John Brand, executive chef at Las Canarias and Pesca on the River, soon will be offering a three-day culinary event, Epicurean Experiences. These chef-guided weekends will be at Las Canarias, the restaurant at the Omni La Mansion del Rio. Brand will guide attendees as they create dishes with maximum flavor and artful composition, using fresh, local ingredients.
The weekend packages are available for up to eight participants and open to local residents and hotel guests. In addition to learning to make Hill Country cuisine, they also may indulge in a spa treatment, such as a Spanish Rosemary Herbal Massage from Watermark Spa, if they choose.
Brand feels the program will get people to back into their kitchens. “I find that most of what keeps people from exploring in the kitchen is a general discomfort in approaching ingredients and how they work together. People feel that they can only enjoy a good meal at a restaurant or by following a recipe verbatim. I’m looking to change that.”
The first Epicurean Experiences event will be July 9-11. The weekend begins that Friday at 7 p.m. at a Las Canarias’ Chef’s Table reception. Guests can relax with Champagne and canapés while conversing with the culinary staff and watching the kitchen’s behind-the-scenes action.
Saturday begins with breakfast and a trip to the Farmers Market led by Brand, who will discuss produce selection, pairing, and cooking options. That afternoon, he will conduct a class in the auxiliary kitchen of the Omni La Mansión del Rio, using produce purchased that morning. As the menu develops, participants will get hands-on experience with preparation techniques like chopping, simmering, and roasting. Wine will be paired with the menu, and participants can enjoy the results of their labors for dinner.
On Sunday, the group attends the hotel’s Champagne Brunch and each participant will receive a chef’s apron, as well as recipes from the weekend.
For more information or reservations, call 210-367-6428.
Photo by Nicholas Mistry