Category Archives: Events

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest 2017 – March 16-19

GourmetFest Relais Chateaux Food Fashionista

It’s approaching that time of year again when a group of highly-celebrated chefs, winemakers and guests from around the globe gather together in the serene, picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California for a joyous weekend celebrating the best of gastronomy and wine.

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

2017 marks the fourth year of the Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest culinary festival, and this year’s event will include more than 18 renowned Relais & Châteaux Chefs from across the globe including Daniel Boulud (Daniel), Michael Tusk (Quince), Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Chris Kajioka (Senia), Shin Takagi (Zeniya), Nathan Rich (Twin Farms), Cassidee Dabney (Blackberry Farm), Per Hallundbaek (Falsely Kro) and more. From the opening night Welcome Party, to the Grand Finale Dinner, and everything in between, the R&C GourmetFest events always provide a unique, high-level experience for their guests. There are many food events and festivals in existence now, and having  been to many of them, I can assure you that GourmetFest is definitely quality and substance over quantity and hype.

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Wine

In addition to food, there’s an impressive list of Winemakers scheduled to attend include Dominique Lafon (Domaine des Comte Lafon), Aurélien Valance (Château Margaux), Thierry Gasco (Chef de Cave at Champagne Pommery), Philippe Prost (Bouchard Pere & Fils), Dominique Lafon (Domaine des Comte Lafon) and Cyril Chappellet for a special tribute to the late Donn Chappellet and tasting to celebrate 50 years of Chappellet, which includes the ultra-rare and iconic 1969 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon. Sommeliers Larry Stone, Raj Parr and Jeff Kellogg will lead tasting panels supported by over 30 of the nation’s top Sommeliers in attendance.

Myconian Korali

The four-day festival also includes an online auction which features many luxurious getaways and dining experiences benefitting the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, CSU Monterey Bay hospitality program, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Rancho Cielo. You can check out the auction here,

GourmetFest Carmel..

 For more information and to Purchase Tickets, visit: Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest.

 

 

 

VIMMIA Activewear – Wear Good and Do Good

Mika Takeuchi VIMMIA Lifestyle Blog

On a recent afternoon in cities across the U.S. – New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., stylish activewear brand VIMMIA partnered with Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation, a non-profit organization created by Shriver, on their initiative, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge, which recognizes that women are the epicenter of the global Alzheimer’s epidemic and challenges organizations to do cutting-edge research on women’s brains to defeat this mind-blowing disease. On this health-focused afternoon, people of all shapes and sizes gathered at their local Equinox for a half day of yoga, cardio boxing and meditation along with seminars on nutrition, sleep, and Alzheimer’s education.

MariaShriver - VIMMIA - Food Fashionista

The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge partners with leading researchers, scientists and major non-profit organizations to create landmark Alzheimer’s research funds to finance gender-specific research on women’s brains and challenges women and men to get educated, engaged and empowered to defeat this mind-blowing disease. Through the partnership, one dollar from every legging sold through May 30, 2017 will go directly to The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge.

“At VIMMIA, we have been dedicated to health, fitness and philanthropy since our founding.” says Ardy Raminfar, VIMMIA Founder and Creative Director. “The physical and mental wellbeing of women is at the core of our business and philanthropy model, and we are proud to partner with Maria Shriver and A Woman’s Nation to help fund research for this devastating disease.”

Mika Takeuchi Food Fashionista VIMMIA

I love my luxe VIMMIA activewear including the VIMMIA Wind Jacket. It’s so versatile, that I could and do wear it in and out of the yoga studio. I wore it above on a recent summer day in Paris’ Le Marais district. It’s also lightweight enough to throw into a small purse and proved to be quite weatherproof on a recent afternoon when it shielded me from the sudden pouring rain on the Champs Élysées.

For more info on VIMMIA, visit vimmia.com

For more info on Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge, visit thewomensalzheimerschallenge.org

 

Michelin Guide 2017 North America Announcement Dates

Michelin Guide 2017 Dates North America

Fall is here and that means it’s time for the North American Michelin Guides to soon be announced and released. This year marks a very exciting time since there will be a new U.S. city added to the red guide map with a brand new guide being introduced for Washington D.C. Other current cities include San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

Here are the 2017 Michelin Guide North America announcement dates:

Washington D.C. – October 13, 2016

San Francisco – October 25, 2016

Chicago – November 2, 2016

New York – November 17, 2016 

Celebrate Grower Champagne Every Monday at 1760 – San Francisco

1760 Inside-3

1760 Restaurant Wine Director Gianpaolo Paterlini and I share something special in common. We both have an intense passion for bubbles. So fortunately for myself, and everyone else who loves drinking the sparkly stuff, Gianpaolo and the restaurant host Grower Champagne Monday every week in San Francisco,– when all bottles of Champagne are 20% off.

For those of you curious what Grower Champagnes are, they are sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France. They are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grape comes, in contrast to using grapes sourced and blended from a variety of vineyards. Think of Grower Champagnes as the farm-to-table of sparkling wines – rich in terroir, unique and complex.

The evening I was at 1760, the neighborhood Polk Street restaurant’s bar and tables were full of locals and industry folks enjoying dinner with their bottles of bubbly.

Order some bites from Chef Carl Foronda’s menu, and relish in 1760’s eclectic and extensive Champagne list and you’re all set. Mondays in San Francisco just got a whole lot better. Cheers and à votre santé!

Here are a few of the bites and bottles we enjoyed on our 1760 Grower Champagne Monday visit…

imageCôte de Blancs – Veuve Fourny & Fils, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008

imageMushroom Tempura. celery root. meyer lemon oil. dill

imageVallée de la Marne – Moussé Fils, Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut ‘Special Club’ 2009

imageRoasted Baby Carrots. tamarind-lime. crispy mung beans

imageMontagne de Reims – Jean Lallement, Champagne Brut ‘Tradition’ NV

imageCavatelli. mushroom-fennel. charred broccolini

image

Vallée de la Marne – Laherte Frères, Champagne Rosé de Saignee Extra Brut Les Beaudiers NV

DSC_8646

“If I could only drink one type of wine for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Champagne. I love Nebbiolo and Riesling and the incredible complexity and diversity they both offer, but for me, Champagne trumps them both. Especially Grower Champagne…” – Gianpaolo Paterlini, 1760 Wine Director

 

For more info, visit Growers Champagne Mondays 

See 1760 Restaurant’s Champagne list HERE

 

(first and last photo credit: Wes Rowe)

Farmers Market Luncheon at Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

Manresa Cooking Demo GourmetFest

Even after the last course was served, guests couldn’t stop talking about the Farmers Market Lunch at Relais & Châteaux’ GourmetFest in Carmel-by-the-Sea. With a four-course menu from a quartet of well-accomplished chefs from California, Vermont (United States) and Sapporo (Japan) it was a highly motivating reason to wake up that breezy, beachside morn

David Kinch Cooking Demo Relais Chateaux GourmetFestPrior to the luncheon, Chef David Kinch (Manresa) presented a cooking demo and book signing at La Playa Hotel’s well-manicured courtyard where he walked guests through the components and preparation of his signature “Into the Garden” course in the outdoor Gaggenau kitchen. During the session, he shared insightful thoughts on current matters in the restaurant industry including the growing concern of American diners requesting to make menu modifications, that are non-health related, but strictly out of personal tastes. He said that on a nightly basis, they’ll often have to create seven different menus in addition to the one he has in place for his restaurant because of these adjustments. For a chef of a restaurant with a staff/guest ratio of 35 to 50 mentioning that this is an apparent issue, it must indeed be a concern that many restaurants and chefs are now facing. In fact, later at the GourmetFest luncheon I witnessed a guest who had requested vegetarian for their courses, but then was eating the beef from the person’s plate next to them. Considering how much extra work, time and cost goes into making these changes in the kitchen, it’s an interesting subject that I’m sure will soon have to be confronted.

Chef David Kinch Relais Châteaux

During the demo Q&A, an audience member asked Chef Kinch how he felt about having recently attained three stars in the Michelin Guide. He emphasized the great honor, responsibility and importance of being in the guide and mentioned that the star recognition has led to an increase in nightly guests from Europe and Asia to his South Bay restaurant. He said that back in the day he was curious about having his restaurant in San Francisco, but now truly believes that there is nowhere else he’d rather be than in Los Gatos. And along with the thrill and excitement of having been awarded three stars, he shared how terrifying it can be since from here you either stay at three or go down. He shared a past conversation in which Chef Joel Robuchon told him, “Michelin has given us stars for the moment – they are on loan. We do not have them.”  That sentiment has resonated with him until this day and reminds and inspires him daily to know that just because you attain the Michelin stars, you must continually work hard and evolve with your team to maintain them and not ever take them for granted.

Manresa David Kinch Into the Garden Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

First Course: Chef David Kinch (Manresa)’s “Spring Vegetable ‘Royale,’ Into the Garden”

During the demo, we witnessed Chef Kinch misting nasturtium powder on the cool, warm, raw, vibrant, “green and bitter” dish that is served as the second course on Manresa’s tasting menu. At the restaurant, this dish is specifically paired alongside a beer within the optional beverage pairing.

Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena 2014

At GourmetFest, the “Into the Garden” dish was paired with Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena 2014

David Fink Relais Châteaux Gourmet Fest Carmel

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest Founder David Fink at the Farmers Market Luncheon

Nathan Rich Twin Farms Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

Second Course: Chef Nathan Rich (Twin Farms)’ Hambsch Farm Head Cheese with Beetroot, Vermont Cheddar, Apple, Mustard Seed and Twin Farms Maple Syrup – I never thought I’d enjoy head cheese this much, but one can never say never.

Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, Franz and Angela Inselkammer

Charles and Rose Ann Finkel (The Pike Brewing Company, Seattle) and Franz and Angela Inselkammer (Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying & Ayinger Brewery, Bavaria )

Ayinger Celebrator Brewery

Chef Rich’s exqusitie Head Cheese course was paired with both the Ayinger Celebrator and the Pike Post Alley Porter beers. I appreciated that the festival showcased the featuring of high-quality beer pairings as a match with fine cuisine.

GourmetFest Carmel

Chefs from Aubergine (Carmel) and Molière (Sapporo) collaborating In the kitchen above. During the entire GourmetFest, all the local and visiting Relais & Châteaux chefs worked together to prepared and plate the courses out as a team. The family spirit was very high and present in the kitchen.

Restaurant Molière Wagyu Beef GourmetFest

Hokkaido Wagyu on a bed of pine presented and served tableside for the third course from the Restaurant Molière team from Sapporo, Japan. Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi’s son Hirokazu has been working at Noma for the last year and a half and mentioned to me that he was inspired to present the Wagyu with the pine due to his time spent at Noma.

Restaurant Molière Sapporo Wagyu Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi (Restaurant Molière)’s Hokkaido Wagyu Fliet with Charred turnip, and Wasabi paired with the local Bay Area Mount Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains 2006.

Relais Châteaux GourmetFestThe desserts are coming…

Stephy Prida Dessert ManresaChef Stephanie Prida (Manresa)’s Satsuma Creamsicle with Fennel Fronds and Graham Cracker
Williams Selyem, Gewurztraminer GourmetFestDessert was paired with Williams Selyem, Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, “Vista Verde” Tres Pinos 2014 

Stephy Prida and Nathan Rich Relais Châteaux GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Stephy Prida (Manresa) and Nathan Rich (Twin Farms)

Angela Inselkammer Mika Takeuchi Food Fashionista GourmetFest Carmel

Clean plates and huge smiles are a true indicator of a successfully executed meal. A glass in each hand is also a good sign that you are thoroughly enjoying the beverage pairings. Earlier in the day at the demo, Chef David Kinch talked about how “dishes that are well balanced linger in people’s minds.” All four courses of the Farmers Market lunch delivered that goal with chefs exceeding expectations with each of their presented dishes and the winemakers and breweries harmonizing a well-matched pairing for each.

 

For more information, visit GourmetFest Carmel and Relais & Châteaux

 

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest at Carmel-by-the-Sea

Chef Michel Bras Olivier Roellinger Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

The third annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest returns to postcard-perfect Carmel-by-the-Sea on the weekend of February 25-28. And as in previous years, you will find the most illustrious names in food and wine descending upon California’s Monterey Peninsula. This year’s culinary celebration will feature 17 Relais & Châteaux chefs from around the world participating in a total of 18 unique events spread throughout the weekend. In addition to the showcased gastronomy, carmaker BMW will have some of their newest cars on display during the occasion; and several renowned wineries will be pouring rare vintages.

Relais Chateaux GourmeFest

Pastry Chef Liz Miller Blackberry Farm Ron Mendoza Aubergine

Pastry Chefs Liz Miller (Blackberry Farm) and Ron Mendoza (Aubergine) during the plating of Milller’s dessert course of Strawberries, Coconut Meringue, Crème fraiche Ice Cream and Candied Pecans at the GourmetFest 2015 Grand Women Chefs & Winemakers Luncheon 

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Blackberry Farm

Festival founder and L’Auberge Carmel Proprietor David Fink will be hosting along with the stellar local team at Aubergine, the restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel led by Executive Chef Justin Cogley and Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza. Keeping with tradition, Relais & Châteaux’s GourmetFest will be headlined by several three star Michelin chefs with a 2016 lineup including David Kinch (Manresa, Los Gatos), Joshua Skenes (Saison, San Francisco), Michel Troisgros (La Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France) and Hiroshi Nakamichi (Restaurant Molière, Sapporo, Japan). There aren’t many places where you’ll be able to experience the cuisine of these international culinary masters up close and personal and all in the same location, but once again, you will have that special opportunity soon in Carmel at GourmetFest.

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

With an abundance of food and wine festivals these days, Relais & Châteaux has done an exceptional job of curating a  standout event that delivers only the best of the best in food, wine and luxury brands for a festive, high-quality wining and dining weekend. There is also an online auction where you can bid on several of Relais & Châteaux’s most extraordinary properties. The auction will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and the CSU Monterey Bay hospitality program.

For a sampling of what you can expect at this year’s GourmetFest, here are some more photo-worthy highlights I captured at last year’s R&C GourmetFest weekend:

La Playa Carmel Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

La Playa Carmel was the setting for the Opening Party

Chef Tetsuya Wakada Relais Chateaux

Chef Tetsuya Wakada & team plating their Salad of Aburi Alaskan Salmon w Daikon & Myoga 

Tetsuya Wakada

Chefs Olivier and Hugo Roellinger Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Chefs Olivier & Hugo Roellinger served Oysters with Cured Lemon and Morita Oil sharing the spirit and spices of their seafront Brittany property, Les Maison de Bricourt with its vicinity near the bay of Cancale and its oyster farms. They will be returning to the 2016 GourmetFest cooking together at the Father & Son’s luncheon. 

Chef Olivier Roellinger Oysters Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Carmel by the Sea SunsetCarmel-by-the-Sea and the Monterey Peninsula not only offer incredibly beautiful nature views year round, but a variety of the freshest, locally-sourced seafood which you’ll be able to enjoy while in the area.  

Ernst Loosen - Dr Loosen Wines

German Winemaker Ernst Loosen (Dr Loosen)  is all smiles in Carmel 

Chef Justin Cogley Aubergine Carmel Relais ChateauxChef Justin Cogley (Aubergine) serving Rainbow Trout with Seven Herbs and Smoked Trout Roe (below) at the Opening Night Welcome Party. 

Chef Justin Cogley Aubergine Rainbow Trout

relais chateaux gourmet fest

Chef Francis Wolf (Le Hatley Restaurant at Manoir Hovey)’s Panna Cotta of Cultured Goats Milk, Sweet Clover, Arctic Rose Flat Oatcake, Green Alder Candied Beet and Birch Syrup paired with a 1990 Philippi Barrel Aged Auslese at the Cuisine and Wines of the World Dinner at Seventh & Dolores.

Chefs Michel Bras Olivier Roellinger Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Legendary Chefs Michel Bras (Bras) and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons De Bricourt) discussing their game plan for the dishes at the much-anticipated and sold out Taste of France luncheon.

Michel Bras Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Michel Bras’ L’endive Farcie, parfum de truffes paired with a 2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley

Olivier Roellinger GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Olivier Roellinger’s St. Pierre “Retour de Indes” – Hommage to the 18th Century French Mariners paired with a 2011 Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-A-Vent, Beaujolais 

relais chateaux gourmetfest women and wine lunch

The All-Star Team at the Grand Women Chefs & Winemaker’s Luncheon

Gaja Wines GourmetFest Carmel

2005 Gaja Gaia & Rey Chardonnay Langhe from Piedmont, Italy was paired with Chef Annie Féolde (Enoteca Pinchiorri)’s Risotto with Prawns, Licorice Powder and Asparagus Marinated in Red Wine (below).

Chef Annie Feolde Risotto

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Carmel

Pre-lunch cooking demo at the Gaggenau Demo Kitchen at La Playa Hotel’s courtyard featuring 3 Star Michelin Italian Chef Annie Féolde and team from Enoteca Pinchiorri.  

Chef Lanshu Chef (Le Mout Restaurant) Relais Chateaux

Chef Lanshu Chen (Le Moût Restaurant) plating her Pigeon with Yilan Style Pork Liver, Chantrelles & Lapsang Souchong Tea paired with a 2012 Wayfarer Vineyard Pinot Noir from Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma County, California and a 2012 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley, California. 

Lanshu Chen Pigeon Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Relais Châteaux Taste of The World

View the entire Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest schedule here, which includes these standout events for 2016:

Welcome Party (Thursday, February 25): The must-attend event of the weekend. This strolling dinner shines a spotlight on world-class Relais & Châteaux chefs – including all four Relais & Châteaux three star Michelin chefs – at stations paired with famed wine estates and beer & spirits producers and luxury vendors.

• Rarities Dinner (Friday, February 26): An extremely limited, 10-course dinner meal-of-a-lifetime prepared by three Relais & Châteaux three star Michelin chefs: David Kinch of Manresa, Joshua Skenes of Saison, and Michel Troisgros of Troisgros. This spectacular dinner is parked with rare wines directly from the Chateau, Domaines and Estate cellars.

• Wild Mushroom Hunt & Lunch with Ranger Chuck Bancroft (Saturday, February 27): Retired Point Lobos Ranger Chuck Bancroft and his team of mycologists lead guests on a wild mushroom hunt through the pristine 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve in upper Carmel Valley. Following the hunt will be a sumptuous wild mushroom lunch prepared by the Preserve’s Host Chef Jerry Regester and Relais & Châteaux Chef Matt Zubrod of The Little Nell with accompanying wineries pouring rare vintages from Galante Vineyards and Dawn’s Dream.

• Father & Sons Lunch & Michel Troisgros Cooking Demo (Saturday, February 27): Delight in a lunch prepared by two iconic French father and son chefs, Olivier and Hugo Roellinger of Les Maison de Bricourt and Michel and César Troisgros of Troisgros. The lunch, paired with some of the most highly sought after wines made in France including Chateau Grillet and Domaine d’Eugenie and finished with the wines of Napa Valley superstar Araujo, is preceded by a cooking demo in the Gaggenau Demo Kitchen and Champagne Taittinger reception.

• Taste of the World (Sunday, February 28): Experience a “strolling Route du Bonheur” in which wines, many from local Monterey County wine estates, are paired with bites from Relais & Châteaux properties from all over the world.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2016 GourmetFest, visit:

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

carmel by the sea sunset

…and while in Carmel-by-the-Sea, make sure to take in the magnificent sunset. This photo was captured a few minutes before last year’s GourmetFest began. Absolutely magical start to an unforgettable weekend.

 

Urban Remedy Retreat – Carmel Valley Ranch

Urban Remedy - Carmel Valley Ranch - Therapeutic Bath

 

With all the indulging and multitasking in every day life, we often forget how important it is to take a moment, or a long weekend to relax and completely get away from it all. A break from life’s noise is not only nourishing and necessary for the body, but also for the mind and spirit. This is why I’m so looking forward to escaping to one of my favorite destinations in California soon. Carmel is approximately a two-hour drive from San Francisco, an hour from Silicon Valley, and a place very close to my heart. It’s also the location I’ll be attending Urban Remedy’s Detox Retreat at The Ranch.

Carmel Valley Ranch Hotel

Carmel Valley Ranch is a 500-acre luxury resort that offers a true nature retreat with panoramic views of mature oak trees and the lush Carmel Valley.  I can’t wait to take a breather in the hundreds of miles of hiking trails and at one of the nearby beaches to hopefully catch a beloved Pacific coast Rothko sunset.

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Urban Remedy embodies the belief that Food is Healing, and at the Urban Remedy Retreat, we’re going to delight in healthy meals and also learn how to make them. I’m really awaiting the visit to the on-site organic garden and attending a Q & A about organic farmstead practices and growing with Carmel Valley Ranch’s own Organic Farmer Mark Marino.

Meet the resident Artisans at: http://bit.ly/1RkFcfk.

Carmel Valley Ranch.

Neka Pasquale – the host for the retreat, is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Urban Remedy. She released the Urban Remedy Book earlier this year and is a huge believer in the power of raw foods and juicing. In as little as three to five days of resetting nutritional habits, she’s witnessed huge and positive changes in client’s health.

I’m personally excited to see how I physically and mentally feel after the detox weekend. In my world and profession, it’s unrealistic to eat raw on an every day basis, but I can take breaks from my usual dietary and work schedule and give this nourishing gift to myself. Balance. It’s all about balance.

Urban Remedy - Carmel Valley Ranch Salad

 “A retreat is time we take away from our everyday stresses in life to focus on ourselves. Taking a break from social media, our phones, eating unhealthy foods and the hustle and bustle of modern life. It is a time to create intention to go within and connect with your spirit and receive the messages of your soul. It is a reset where we eat nourishing and cleansing foods and juices that heal and balance the body. A retreat is a gift to yourself that supports overall wellbeing mentally, physically and spiritually.” – Neka Pasquale, Founder of Urban Remedy.

 

To attend or learn more about the retreat and property, visit:

Carmel Valley Ranch http://bit.ly/1oytTDj

Urban Remedy Detox Retreat http://bit.ly/1Kgua8X

 

Join us at Cuyana Conversations: Gastronomical Delights 5/21

Cuyana Fewer Better Gastronomy Panel

If you’re around this Thursday, I’ll be moderating a thoughtful, food-focused panel at the ultra-chic Cuyana showroom in San Francisco’s downtown Union Square. The name Cuyana means “to love” in Quechua and this gastronomy panel is one of the featured topics in the Fewer, Better Series. The panelists include an incredible group of food folks from the Bay Area. Hope to see you there!

Ultimate Culinary Clash Competition at Intercontinental Hotels

Johnny-Jump Ups

Johnny-Jump Ups from Magdalis Galzara’s dish

It’s typical that most want to experience a chef’s cuisine when they’ve become a public success, but what about when they’re a relatively unknown at the start of their careers? We must remember that all cooks and chefs began sans the shining accolades, and through thick, thin, and a whole lot more thick aka the journey, that is where their real story took place. And this is why it was so fun to experience the dishes of the aspiring chefs and cooking students at Intercontinental Hotel and Resort’s Ultimate Culinary Clash competition.

Adding finishing touches to NYC’s seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter

The second annual Ultimate Culinary Clash at the InterContinental San Francisco was part culinary student cooking competition and part scholarship fundraiser. Cooking student finalists from four InterContinental hotel regions battled against each other for a $5,000 scholarship to further their culinary careers. The personally-developed dishes were judged by a group of media, chefs and hotel executives and were based on taste, creativity and presentation. This year’s student chefs and their mentors – established chefs from four local InterContinental properties came to compete from New York, Mexico City, Cleveland and San Francisco – where one-star Michelin restaurant Luce is located.

InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco, SOMA

After a lively night of sampling various dishes, the winner was announced and it was Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez, a culinary student at Anahuac University who impressed judges and wowed the crowd creating a 20-plus line deep of people throughout the evening. She was recognized for her “Tacos de Lechon” dish accented with cilantro, garlic, habanero guava foam and a red dried ant sauce on the side.  She was assisted by InterContinental Mexico City’s Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes.

Mexico City’s Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez plating her winning Lechon dish

Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez Presidente InterContinental Mexico City Dish: Taco de Lechon

Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez Presidente InterContinental Mexico City Dish: Taco de Lechon

“With Michelin-starred chefs and celebrity restaurateurs to help develop our innovative culinary creations, the InterContinental brand’s world-class food and beverage program features signature bars and restaurants with exceptional menus that pair local flavors with global inspiration. It gives us great pride to introduce the next generation of culinary talent to our brand’s affinity for haute cuisine and support their progression as a student in a meaningful way.” –  Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, VP of F&B, The Americas, IHG

Grilled Skirt Steak

Magdalis Galzara InterContinental Cleveland Dish: Grilled Skirt Steak with Belgian endive + orange-cumin marmalade, potato-cauliflower fritter, horseradish aioli foam

Chloe Sackett InterContinental New York Times SquareDish: Seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter

Chloe Sackett InterContinental New York Times SquareDish: Seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter

Christopher Wan InterContinental San Francisco Dish: Ballotine of Young Chicken with Red Miso, DePuy lentils and grain mustard

Christopher Wan InterContinental San Francisco Dish: Ballotine of Young Chicken with Red Miso, DePuy lentils and grain mustard

InterContinental Hotel San Francisco Desserts

These fruit gelee tarts were pretty in pink!

Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes, Luce Executive Chef Daniel Corey, Ultimate Clash winner Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez

Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes, Luce Executive Chef Daniel Corey, Ultimate Clash winner Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez

The Ultimate Culinary Clash serves as an opportunity for the InterContinental brand to showcase its commitment to culinary excellence. It began four years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel’s Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from a local culinary school to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant’s Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was expanded for the second year in a row to include other InterContinental hotels from the U.S. and Mexico.

Although only one ultimate winner could be chosen, all of the students from the various Culinary Clash stages did a tremendous job putting out some pretty impressive plates. Kudos to all and excited to see what the future holds for all of you!

 

The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley Dinner at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Michelin Dinner PBFW - Food Fashionista

A team of San Francisco Bay Area’s one-starred Michelin chefs came together to form the perfect constellation at “The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley” dinner at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. The “101”, in case you’re wondering is the Bay Area highway where all of the collaborating chefs and restaurants are located including Peter Armellino (The Plumed Horse), Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub), Jared Gallagher (Chez TJ) and Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/Rosewood Sand Hill). Desserts were created by highly skilled Pastry Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and the exceptional wines for the multi-course menu were chosen by the festival’s hand-picked team of guest sommeliers.

Michelin Dinner PBFW Champagne Henriot

From the moment you stepped in to the tranquil Mediterranean setting of the Casa Palmero, you knew an enchanted evening was in store. Mere seconds after passing through the blooming spring garden, arriving guests were greeted with a glass of vintage Champagne Henriot Brut Millesime 2005. The smoky and highly fragrant sparking wine was refreshing, crisp and consisted of a proportionate combination of Chardonnay and Pinot. The Champagne from Reims, France was paired with the select Michelin chef’s hors d’oeuvres of the evening…

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Following the relaxed Champagne reception, diners were led to a quaint, dimly-lit, room filled with a group of adorned tables that would soon be the canvas setting for the chef’s creations and wine offerings for the evening.  Throughout the dinner, the celebrated chefs and winemakers presented and explained their inspiration for the dishes and wines following each of their courses.

Michelin Dinner PBFW

The wines for the evening…

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And although the dining room was refined and tranquil, the kitchen we learned was a whole different story. When Chef Peter Rudolph came out to describe the components and influence of his dish, he exclaimed…”It’s so quiet in here! We were playing Dio and then… Slayer came on in the kitchen.” Everyone cheerfully chuckled. It was indeed obvious the chefs were doing what they do best, but also enjoying the camaraderie in the back of the house. Their cooking technique and styles vary, but all of their courses harmoniously complemented one after the other. The chefs may have been rocking out in the kitchen to head-banging, heavy metal tunes, but the dishes served were nothing short of a smooth, melodic symphony.

The Bay Area Michelin chefs courses for this very special dinner included:

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First Course: Monterey Bay Abalone with Potato, Espelette and Lime by Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ) paired with Marqués de Murrieta Albariño, “La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes” (Rías Baixas, Spain – 2011)

Michelin Dinner PBFW Chef Dmitry Elperin

Second Course: Roasted Line-Caught Halibut with Vegetables Jardinière and Oxtail Consommé by Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub) paired with Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin Grand Cru, “Clos de Beze” (Burgundy, France – 2007)

Roast Partridge Michelin Chef Peter Rudolph PBFW

Third Course: Roast Partridge with Morels, Huckleberries and Smoked Turnips by Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill) paired with Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France – 2007)

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Fourth Course: Roast Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Stinging Nettles, Semolina Gnocchi and Pickled & Roasted Spring Garlic by Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse) paired with Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA- 1998)

William Werner Dessert at Michelin Dinner PBFW

Dessert Course: Blonde Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Cocoa and Lime by William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves)

petit fours

The delightfully rare and memorable evening concluded with dessert and petit fours for the table via Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) paired with Ramos Pinto, 20 Year Tawny, “Quinta do Bom Retiro.”

Chefs Peter Rudolph, Peter Armellino, Jarad Gallagher, William Werner, Dmitry Elperin

“We Cook together, have fun together, and came up in the ranks together… ” – Chef Peter Rudolph.

The stars of the evening – Chefs Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant), Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse), Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ), William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub). Armellino said that participating in this Pebble Beach Food and Wine dinner with his fellow Michelin-starred chefs and friends was the “pinnacle” of his career. Kudos to Pebble Beach Food and Wine for putting together an incredible evening featuring some of the finest culinary and wine talent in the Bay Area and beyond.  It was a PBFW gourmet memory I won’t soon forget, but thankfully, these Michelin-starred restaurants along the 101 freeway are just an on ramp, some miles, and an off ramp away.

See all the celebrated San Francisco Bay Area chefs and restaurants in the 2015 Michelin Guide

Michelin San Francisco Dinner Pebble Beach Food Wine

 

Photos by Mika Takeuchi and Kara Murphy