Monday, December 2, 2013

New Head Chef of Hotel Bel Air: Chef Hugo Bolanos

Chef Hugo Bolanos is a lucky man. And he knows it. I have never meet such an upbeat Chef before. And why wouldnt he be? The man recently became the Head Chef of the Hotel Bel Air a jewel of West Los Angeles. Hes been personally mentored by celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck who  selected him from his restaurant Cut steakhouse to head Wolfgang Puck at The Hotel Bel Air. If you check out his Twitter the man is always goofing off and having fun does his job but he takes food very seriously.

I love interacting with people from cultures that aren't so dominant in Southern California. In particular their food. I think it brings a breath of fresh air to the table how to approach food. Chef Hugo is Guatemalan which is a cuisine that is sadly underrepresented in Los Angeles (Tikal in L.A. does a good job.)   I was excited to see what Chef Hugo was going to bring to the table for me.

The Wolfgang Puck at The Hotel Bel Air is a beautiful restaurant. Most of the seating is outdoors but they do have a bar, lounge, and wine room inside. There are pictures but honestly....yeah its always going to be about the food. Chef Hugo has a playground worthy of the Puck name in his kitchen. It has 50 plus industrial burners alone. It is seriously one if not the biggest kitchen I have ever been in. It has to pump out food fr not only the restaurant but the entire hotel and catering events.

OK OK the food. Already you should suspect its going to be good. The starter a roasted pumpkin pumpkin with white truffle was amazing. Creamy smooth with a velvety richness. You got to love Fall and its abundance of nutty squashes.  Next was a lamb flat bread. Delicious and I ate every bite...I did detect cucumber in the sauce...which I despise but wasn't bad in the dish as a whole. It was a fun play on a gyro. I didn't have it but the tuna tar tar dish my dinning companion had was so pretty I had to take a picture of it. Morimoto himself could have plated it. The beef pastrami was great with the Gruyere cheese, I am not a pastrami guy and have yet to try the legendary Langer's (soon people) but as of now its the best one I have ever had. The brown butter and pumpkin tortellini was delicious even though it was on the sweet side and I have a issue with sweet non dessert courses. If you like honey on your ham this may be the pasta dish for you. The desserts were all amazing. The peat stuffed with raspberry mousse and topped with gold was just over the top...(I ate the gold.) I would say you could easily just come here to just eat dessert!  It was great meeting Chef Hugo and I think I will always remember him telling me how often he thinks of cooking one of the swans in the pond out front. Always keep dreaming.

Chef Hugo Bolanos

Lemon sorbet on a shortbread cake with toasted meringue 

Roasted pear with mascarpone cheese with walnuts on a gingerbread cake. 

Fruit sorbets with meringue 

Wine room 

Chef Hugo Bolanos

Roasted pumpkin tortellini with a brown butter sauce. 

Angus beef pastrami and Gruyere cheese 

The grounds Hotel Bel Air 

swan lake 

lamb flatbread 

Tuna tar tar 

wine poached pears with burrata cheese 

Pumpkin with white truffle soup 

Focaccia with goat cheese and sundried tomato 

Outside dining 

The little things. The butter is served on a chilled stone 

The bread basket 



Its a kitchen Iron Chef would dream of 

Kitchen in action

Looking into the wine room 

Indoor dining area

Outside dining area

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