During the summer season, Terranea's Executive Chef Chef Bernard Ibarra is hosting a few spectacular culinary events for the resort's fifth anniversary. In conjunction with other Terranea chefs and handpicked local wineries, the oceanfront resort in Rancho Palos Verdes is offering an extravagant Chef's Table Dinner Series with proceeds going to local charities in Southern California. With seasonally-themed menus and a focus on local, sustainably-grown produce, the dinner events are held bimonthly and held and one of their eight restaurants.
I had the opportunity to experience the first wine dinner of the season, joining the other guests as we were picked up by golf carts and taken to one of the resort's villas to dine alfresco at a beautifully decorated communal table. Overlooking the golf course and the Pacific Ocean, we sipped Justin Sauvignon Blanc and enjoyed truffle tater tots sprinkled with foie gras appetizers.
Chef Bernard prepared the first course of smoked spring lamb tartlet with a demitasse cup of chilled puréed snap pea soup. Most of the ingredients were hand-picked from the garden behind the resort's mar'sel restaurant and at nearby gardens in Palos Verdes. The Napoleon-style course offered smoked lamb layered with a crispy pastry dough, locally-grown fennel, freshly made goat cheese with an exotic carrot top chimichurri, and cumin yogurt lassi on top.
Not only does the chef source main ingredients from the property, he also looks to the sea for his homemade sea salt and is known to pick the pink peppercorn berries from nearby trees to grind them into his very own pepper.
Chef Andrew Vaughan prepared the second course, which was fresh swordfish from Baja presented as a frittata with roasted artichoke hearts, baby artichokes, favas, kale, and a lemon caper brown butter drizzle. The course was paired with Justin Cabernet Sauvignon, which complimented with its complex and bold flavor profile. For dessert we had a sweeter Justin Obtuse wine with Executive Pastry Chef Pierino Jermonti's dazzling Meyer lemon panna cotta with candied pineapple and sea salted roasted pistachios.
Tickets for the Chef’s Table Dinner Series must be bought in advance and are priced at $225 per person. Because the menus are designed around seasonal ingredients, Terranea doesn’t post them ahead of time but they do offer a theme for each upcoming dinner. On August 13 is the Honey Bees Dinner, which is paired with Summerland Winery and will be benefiting the American Red Cross. The Wine Harvest Dinner (October 29) will offer dishes from the wine regions paired with Villa Oneiro wines and the proceeds will go to Meals On Wheels. The very last dinner of the series is on December 3 and is called the Winter Harvest Traditions Dinner. Margerum Wines from Santa Barbara will be pouring the vino while the proceeds will go to City of Hope.