Friday, December 30, 2011

Check out this super easy recipe!

Apple Bourekas from Steamy Kitchen!

Tonight, some of my family is going to a party at a friends house, and I thought this would be a simple recipe to make up something delicious and different to take along... I even have a box of filo dough thawing in my fridge! It's after Christmas and I am sure some people are open to a change from chocolate and cookies... not everyone, though!

Four Seasons - Part I

The Four Seasons Philadelphia.
The food line to the right is for room service only. Our tour of the kitchen was around 9:45am, so we were able to see some of the guest's breakfasts heading out. One plate was Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce, garnished with chopped chives (I think). Cooking bacon was the strongest smell here!

The very end of a food line. I think this one was mostly for the Swan Lounge and breakfast. At the hotel, the food lines are separated into the different restaurants they serve, such as room service, the Fountain, and the Swan Lounge. Additionally, the lines are split into the Times they serve, breakfast and then lunch and dinner are together.

Chef preparing sandwiches for tea, which is served every afternoon at the hotel.

In one of the numerous refrigerators. Chef Gonzalez is explaining their standards for food and where they like to purchase food. While the Four Seasons has twelve raised beds on the roof of the hotel that provide fresh produce in the summer, in the winter, Chef Gonzalez likes to stay as local as possible. However, if a guest asks for something like strawberries, Chef Gonzalez will do his best to get whatever the customer requests.
Another food line! On the left in the picture is cheese-steak beef, thawing. One of the signature dishes at the Four Seasons are cheese-steak egg rolls. Instead of a filling of vegetables and or shrimp or chicken, the onions and beef of a cheese-steak are finely chopped and cooked together, then cheese is added to the mixture. The final product is rolled up in the traditional egg roll pastry, then fried and served. What a clever idea to showcase a pillar of Philadelphia cuisine in a new way!

A chef cutting American cheese for the filling of the cheese-steak egg rolls.
Another chef blanching pasta. Chef Gonzalez explained that the hotel either uses fresh pasta, made right in their kitchens, or frozen pasta for their hotel dining. For banquets, the hotel uses dried pasta. Coming in a later post: the banquet tour and a peek inside the pastry kitchen!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Birthday Treat!

Today I got a fabulous treat! My creative mom arranged a special birthday surprise for me: a meeting with the head chef of the Four Seasons Philadelphia!

Not only were we graciously welcomed by Rafael Gonzalez, but he personally took us on an extensive tour of the hotel/restaurant kitchen, food service areas, banquet rooms and explained the joys and challenges of being a chef. We spent nearly an hour meeting staff, observing the kitchen in action, peering into chilly refrigerators and asking questions about the hotel and the cuisine.

In the above photo, Chef Gonzalez is explaining the balance of staff for the different restaurants in the hotel (The Swan Lounge, the Fountain Restaurant, and room service). The plate heading out is for room service with Eggs Benedict. The smells were incredible!

In the next few days, I will add an update or two on life as well as a more complete report on my visit to the Four Seasons. Touring the kitchen was a perfect way to get an inside peek into one of the finest hotels in the region. The standards of excellence and service are evident in the beauty and friendliness of the hotel.