Just Your Average Chef Fest in an Historic Landmark National Park Hotel: Yosemite Chefs' Holidays at the Ahwahnee | Squid Ink | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Just Your Average Chef Fest in an Historic Landmark National Park Hotel: Yosemite Chefs' Holidays at the Ahwahnee

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Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Chefs' winter wonderland: the dining room at the Ahwahnee. - CHRIS ANDRE
  • Chris Andre
  • Chefs' winter wonderland: the dining room at the Ahwahnee.

For those who want to experience our country's natural treasures but aren't the camping type, here is the event for you. The 26th annual Yosemite Chefs' Holidays series of chef demonstrations, presentations, dinners, receptions and such at the Ahwahnee gets under way on January 9th, with the eighth and final session taking place on February 4th. Take note: this event isn't a cheap date.

Los Angeles is well represented throughout, especially since an entire Taste of L.A.-themed session is scheduled for January 26th and 27th, with former Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild on board, plus chefs Neal Fraser, Suzanne Goin, and David Lentz. Other kitchen pros from our neck of the woods heading up to experience the wilderness of Yosemite -- tamed from within the confines of an historic luxury hotel, of course -- include Tony DiSalvo, Michael Cimarusti, and Andrew Kirschner. For the entire agenda, plus thoughts from a few of the chefs, turn the page.

Goin speaks from experience when she suggests that for her (and presumably most of the other chefs), the setting is a major part of the lure. "The Ahwahnee is so majestic and you really feel like you are in another era, cooking dinner to be served in that candle-lit gorgeous hall is truly an honor," she tells us. Meanwhile, this will be the first year for Kirschner of Wilshire Restaurant. "I've only heard great things from other chefs, especially the spirit of camaraderie among everyone and the enthusiasm of the guests," he says. And yet let's face it: Chefs' Holidays isn't entirely about the cooking. "I'm eager to get on my skis and discover Badger Pass and check out Yosemite in the winter. Wish me snow for February 1 through 3."

Here's the complete Chefs' Holidays agenda:

Session 1: January 9 - 11 (Sunday - Tuesday)

Theme: Chefs of Pat Kuleto Restaurants

Moderator: Pamela Wischkaemper, Culinary Consultant

A collaborative dinner featuring one course from each chef.

Host Chef: Percy Whatley, The Ahwahnee

Guest Chefs: Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (pastry), Farallon, San Francisco; Parke Ulrich, Waterbar, San Francisco; Adam Mali, Nick's Cove, Point Reyes

Session 2: January 12 - 13 (Wednesday - Thursday)

Moderator: Pamela Wischkaemper

Headliner: Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco

Demonstrators: Colin Ambrose, Estia's Little Kitchen, Sag Harbor, NY; Jesse Ziff Cool, Flea Street Café, Menlo Park

Session 3: January 16 - 18 (Sunday - Tuesday)

Moderator: Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming, James Beard Foundation

Headliner: Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles

Demonstrators: Ariane Duarte, CulinAriane, Montclair, NJ; Scott Youkilis, Maverick/Hog & Rocks, San Francisco,

Session 4: January 19 - 20 (Wednesday - Friday)

Theme: Culinarians from the San Francisco Ferry Building

Moderator: Izabela Wojcik,

Headliner: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière & Mijita

Demonstrators: Peg Smith & Sue Conley, Cowgirl Creamery/Sidekick; Michael Recchiuti, Recchiuti Chocolates

Session 5: January 23 - 25 (Sunday - Tuesday)

Moderator: Barbara Fairchild

Headliner: Tony DiSalvo, Whist, Santa Monica

Demonstrators: Douglas Keane, Cyrus, Healdsburg, CA; Annie Somerville, Greens, San Francisco

Session 6: January 26 - 27 (Wednesday - Thursday)

Theme: Taste of L.A.

Moderator: Barbara Fairchild

A collaborative dinner featuring one course from each chef:

Host Chefs: Percy Whatley and Paul Padua, The Ahwahnee

Guest Chefs: Neal Fraser, Grace; Suzanne Goin, Lucques/AOC/Tavern; David Lentz, the Hungry Cat

Session 7: January 30 - February 1 (Sunday - Tuesday)

Moderator: Andrew Friedman, Author

Headliner: Barbara Lynch, No. 9 Park, Boston, MA

Demonstrators: Jerry Traunfeld, Poppy, Seattle, WA; Elizabeth Falkner; Citizen Cake & Orson, San Francisco

Session 8: February 2 - 3 (Wednesday - Thursday)

Moderator: Andrew Friedman

Headliners: Duskie Estes & John Stewart, Zazu/Bovolo/Black Pig Meat Co., Healdsburg

Demonstrators: Brandon Miller, Mundaka, Carmel; Andrew Kirschner, Wilshire, Santa Monica

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