California

FLAVOR PARTNERSHIPS

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Here it is. An inspiring idea for our hotels and big restaurants… Five star hotels tie up with small, local, artisans, bakers,  and cooks and serve up local flavours in five star environs. 

 I get a delicious taste of this Flavor partnership series at  Loews Hollywood. Thanks to Chef Mark I Ching, I meet  26 year old David Vanlochem of Duidough’s Cookie Lab who started off pushing a cart on Hollywood Boulevard and today owns a bakery. I taste his creations in this host hotel to the Oscars  (connected with the winners walk corridor to the Oscars Dolby theatre.) I watch chef Mark add innovative touches and transform David’s  addictive chocolate cookie into the “German Blondie”…named after superstar Marlene Dietrich. “Tasting Hollywood” gets redefined!

The “German Blondie” with Chef Mark and David’ “Flavorpartnership” in Loews Hollywood.
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Recipe: MARILYN MONROE TOMATO SALAD

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 LEGENDARY HOLLYWOOD FLAVORS

 

Legendary Wolfgang Puck and Denise Flanders feeding Belair’s swans.

He’s a living legend. Not only does he have his own star of fame…in Hollywoods walk of fame, but for over three decades has had all of Hollywood eating out of his hands (literally too). Over a hundred restaurants in five continents cookbook author celebrity chef and official caterer for the Academy Awards blazed the trend  for  its gourmet pizzas topped with caviar and smoked salmon. He’s starred in movies (as himself)  and yet the revered legend Chef Wolfgang Puck remains down to earth and charming. To spend time with  the legend in the  Belair, Los Angeles, the world’s  most famous Hollywood hideaway is amazing. To watch him feed the long necked swans that glide in the swan lake and then to lunch on his masterpieces in his renowned restaurant is to get a true taste of  legend.  This serene 12 acre lush paradise ( the serene, gleaming swan lake et al)  is actually at the heart of cacophonic, bustling Los Angeles. It is in these stunningly beautiful serene surroundings styled
as  private residences, an amazing Californian oasis of relaxation and indulgence which is the

secret Paradise of superstars
It nestles in the canyons of Los Angeles. And how I love that Swan Lake.Four beautiful white swans call the lake home, and together they embody the romance, grace and elegance of Hotel Bel-Air.

The glamorous charm   reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age is palpable here.  It is here  that Hollywood’s history lives and breathes. Any wonder that it has been Hollywoods  most beloved hideaway? Legends like Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor stayed and dined here regularly.

Marilyn Monroe a regular here

It is this very exclusivity and tranquility  that continues to magnetise the likes of Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and many other Hollywood notables. As the lovely. Denise Flanders points out “The emotional attachment that so many have for Hotel Bel-Air is so very special.” I love the way it is steeped in cultural history, defines historical moments  and highlights the Dorchester group’s stylish heritage, not just with fascinating historical anecdotes but exceptional service and food. Memorable!

 

MARILYN MONROE TOMATO SALAD

Beloved of Marilyn Monroe
Chef Hugo Bolanos and the Marilyn Tomato salad.

Here’s the refreshingly beautiful taste of the tomato salad, so beloved of the beautiful legendary Marilyn Monroe, who lived and dined here.

2 each Red Beef ( big) Tomatoes

4 each Figs

3 each Cherry Tomatoes (variety colors)

3 Tbsp  Olive Oil ( Marilyn liked her olive oil)

1 Tbsp Basil Oil

1 Tbsp 18 year aged balsamic vinegar

4 oz of Italian Rich Fresh Buratta cheese

6 each flowers of Micro Basil

To taste  Salt Large Flake

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

 

Method:  This dish looks like a mosaic or painting in the summer .The colors are beautiful just like its celebrity inspiration. Thick cut tomatoes just like Marilyn preferred, figs, buratta all un marinated and carefully layed out to fit like a perfectly aligned painting on the plate. Dress the salad with the 2 olive oils, balsamic vinegar. Lastly season the tomatoes with the salt and  black pepper and finish with the micro basil over the top. By dressing everything on the plate you lose no flavor from a separate seasoning and the tomatoes will release there delicious juices from the salt directly onto your plate.

That’s the explanation of his  creation given by WolfGang Puck’s  brilliant Executive chef Hugo Bolanos.

As a veteran team member of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group (having worked at Michelin starred  CUT, world-renowned  Michelin starred flagship Spago including Wolfgang Puck catering) Hugo Bolanos delivers masterpieces in taste and textures. He has worked with the worlds greatest chefs (from Ducasse in Paris to Daniel in NYC).and today he continues to weave drama in Puck’s award winning restaurant in Belair.

Wolfgang Puck…vegetarian masterpiece …of pumpkin baked in salt.

It is here too that I taste Wolfgang Puck’s delicious classics, from the Weiner Schnitzel to the vegetarian pumpkin baked in salt and his famous vegetable soup. Should you need the recipe please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

 

 

And The Oscar Goes To..

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Whoa! A gourmet pure vegetarian and vegan menu in Hollywood Roosevelt, the very heart of Hollywood itself. Here, Hollywood history lives, breathes and dazzles. It was here that the first Oscars were held in 1927, it has the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” at it’s feet and is within air kissing distance of the iconic  “Dolby Theatre” where the Oscars are held. Marilyn Monroe lived here, by this poolside. It is right here that along with Andrea Escobar, I get a taste of the brilliant chef Josh Eden’s vegan creations (including the bagel and lox made of carrots and tofu). Having opened over 30 restaurants around the world Chef Eden is all set to add this delicious vegetarian, vegan dimension here. Don Jacinto who helms this iconic landmark ensures that all normal people are treated like movie stars and movie stars like normal people. Therein lies the magic!

OF FOOD, FILMS AND FRESHNESS

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Here reality is more exciting than fantasy. Here food, films and freshness are sparkling with high-voltage glamour. Whoa! What action there is in these immaculate kitchens of this iconic hotel which has distilled decades of Hollywood glamour! It is not only a legendary landmark but also officially on the  National Register of Historic Places of the United States. Here, the brilliant French chef Thomas Bellec conjures magic and today I have invited our very own Los Angeles based Indian cookbook author Neelam Batra. Interestingly Neelam has cooked before in the very same kitchens for Vijay Amritraj’s Foundation dinner.

CALIFORNIA INDIAN

What happens when a gifted  Indian cookbook author and a brilliant French chef cook in California?  They not only delight in the freshness of the vegetables and produce here, go shopping to Farmers markets themselves but also on request share their fabulous recipes, bursting with freshness and goodness. Having won several awards for her three cookbooks and taught cooking in Los Angeles (which she still does), Neelam Batra has been wowing Californians with her special brand of Neelams californiacuisine and raising the bar.  Happily, Neelam has also been a judge on the prestigious James Beard awards and continues to reign supreme. Having honed his skills around the world under the greatest chefs, Chef Bellec from Brittany in France is how himself on the global gourmet scene. He creates gems of wizardry for the recently introduced high tea which we feast on together with   travel and style writer founder of @stylegroove  pretty woman Carrie Mitchell.  Chef Bellec’s little jewels of savory and sweet delight dazzle as he continues to reinvent and wow.

HOLLYWOOD TO BOLLYWOOD

All this action is taking place in the historic Beverly Wilshire which has not only played host to many a high profile event but

celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen have all lived in the Hotel. And then ofcourse the  Hotel shot into global fame when 25 years ago it was the the movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was shot here. And so the pretty woman turns twenty five. And located on the glamour and fashion drenched Rodeo drive this Pretty woman continues to charm.   Several other movies likeClueless, Sex and the City: The Movie and Valentine’s Day   have also been shot here. I have dined here with Anil kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Gulshan Grover and many others in the Beverly Wilshire. Both Hollywood and Bollywood lives and dines here.

RECIPES FOR FRESHNESS AND GOODNESS

  • Both Chef Bellec and Neelam agree that  freshness of ingredients is the most important  key to a great dish. Author of three award winning cookbooks   1,000
    Indian Recipes ( the most-sold Indian cookbook in the US,) she shares with us her favorite, easy to make versatile recipe using tomatoes. And Chef Bellec generously shares his unique recipe for tomato soup.

 

  NEELAM’S OVEN-DRIED TOMATOES

  • 30 to 40 medium to large cherry tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic or kosher salt
  • Cut each cherry tomato into half from the stem to tip. Put in a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt. Line a tray with aluminum foil and place  each tomato half,  cut-side up and bake in an oven at 400ºF for about 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 200ºF and let the tomatoes sit in the oven until they look shriveled and dried, 1½ to 2 hours.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.

     SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Allow everything to cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serve them on the side with grilled fare or over your favorite crackers, or present them with cheddar cheese on warm toasts, make sandwiches or lightly scatter them atop a simle cumin rice pullao!

THOMAS’ TOMATOES
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb plum-Roma tomatoes
14 oz chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 large fennel bulb chopped coarse (if you don’t have fennel, use saunf)
1 large sweet onion chopped coarse
2 garlic cloves minced
2 spring fresh thyme
1 spring fresh rosemary
2 fresh leave laurel
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet onion and garlic with no color in olive oil. And fennel and tomato cook of for 5 minutes. Add stock and herbs,cook at slow heat for 30 minutes, blend in food processor strain and seasoning to taste. Enjoy!