Chef Ariane Duarte of “Top Chef” fame talks with attendees at a previous Chefs’ Holidays cooking demo. (Photo courtesy of the Ahwahnee)
If Santa didn’t leave you exactly what you desired this holiday season, here’s a chance to treat yourself to a real four-star gift.
Imagine spending a few days and nights in majestic, snow-capped Yosemite during the winter, all the while mingling with celeb chefs, and enjoying their cooking demos and gourmet gala dinners.
You can do exactly that at the annual Yosemite Chefs’ Holidays extravaganza that runs from Jan. 11 through Feb. 6.
There are eight sessions to choose from, each featuring three top toques from around the country strutting their stuff in cooking demos before preparing a multi-course dinner in the spectacular Ahwahnee dining room.
The Ahwahnee all decked out for Chefs Holidays. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Ahem, you might be partial to attending either the Feb. 1-4 Session 7 or the Feb. 4-6 Session 7 because I’ll be acting as the moderator at each. Hey, just sayin’.
A beautiful day in Yosemite National Park.
Last week in Yosemite National Park, kids in shorts kicked around a soccer ball, seniors played a game of croquet, and the mules were let out in winter for the first time in decades.
The park may have lacked its usual blanket of snow, but it had an abundance of celeb chefs.
That’s because it was time for Chefs’ Holidays at the majestic Ahwahnee Hotel. The annual event in January and February features acclaimed chefs from all over the country. In each session, three different chefs are featured. Guests get to enjoy a meet-and-greet reception with the chefs, watch each of the chefs do a demo, then enjoy a gala five-course dinner prepared either by one of the chefs or all three of them.
The Ahwahnee — minus any snow.
Deer nibble in a meadow behind the hotel.
Rock sculptures created by visitors to Mirror Lake.
This was my second time back as a moderator for two of the sessions.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — You may know that Chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques, AOC, the Tavern and the Larder, all in Los Angeles, is married to Chef David Lentz of The Hungry Cat in Los Angeles.
But you might not know exactly how the two met.
I knew part of the story, but not all of the details — until I asked Goin about it when I was the moderator for her cooking demo at the 28th annual Chefs’ Holidays event at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
Thankfully, she was a good enough sport to spill the beans before a rapt audience.
“So, Suzanne…” I asked, “David just happened to be dining at Lucques. And your sister just happened to be dining next to him that night? And the two of them just started talking?”
Goin chuckled and said, “There’s a part of the story that David doesn’t like me to tell, so don’t tell him I’m telling you all this. He thinks it makes him sound like a stalker.”
She went on to explain that in 1999, she was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs.” She appeared on the cover with the other honored chefs. She was the only woman among them.