FIJI Water dinner with Rob Wilson | Wild Fig
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel executive chef Rob Wilson has a culinary style that is rooted with French tradition—foie gras, poached lobster and truffles are all part of his vocabulary. But unlike a rote Escoffier subscriber, the CIA-trained chef takes a more playful route with his cooking. At this private dinner for media and Food and Wine Classic VIPs, Wilson paired foie torchon with pop rocks (!) and delicate crab cake canapés with a mini "injector"—when squeezed, a burst of sweet chili sauce hit the center.
The five-course dinner (paired with wines, including a great Chardonnay from upstart Pear Valley Vineyards), featured espresso-laced squab and a decadent 48-hour braised Kobe short rib, which was cooked sous-vide. "I did 80 percent of my prep work back in California, and everything was shipped perfectly," explained Wilson. "Everything but the avocados. I need work on that for next time." From the healthy round of applause at the close of the meal, you're doing just fine, Mr. Wilson.