Before Dinner Comes Work: Chef’s Table at Terra, Santa Fe

The chef’s table at restaurant Terra at the Four Seasons in Santa Fe is just as much about cooking your food as eating it

Parsnip and apple soup with homemade apple butter.

Before I knew it, I was called up to the plate again. It was time for the seared tuna with cauliflower purée, black bean Southwest orzo, and red chile caribe sauce to be prepared. I’ve never cooked tuna before. So I was thrilled to be in such good hands showing me the way. Chef Ruben was an impeccable, hilarious, and charming teacher.

So good in fact, that chef Andrew deemed the dish worthy of serving in the dining room to the hotel’s general manager, Cindy Racco, and her colleague and guest. I was terrified as I saw it leave the kitchen and thrilled to hear back that she had loved it. Kudos to chef Ruben for teaching a girl like me to make a dish like that, which I thought was pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself.

Bison chuck with rutabaga, onion, and chorizo hash, beet greens, and guajillo chile demi glaze was to be the final course. We all cried mercy before it arrived except for one particularly overzealous guest who partook despite it all. Her report? Worth the overindulgence for sure.

Way too full for the bison, I somehow managed to devour dessert with abandon regardless. How could I not when being served an Oreo churro sundae and cinnamon roll bread pudding with coquito ice cream, poached pear, sweet chile sauce, and a mixed fruit cluster.

My job is to describe things with words. But when it comes to this dessert, I am at a total loss. The bread pudding was made from the hotel’s own homemade cinnamon rolls and was decadence defined.

The Oreo churro sundae, well, let me be honest here, it basically brought tears to my eyes. Warm with a crisp outside and soft inside, topped with ice cream and a sauce that tasted exactly like the cream inside an Oreo cookie. I have only two words: Yes, please.

There are chef’s tables and then there are chef’s tables. Terra’s is the latter, the chef’s table experience not to be missed. The food, the frivolity, the fervor, the feast. All of it made for the kind of dining experience that makes you wish that the night would never end and that your stomach would let you eat into forever.

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Note: Terra offers a variety of culinary adventures, along with the Chef’s Table, including the Chef’s Garden Table, where harvesting is on the agenda, and the Adventure Cooking Class, where the farmers' market is on the itinerary.