FOUR SEASONS RESORT - The Brightest Star on Palm Beach by Kaya Morgan
One of the most elegant and sophisticated retreats on Palm Beach, the Four Seasons has been ranked in American's top 20 resorts by Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler and as a recipient of the prestigious Mobil Five Star award. This 210-room property has a superior oceanfront location as well as unparalleled service and a casual elegant design reminiscent of the classic oceanfront estates that line Florida's Gold Coast. The resort's sweeping, arched entrance, flanked by palms and breathtaking floral arrangements provide a subtle backdrop for the exquisite furnishings and diverse objects d'art that help create the luxurious atmosphere that envelopes you as you enter the grounds.
Ascending a wide, gracious staircase from the hotel lobby, you find the resorts fine dining establishment, The Restaurant, with beautiful muted appointments, hand-painted Chinese murals, opulent floral displays and a view of the ocean at the far end of the room. Receiving accolades from many of the world's most respected critics, with the Golden Spoon Award as one of the "Top 20 in Florida" for nine consecutive years, and the Critics Choice Awards naming it as "One of the Best of the Year," The Restaurant has clearly made its culinary mark on South Florida.
Chef, Hubert Des Marais was originally with the restaurant when it became the Four Seasons from The Ocean Grand in 1994 quickly moving into the position of Executive Chef. Immediately named as one of "America's Ten Best New Chefs" and now frequently seen on the PBS series Great Chefs of the Southeast, Des Marais directs all the dining venues at the resort.
Des Marais began his career earlier than most chefs when by age 14, while still in high school, he began cooking in the evenings for a small French restaurant near his home in North Carolina. After a quiet childhood raised in a refined southern neighborhood, Des Marais headed for the Culinary Institute of America to fulfill his dream not just to become a chef but to become an exceptional chef. Still a homeboy at heart, he has brought to The Restaurant the regional bounty of South Florida, completely made from scratch, combined with the contemporary flavors from the American South, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. "We used to do more Mediterranean, more European home style, but people now seem to like very American, very down-home cooking," says Des Marais.
Through gathering together unusual and diverse ingredients isn't easy for most cooks, Chef Hubert has a unique culinary style that features an inspired blend of foods from regions known for their flavorful fare. From Latin America, he imports root vegetables such as yucca and boniato; from the Caribbean come dozens of fruits, vegetables and seasonings, including Scotch Bonnet pepper and yellow yams. Locally grown ingredients include passion fruit and mangos, goat cheese, Okeechobee frog legs and Indian River crabs as well as utilizing his own rare fruit and herb garden on property. But a large part of the kitchen stock comes from even farther afield the organically grown lettuces from an Oregon farm to caviar's from Russia.
Chef Hubert freely shares tips with kitchen novices and aspiring chefs alike during his open-to-guests fishing trips and morning deep-sea fishing trips that allow the added benefit of enjoying the warm, South Florida climate while learning techniques from this award-winning chef. He has been a guest chef aboard the QE2 and was among only a handful of chefs invited to cook for the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala.
With menu items that sound more like Latin America meets North Carolina, the fare begins with appetizer delights of Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Queen Conch Carpaccio with Exotic Fruit, Malanga and North American Caviar of Key West Gold Prawns with Herbed Hominy Grits, Tropical Fruit Chutney and Red Eye Drizzle; or entrées like Cardamom Scented Seared Tuna with Peruvian Asparagus, Crispy Foi Gras Potato and Morel Reduction, Fire Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Oxtail-Hedgehog Mushroom Arepa with Carmelized Red Onion Puree and Foi Gras Hollandaise, or Macadamia Nut Crusted Rack of Lamb with Boniato and Pineapple Bash, Cayote and Minted Pea Essence; then follow with a dessert soufflé or the Carmelized Golden Jona Apple Beignets with Cassia-flavored ice cream.
The prestigious Wine Club has successfully combined an entertaining monthly wine tasting dinner that imparts an educational experience showcasing new wines to its membership. Many of American's most powerful people call Palm Beach their second home and frequent both the resort and its award-winning The Restaurant.
Yellow Tail Snapper
1 Yellowtail Snapper
1/6 Watermelon; cut into even sized, medium diced
1/4 Honey Dew Melon; cut into even sized, medium diced
1/4 Cantaloupe Melon; cut into even sized, medium diced
2 bunch Thyme, chopped
1 small Ginger Root
2 c. Melon Syrup
2 c. Ginger Syrup
2 oz. Tangelo Orange sauce
1 oz. Annato Oil
2 ox. Racu
2 oz. Molasses
Prepare yellowtail by descaling skin and making 10 diagonal cuts in each direction to form a crisscross. Repeat pattern on the other side of the fish. Peel melons and cut into dice. Marinate with thyme, ginger, melon and ginger syrup. Cook fish in smoking hot pan until both sides of skin are golden brown and crispy. Finish in oven, approximately 8 minutes. Remove and squeeze on lemon juice and annato oil. Arrange melons on a plate in oval shape and pour orange sauce around the fruit. Blob annato oil on top of sauce. Follow with Racu. Zigzag molasses at an angle across fruit and sauce. Lay yellowtail Snapper on top.
Florida Stone Crab with Organic Lettuces, Mango & Papaya
5 Stone Crab claws (cooked and shelled)
8 leaves mixed organic lettuces (lola rosa, endive, radicchio)
1/4 c. diced mango
1/4 c. diced papaya
1 t. guava puree
1 t. racou
1 sprig pineapple sage
Place shelled stone crab claws in a star pattern, claw tips out, on a plate. Lay the knuckle meat in the middle of the plate. Arrange organic lettuces standing up from the middle of the crab claws like a bouquet. Sprinkle diced mango and papaya around the crab and garnish with dots of racou and guava purée.
For more information, contact 561.582.2800 or go to www.fourseasons.com
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