Our new food series highlights seasonal recipes selected by head chefs at selected Santa Barbara County restaurants. We hope you will try them out in your own kitchen—bon appetit!
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts throughout the world present a ‘taste of place’ in dining venues designed to showcase local culture and fresh produce reflective of the destinations in which the resorts are located. At Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, the “American Riviera” is expressed in flavors Executive Chef Marco Fossati imparts, calling upon seminal cooking experiences and training in his native Italy and throughout the Mediterranean. This summer, Chef Fossati—a celebrated Four Seasons culinary leader new to Santa Barbara—re-launched menus at both the resort’s ocean-view Bella Vista and at Tydes, which offers an exclusive and unique oceanfront dining experience.
Chef Fossati recognized his passion at an early age, cooking alongside his grandparents in Genoa. He began his Four Seasons career 18 years ago at the Hotel Milano property and was named Sous Chef at the Michelin-starred Carpaccio restaurant at Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris. He was subsequently named Chef de Cuisine at Flavio Briatore in Porto Cervo, Sardinia and at C.O.C. restaurant in Hamburgh, Germany.
Most recently, Fossati was Chef de Cuisine at Four Seasons Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) and, for the past six years, Executive Chef at Four Seasons Silicon Valley (Palo Alto). Reservations: 805/565-8237; 1260 Channel Dr., Montecito.
Fresh Pasta alle Vongole Serves 2.
Kosher salt, to taste
6 oz. spaghetti
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/4 cup white wine
2 lb. cockles, Manila clams, or littlenecks, scrubbed
2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season lightly with salt (the Italian trick: 1 Lt. of water, 100 gr. pasta, 10 gr. sea salt) add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, swirling pan often, until just golden. Add red pepper flakes and continue cooking 15 more seconds. Add wine, then clams; increase heat to high.
Cover skillet and cook until clams open and release their juices, 3-6 minutes, depending on size of clams. As clams open, use tongs to transfer them to a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to skillet, the cherry tomatoes; bring to a boil.
Add pasta to pan. Cook over high heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and has soaked up some of the sauce from the pan. Add clams and any juices from bowl to pan, along with parsley, and toss to combine. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.)
Transfer pasta to warm bowls and drizzle with remaining oil and fresh grated black pepper.
At Willows—Chumash Casino Resort‘s AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant—Sous Chef Sergio Renteria blends two classic seafood stews to create his own fresh and flavorful version of cioppino. The secret behind his award-winning creation, you ask?
“It’s a fusion between bouillabaisse and cioppino,” explains Renteria. This winning combination earned Renteria first place in the open division at the “2012 Santa Barbara Bouillabaisse Festival” and has made his cioppino one of Willows’ most popular dishes. “I was trained by both an Italian chef who taught me how to make cioppino, and I was also trained with a French chef who showed me how to do a bouillabaisse, so I put those two together and meet in the middle for something special for my own cioppino recipe,” says Renteria, who has spent 12 years at Chumash Casino Resort. “When people try it for the first time, they love it. They tell me it’s the best cioppino they’ve ever had.” Reservations: 800/248-6274, 3400 E. Hwy. 246, Santa Ynez.
A Fresh Take on Cioppino
2 oz. clams
2 oz. muscles
2 oz. salmon
2 oz. halibut or ahi
2 oz. shrimp
3 oz. scallops
4 oz. crab legs
1 oz. julienne leeks
2 oz. sweet onions
2 oz. fennel
4 oz. tomato sauce
4 oz. fish stock
2 tsp. orange seed
Pinch of saffron
1 tsp. fresh herbs
(chopped chives or parsley)
2 oz. unsalted butter
2 oz. Pernod
1 oz. spicy aioli
Sous Chef Sergio Renteria blends two classic seafood stews and creates his own fresh and flavorful version of cioppino at Willows.
To start, heat some olive oil in a large pot over low heat, add scallops and sear for two to three minutes.
Add the garlic, fennel, leeks, onions, salmon, halibut, shrimp and cook for two minutes, then deglaze with the Pernod.
Reduce the heat to low and add the fish stock, tomato sauce, butter, saffron, orange seed, herbs, clams, mussels and crab.
Cover and bring to a simmer. Keep on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with a grilled crouton.
This story was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.