Friday, June 18, 2010

Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort's Chef's Table

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an exclusive first time Chef's Table event at the well known beachfront property, Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort. Events like this demonstrate why the Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort is one of the premiere event venues in all of the tri-county area.

The Chef's Table began with a cocktail reception in their fine dining restaurant, Rodney's Steakhouse, where I was greeted by their entire sales and catering staff as well as their general manager, Mathew LaVine. I truly appreciated the interaction with their team as I do many events there as one of their preferred vendors and I always look forward to further building on those relationships.

We were served hors d'oeuvres of their Habanero Tomato Gazpacho and Avocado Puree topped with their Corn Relish. Both were paired with Morgan Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We were then introduced to, and escorted by, their Executive Chef, Kirk DeLong, into the hotels main kitchen.

We all sat around a demonstration table of food and fire as Chef Kirk, as well as his Executive Sous Chef, Jake Prelas, and Sous Chefs James Marcinonis and Luis Del Mercado, made us a fabulous sampling of a five course menu. Because we were all surrounding his table, we got to experience each and every step as though we were making the food ourselves. We enjoyed the scents of truffle oil and mushrooms as our first course began. This included Santa Barbara's very own blackened Channel Islands Sea Scallops served over a bed of Sesame Oil marinated seaweed salad and topped with Shiitake and Enoki mushrooms which were sautéed in rice wine vinegar and accompanied by an Indonesian chili paste called Sambal. I am very familiar with Sambal, as I married a Dutchmen whose mother was raised in Indonesia. She makes THE BEST spicy peanut sauce that drips with Sambal and brown sugar. It is difficult to get good Sambal in this country. As a result, we have friends and family members who routinely bring extra suitcases of the delicious condiment every time they visit from Holland. We could not live without it!

Our second course was an elegant presentation of Acorn Squash and English Pea Risotto served alongside a Parmesan crisp in a tall martini glass. The Parmesan crisp took the dish to another dimension of flavor. Fantastic!

Our third course was a Rosemary Lamb topped with their Tomato Jam and served with their White Bean Cassoulet drizzled with a Balsamic reduction. And again with the Truffle Oil!

Our fourth course was a Roasted Venison Tenderloin with dollops of Blackberry Compote atop Braised Collard Greens.

Wait, it did not stop there! Executive Sous Chef Jake Prelas, had just returned from a seminar taught by the president of the US Pastry Team, Chef En Ming Hsu, held at the Guittard Chocolate Studios in Los Angeles, Ca. The seminar covered classical French Pastries, technique, and current pastry trends. Using his newly acquired skills he created their Butterscotch Pudding topped with freshly ground Hawaiian Sea Salt. By far the best pudding I have ever had. He even made us hot butterscotch that he individually dripped over our already exquisite pudding!

To top off our evening, we were presented with their Deconstructed Key Lime Pie and two types of coffee. They requested that we taste the two and share our preference. They had recently considered with the idea of changing their coffee to a more well known brand. It was a majority vote, stay with the original! After our applause, we ended the evening with an open table where we had a fruitful discussion about the more recent desires of our clients, current trends that we had been seeing, and suggestions we may have for the hotel's service and food menus. By doing this, they continue to compete with the ever changing industry. This impressed us all because it underscored the willingness of the hotel staff to open themselves to constructive criticism. Executive Chef Kirk DeLong, was most amenable to our suggestions about how he could further improve the hotel's menu. In addition, we informed the sales and catering staff of how they could further communicate to our clients about food and beverage products. This allows us to better cater to our clients specific requests by providing more options, more creativity, and more ways of thinking outside of the 'banquet box'.

If you are considering Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort as your venue, you will find that it's staff is informative, interactive, and dedicated to supporting local businesses so that you are provided with the freshest local ingredients making your stay a memorable one.

Well Done!

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