Wining, Dining, And Cooking At The Four Seasons

Photo courtesy of Michelle

Last Wednesday night, I got to attend one of the most fun dinner parties, er, I mean cooking classes, I've ever been to. The Four Seasons Hotel Boston invited a small group of us local bloggers to check out a cooking class with Chef Brooke Vosika. The hotel holds these cooking classes periodically, and it was pretty exciting to be treated to a complimentary class and to learn from Chef Vosika.

He started the class by telling us a little background about himself and making sure we all had a glass of wine, and then he dove into the recipes for the evening.

We started off with a bay scallop chowder. I was a tiny bit disappointed because scallops are one of the few foods I just don't care for. Luckily for me, as Chef Vosika explained the recipe, he pointed out where we could make substitutions and turn the scallop chowder into a corn, chicken, or seafood chowder instead.

While we were making the chowder, one of the other chefs came over with a treat for us from The Bristol Lounge kitchen: deep-fried buffalo brussels sprouts with blue cheese dip. Now I love brussels sprouts, so I loved these (I could even handle the little kick), and I know that people who say they don't like brussels sprouts would probably enjoy these too.

By this time the chowder was ready and we had each taken a few sips when Chef Vosika asked if we wanted to check out the dry-aged meat. Some of us grabbed our cups of chowder and some our glasses of wine, and we all followed Chef through the kitchen to the meat locker. Just look at it all!

Eventually we even got to sample some. It was perfectly cooked, topped with an herbed butter, and served with bernaise sauce and a brown sauce.

I had to try some of each sauce.

But back to the chowder. Because of the wine and gin in the chowder, the broth had really good, full flavor. And despite my extreme dislike for scallops, I enjoyed the chowder and found the texture of the scallops to be spot on. They kind of took on other flavors in the chowder, and I think that helped me to find them more palatable.

We sipped more wine -- including wine Chef Vosika had made himself -- some platters of meats and cheeses were set before us, and it was time to begin working on the chicken and truffle dumplings.

Chef Vosika asked if anyone wanted to break down a chicken, and I immediately volunteered. I hate touching chicken, and I figured the only way to get past that would be to jump right in and tackle a whole chicken. Michelle got some great shots of my Top Chef moment.

Chef showed me where to cut, what to snap, how to feel for the joints, and how to cut through the bones.

Photo courtesy of Michelle
Photo courtesy of Michelle
Photo courtesy of Michelle

The whole process was just as gross as one would imagine, but I got to wear gloves, something I don't do at home, and I was proud of my accomplishment.

After successfully breaking down the chicken, I returned to my spot at the table and sampled some pork belly that Meghan had snagged for me -- another treat from The Bristol Lounge kitchen.

Chef browned the chicken and added stock, wine, and veggies to it, and Pastry Chef Tim Fonseca came over to chat with us and showed us a simple recipe for molten chocolate cake and gave us some tips for making a good fruit crisp.

While dessert was baking, Chef Vosika called us over and taught us how to make the truffle dumplings. I'll definitely be making these at home.

Finally it was time to dig into the chicken and dumplings!

How good does that look? It's a comforting, homestyle dish -- taken up a notch with the addition of truffle oil -- that's surprisingly easy to make. This is just one more piece of proof that good food doesn't necessarily have to be complicated.

Stuffed from all of the snacks, the chowder, and the chicken and dumplings, we all did our best to make a little more room in our stomachs when dessert came out. Chef Fonseca paired the molten chocolate cake with a raspberry coulis, some fresh berries, and a scoop of ice cream.

The class was definitely more of a demo than a hands-on class, but we all were okay with that -- it gave us more time to drink wine and sample the dishes we were learning to make, as well as extra dishes brought up from the kitchen, and to talk with Chef Vosika about the Four Seasons, cooking, and wine making. I'm looking forward to running into him again next Monday night at the Burger Battle! (He won last year.)

A huge thank you to Chef Vosika and the Four Seasons Boston for hosting us and treating us to this class, not to mention sending us home with goody bags containing French macarons and Norman Love chocolates.