In Local Date Ideas, Local Eats + Drinks, local.eats

The Perfect Pairing of Fine Wines + Local Eats {Four Seasons Westlake Village}

We had the pleasure of being invited to the lovely premiere dinner for the new Executive Chef at The Four Seasons Westlake Village!  Ladies and gentlemen, introducing… {drum roll, please} … Chef Jesse Hansen!Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -

He has taken an extensive Tour-de-Kitchen around a few different Four Seasons hotels — recently moving from Scottsdale, where he was the executive sous-chef for 4 1/2 years.

We started the evening off with a couple of cocktails — a Bellini, and a cucumber-gin little number that totally blew us away! [For sure going to be making that next time I’m playing hostess!] Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -

Hors d’oeuvres were passed around, and we got the chance to sample some pretty incredible bites — oysters on the half shell, shrimp + grits, fois gras… now I’m wishing I had remembered the precise names of them all, but of course I was too busy eating.Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 - Oysters

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -I don’t know how he managed it, but Chef Jesse took the time to introduce himself to everyone and chat for a while.  He obviously put his heart into every piece of food that came out of that kitchen, and took time to describe each appetizer to us.  He was so personable, and it felt like we had a new friend — one that just knew how to cook really, really well.

True to form, the setting was absolutely gorgeous at The Four Seasons, Westlake Village.  We mingled ’til we tingled in the courtyard adjacent to The Tasting Room, and then made our way inside to a dining area connected to the Tasting Kitchen.  Chef Jesse invited us to come into the kitchen and take pictures — which, not gonna lie, I was pretty terrified that I was going to knock over a plate of something super expensive, or I was going to make someone catch fire.  So I kept my distance as much as possible. #thankyouzoomlens

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -As if the food wasn’t enough, we also had the lovely sommelier Kristine Boccino [supervisor at The Tasting Room], who paired each wine beautifully, and also gave us an education on wine + food pairings, tasting notes, and different wine varietals.  We learned SO. MUCH.

With each course, Chef Jesse described his inspiration for the course, and pointed out specific ingredients on the plate that offered punches of flavor.  Then, Kristine would follow-up with how she paired the (local!) wines, and what tasting notes we should be looking for.

Alright, I’m going to pretty much shut up now and let these pictures do the talking… because we seriously have no. words.

Course 1: Tuna “Poke”

Wine Pairing: Semler Estate Rose, Malibu Coast, 2013 [In case you haven’t heard, Rose has made quite the comeback. Even better, it’s the perfect compliment for grilling and picnicking outside in the lovely spring/summer weather! Plus, as you’re all aware, we are big fans of our 805 neighbors at Semler Malibu Family Wines.]

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -

Course 2: Rivermaid Farms Asparagus

Wine Pairing: Laetitia Estate Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande, 2013 [We love Laetitia Winery, located just off the 101 in the beautiful Arroyo Grande Valley. It’s the perfect road trip stop with plenty of outdoor seating and fascinating views — and on top of it, they create some magnificent wines!]

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 - Asparagus and poached egg with bacon

Course 3: Seared Scallop

Wine Pairing: Bien Nacido Vineyards Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, 2011 [This one was our fave! Not only was it a spectacular Pinot Noir, but the history behind Bien Nacido is so unique – a family owned vineyard which traces it’s roots back to 1836, they don’t have a tasting room and have simply established relationships within the wine industry to distribute their own grapes and wines to a select few.]

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 - scallops

Course 4: Snake River Farms Strip Loin

Wine Pairing: Ridge Vineyards Geyersville, Dry Creek Valley, 2012 [The perfect red blend, if you will:)]

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -

Dessert: Almond Brown Butter Torte with Fresh Strawberries 

Wine Pairing: Semler Bisous, Late Harvest Viognier, 2012 [A super sweet and delicious match for a dessert!]

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 - Strawberry Shortcake

One of our favorite parts was talking with Chef Jesse about how he helps harvest many of the ingredients from the gardens on the grounds of The Four Seasons.  He told us, “Hey, if I can grow and pick it here, I don’t have to take it out of my budget!” Which means, per our interpretation, that a) the ingredients don’t get much more ‘local’ than that, and b) he’s using the money saved on some pretty bomb.com ingredients.

Hansen will be leading the kitchen in servicing the multiple on-property dining options including The Lobby Lounge, The Bar and Lookout Lounge, The Spa Pool, room service, and the Hotel’s forthcoming coffee and gelato bar (Yup, that’s right. A coffee & gelato bar which we CANNOT wait for!).

Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner - LocalLove805 -

And that’s a look at our impressive evening at The Four Seasons Executive Chef Dinner {and why we are huge fans of Chef Jesse Hansen’s cooking, and now becoming wine pairing experts! ;)}.

xx~

your team at LL805

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