Category Archives: Events

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…

 

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…

 

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