Cooking in the kitchen with the executive chef at a Four Seasons resort is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My girls love to cook, so we signed up for the “Private Adventure Cooking Class” with Executive Chef Andrew Cooper during our recent visit to New Mexico’s Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.
(Read my Santa Fe post on Deliciously Organic.)
We met Chef Andrew in the lobby and drove to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market for a little shopping. Chef Andrew has a big heart and a passion for local, sustainable food. As we walked through the market pulling his wicker basket on wheels, I could clearly see his connection with others. Every farmer knew him, and many market shoppers called out, “Hi, Chef!”
Chef Andrew has learned much during his 14 years in the kitchens at Four Seasons, and says now is his time to give back. He sets his cooks up for success, giving them a manual he created himself which contains his wisdom and tips. Chef Andrew also teaches school kids the importance of local, sustainable food and how to cook with fresh foods at home. He has built relationships with farmers all over the area; most of the food served at the restaurant, Terra, is from a local farmer: everything from goat cheese to cattle.
When we arrived back in the kitchen, we put on our aprons and cooked with Chef Andrew for several hours. The kids were giddy, enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at a fine restaurant. He brought the girls into the walk-in refrigerators, let them stir, chop and blanch.
When we got out the produce, Chef asked the girls if they knew how to cook eggs. My youngest piped up and said, “Yes! I make my own eggs every day. And I’m really great at omelets.” So Chef Andrew challenged her to an omelet face-off. She beamed and got to work preparing a beautiful creation.
He then taught us to make Baked Feta Salad with Baby Greens and Seared Scallops—with baby garlic, thyme tomatoes and carrot purée. What a feast!
Chef Andrew enjoys bringing his guests into the kitchen with him to cook, learn and celebrate fresh flavors. He teaches classes each week: Margarita Making, Pizza Grilling Class, Charcuterie, Fresh Pasta, Cheese Making… you name it. Chef also offers a dining experience called “The Chef’s Table” where the whole family eats at a large table right off the line in the kitchen. Throughout the night, Chef and staff surprise guests with course after course. His rule is, “If you say ‘I’m full,’ then you get three more courses.”
There’s laughter, wine, good food and an education on fine cuisine happening all at once.
Read more about Santa Fe in Four Seasons Magazine.
Find “6 Red-Hot Restaurants in Santa Fe” in Four Seasons Magazine.
Carrie Vitt is the author of the cookbook Deliciously Organic and the publisher of the popular food blog Deliciously Organic. Husband, kid- and party-friendly, Deliciously Organic is brimming with the recipes and flavors families love — all created using wholesome, unrefined and organic ingredients. Carrie lives with her husband, an Air Force test pilot, and their two daughters in Northwest Florida.
View all posts from Carrie
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