In June of this year, I was approached to be a Guest Chef for Homewood‘s brand new Farm to Peak Dinner series. When I first learned the smaller details of the event I was cautiously excited. Its an honor to be chosen to cook a Farm to Table dinner, and even more of one with all of the special twists Homewood was putting together. For example, riding a chairlift to dinner on top of the ski resort… ya, enough said. “What a cool idea!” I thought. And it was! And then came the planning. No kitchen at the top of the mountain. This was a big one. Talk about a logistical nightmare! But, I knew I would be in great hands with all of Homewood Mountain’s Maintenance & Trail crew team at my side. The menu had to be carefully crafted and able to be executed for a 120 person dinner with out the use of any standard kitchen. This is where I got nervous, however, really excited at the challenge.
The menu planning was fun, challenging and a bit stressful. However, the later part of that stress was due to the fact that I really wanted an ambitious menu. Soup in possible 90* heat. A sorbet for a salad course, in possibly 90* heat. So that was my own masochistic planning but I was psyched. Months went into the preparation and planning of each component of every dish. Things were changed, modified, taken away and added almost weekly. I was very excited about the final menu. It was creative, ambitious, but I knew my team and I could pull this off, it was just going to be a lot of work.
The last piece to this delicate puzzle was the Wine. I am very fortunate to have such lovely friends that work at incredible wineries through out California Wine country. I asked some favors, and begged for my good friend Jamie to have Alderbrook Winery come down and pour for the dinner. Their wines are some of my all time favorites, and who wouldn’t want to work with close friends! With the addition of this stellar and award winning winery, I also employed the services of my resident Sommelier, Regina Sanz. She would be the icing on the cake for this event, adding a personal and exquisite touch to the wine service for all of the lucky guests.
During the week of the event, I was extremely fortunate to have a killer team behind me. Amanda was on hand during every prep day to fine tune each dish to perfection, as well as calm down my anxiety! Marlo stepped up and took over the creative and stylish dessert, which was a huge weight of my shoulders. With Marlo came her savior man, Vince. Vince stepped up and was a life saver on the day of the event, handling everything from transport to plating. And we were also lucky to have two Homewood Kitchen employee’s on hand to crank out any sort of prep we needed… and we really needed it. We prepped for two full days, and then the day of the event. Lots of hours behind the scenes, but each one of those were well spent crafting every last detail.
After a few hiccups (as to be expected at an event like this!) we were all set for service up atop the beautiful mountain side of Homewood. And, the threat of smoke cleared! This was a huge relief to all of those involved. We had a number of cancellations, but still ended up filling up the dining room and those that kept their plans were rewarded with a stunning day. Service and plating went off with out a hitch. The dishes looked even more beautiful than I imagined. From the back of the house, it was as smooth as it could have been. Including some small flare ups, but those just make the event fun!
Many thanks to those that attended. I truly hope you had a special experience and enjoyed it as much as I. And to my team, I promise I wont do it again for another year. Thank you!
Check out the full line of photos here!