On a recent stay at Sonora Resort, a member of the Relais & Châteaux collection of fine hotels and gourmet restaurants, I walked into the Sea Lion lodge outfitted with cathedral ceilings, stone floors, and First Nation’s artwork displayed on the walls. I exchanged my shoes for white slippers along with six others who also attended Chef Terry Pichor’s cooking class. After a quick tour of the lodge, we walked into the kitchen where the mise en place was set: cut heirloom tomatoes, diced yellow and green summer squash, sliced shallots, marinated artichoke hearts, capers, pitted olives, orange zest, and fresh herbs arranged in bowls on a tray.
Summer ragout and Dungeness crab ravioli made with fresh pasta dough were on the menu. We snacked on a medley of cheeses, figs, honey, and crostini while Chef Pichor prepared the ragout and entertained with his easy-going style and wit. Drinks were poured and after reading through the recipes, a few of us took turns rolling and filling the pasta dough.
Once filled, the raviolis were dropped in the boiling water pot for four minutes then scooped, drained, and plated with ragout and finished with Parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper, and fresh herbs. We sat down to lunch in the dining room, underneath a blown glass chandelier arranged like a cascade of illuminated bubbles.
I enjoyed a vegetarian version, with fresh pappardelle and summer ragout. Each bite popped with flavor. It’s not often (note, ever) that I get to travel to an exclusive resort with jaw dropping views and take a cooking class on a weekday afternoon. I could get used to this.