Mediterranean-inspired Terranea Resort will roll out a unique sea-to-land culinary immersion program later this month. Led by executive chef Bernard Ibarra, the program offers three-days and two-nights packages that feature the chef’s table dinner series, interactive workshops highlighting the property’s own farm, and sommelier-led wine tastings.
The five upcoming chef’s table dinners revolve around various culinary topics; titles include the Spring’s Bounty, Peninsula Harvest, and Honey Bees. Each dinner begins with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception at one of the resort’s restaurants, followed by an artfully crafted three-course dinner and wine pairing in a private villa.
European-born chef Ibarra goes to great lengths to make the cuisine as sustainable and farm-fresh as possible by sourcing many of his ingredients from the farm on the property. “I am originally from Basque Country (on the border of Spain and France) and have always had a keen interest in nature and all things related,” he told The Daily Meal. “When I was in my 20s, I was working in the Bahamas when I was transferred to the United States. I saw opportunities everywhere and decided to make this my home.”
As for why he decided to establish a farm on the resort’s property, the answer is simple: “The use of our farm will add basic understanding of how our food comes to our table. It will bring respect for the product received in our kitchen and gives us control from A to Z, beginning with seeding and ending with eating,” he said.
Ibarra’s flavorful dishes often feature lemons (think lemon pastries, light and fluffy desserts, and amazing cocktails) and his herb and vegetable gardens produce amazing vegetables, like elegant fiddleheads. The chef also harvests his own honey and sea salt used in many of the dishes. The property boasts approximately 70,000 bees and plans to acquire more beehives in the coming months, which are expected to produce 200 to 250 pounds of honey for the resort per year.
Guests attending the culinary program can take a honey and sea salt workshop to see how the chef harvests the fruits of the bees’ labor. “It’s about fresh ingredients, first and foremost. With these elements, we can make any and every style [of food]. Be creative and respect the ingredients,” he explained.
For guests looking to dial down their hectic life styles, the package also offers an array of spa services incorporating the home-grown products like sea salt, lavender, avocado, honey, and lemons. The spa facilities are an oasis unto themselves. Pre- or post-treatment, guests can relax at the adults-only pool and its private cabanas. For those seeking a complete wellness experience, the spa and gym offer a plethora of group fitness classes including aerobics, spinning, yoga, pilates, and hiking.
Black Cod Ventresca
1 pound alder wood chips (soaked for 1 hour)
4 4-ounce pieces black cod belly
1 ounce brown sugar
1 ounce Terranea coarse sea salt
3 ounces extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 heirloom tomatoes, charred and diced
4 ounces Rolling Hills cured olives, pitted and thinly sliced
½ ounce apple cider vinegar
10 sprigs parsley
Mix brown sugar and sea salt, sprinkle onto black cod ventresca. Let stand at room temperature for half an hour. Prepare smoker at 120 degrees F; place ventresca on rack and smoke for 15 minutes. Reserve in a deep platter.
In a small pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add shallots and cook 3 to 4 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add tomatoes and olives. Mix well, bring to high heat, and add vinegar and parsley.
Pour over ventresca, let stand 10 minutes; drain, keep warm.
Roasted Purple Cauliflower Hummus
6 heads purple cauliflower
4 outer leaves purple cabbage, cut into a chiffonade
¼ cup tahini paste
Rice wine vinegar
Toss cauliflower in olive oil and place in smoking hot sautée pan and begin to roast at 450 °F
Add purple cabbage and rice wine vinegar
Once tender, place half cauliflower in blender and coarsely purée
Finish with fresh thyme
To order fold roasted flowerets into purée, adjust seasoning and serve
Goes well on top of crostini and with halibut