This Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, 12 semifinalists will compete for one coveted position on the Bocuse d'Or USA team. The winning chef and commis (assistant) will compete for the world title at the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France, next year. While at Chefs' Holidays, I sat down with Percy Whatley, The Ahwahnee Hotel's chef and a returning semifinalist, to hear how he plans to take Team USA all the way. More, after the break.
But I was most impressed with his other dish, tiny cubes of butternut squash slow-cooked in the style of risotto, and topped with foraged mushrooms. While preparing his dishes, Bolton offered a number of suggestions for cleaning, storing, and cooking with fungi. See them when you read on.
Since I don't frequent Yosemite National Park too often, I had to make the most of my time while I was there for the first session of Chefs' Holidays. In addition to taking cooking classes, that also meant an intimate meal at The Ahwahnee Dining Room — plus a detailed tour to highlight the building's history. Keep reading to get a behind-the-scenes look.
Chef Cal, who is the culinary director at the posh Carmel Valley spot Bernardus Lodge and the executive chef at its Marinus restaurant, wowed the crowd with a stunning scallop presentation (which, incidentally, stole the show at the event's later gala dinner). He assured us that scallops are just as easy to prepare at home, as long as you keep a few important things in mind. See the chef's key pointers — and more photos! — after the jump.
On Tuesday, the first session of The Ahwahnee Hotel's 25th annual Chefs' Holidays came to a close with a blowout dinner — and my lucky self was there to partake in the event. At the cooperative dinner, each of the chefs prepared one dish in the five-course meal, which was served by candlelight in a majestic dining room lined with sugar pine trestles and floor-to-ceiling windows that showcased Yosemite Park. Between the jawdropping ambiance and the even more impressive food, it was certainly a Winter evening to remember. For my favorite moments, read on.
One of the highlights was a cooking demonstration led by headliner David Kinch. The James Beard-nominated chef (who defeated Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America!) is the brainchild behind Manresa, the Los Gatos, CA-based restaurant at the forefront of California cuisine. But despite his haute background, Kinch focused much of his lesson on one simple principle: season properly. Learn the chef's rules for seasoning when you read more.