelatinous dog food for my beloved terriers, Izzy (Irish Terrier) and Hopkins (Airedale)? No—at least not since the contaminated dog food scare many years ago. I’ve found that many dog foods are more than 30 percent wheat or corn filler, items that dogs were not meant to have as the primary part of their diet. Instead, I’ve got Izzy and Hopkins on my own diet that I’m comfortable making on a regular basis.
I am a bit eccentric in this way and might garner some eye rolls, but dogs are carnivores so I cook things that are mostly meat with some grain and veggies in their diet. I typically make a fortified chicken stock with cubed carrots, celery, and whatever leftover veggies I have (anything starting to turn in my refrigerator I cut up and freeze). I place the mixture in a quart-size freezer bag for convenience. About once a week I make brown rice or barley in the rice cooker with the chicken stock. I’m also always searching for sales on chicken and salmon bellies from seafood markets—the oil and omega-3s are very good for their digestion and coats. If chicken thighs go on sale, I poach them in the broth, cube, then freeze. If it is salmon bellies, I roast them in the oven, then crumble and freeze.
When it’s time for dinner, I mix the broth with veggies and the crumbled chicken or salmon. For healthier skin and coats, I also add fish oil or bacon grease. In addition, I feed them a well-balanced kibble that is high in protein.
All this is really no more expensive than buying quality canned food, and your dog avoids all the fillers. Dogs will actually eat less of the food that is good for them because it takes less of the good stuff to fuel their bodies.
For snacks or treats, Izzy and Hopkins get apple slices, bits of cheese, raw carrots and strawberries. I can’t even peel a banana in front of Hopkins without having to give him half.
There are others that believe in a strict raw diet, but for my lifestyle it doesn’t work.
Bellevue Club Purchasing Manager Joyce Combs has two beloved malamutes named Cayenne and Chimo. She feeds them a raw diet by saving all leftover raw veggies and grinding them with barley, chicken necks, flax seeds, tomato paste, garlic and more.
I have called the breeders that we have acquired dogs from and inquired about the raw diet. They suggest it for the dog’s health, but do not start out their puppies on this diet due to the fact that most people prefer buying dog food.
Hop & Izzy Dinner
1 cup boiled poultry, chopped (Note: salmon may occasionally be substituted for boiled poultry)
½ cup cooked brown rice
½ cup boiled mixed vegetables
3 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted chicken broth
Stir together and serve at room temperature. A good doggy multivitamin/mineral supplement may be added for good measure. Be sure to store unused portions in a covered container in the refrigerator and discard leftovers after three days.
Executive Chef: Paul Marks | firstname.lastname@example.org