Tranquil Carmel-by-the-Sea was abuzz over the weekend, as some of the most extraordinary chefs in the world descended upon this little hamlet for the second annual CarmelFest.
They included Oliver Roellinger of Breton, who unceremoniously gave back his three Michelin stars at his Maisons de Bricort, because he said he could not physically cook at that demanding level any more; and the legendary Michel Bras, whose Restaurant Bras in Laguiole has famously held three Michelin stars since 1999.
I was fortunate to be invited as a guest. You can tell how special this event was if even Chef David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos and Chef Guillaume Bienaimie of Zola in Palo Alto were lured away from their restaurants just to be guests at the “Taste of France” lunch that Bras cooked with Roellinger.
The next night, it was on to the “Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Dinner,” which featured specialties by eight chefs:
- Ron Mendoza of Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel
- Justin Cogley of Aubergine
- Johnathn Cartwright of Muse
- Diego Munoz of Astrid & Gaston Casa Moreyra
- Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House
- Annie Feolde of Enoteca Pinchiorri
- Lanshu Chen of Le Mout Restaurant
- Liz Miller of The Barn at Blackberry
A peek into the kitchen from the dining room.
Cogley’s tuna, hamachi and preserved seaweed in an abalone shell.