To keep guests’ interest high, chef’s tables have been reinventing the wheel and adding a twist to the dining experience. At Hotel Monte Mulini in Croatia’s seaside town of Rovinj on the Istrian peninsula, an area highly acclaimed for its gastronomy, diners can doodle on the walls of the Wine Vault restaurant’s Chef Table, which has an eat-all-you-can policy (up to 25 courses). Chef Tomislav Gretic doesn’t work with preset menus but uses fresh ingredients to create uncommon combinations such as foie gras with black lentils and seabass with duck cracklings. El San Juan Resort & Casino in Puerto Rico recently debuted its Chef’s Studio, where guests dine inside a former walk-in freezer converted into a minimalist dining room with an oversized white marble table and eight curved chairs. The chef personally presents each course, such as pan-seared duck breast with port wine sauce and blueberry mojito.
Burritt Room + Tavern at the Mystic Hotel by Charlie Palmer in San Francisco recently unveiled BR + Table, a chef’s table experience featuring handcrafted plateware and linens as well as a custom-fabricated table and chairs. Executive Chef Luke Knox creates customized multi-course menus, showcasing dishes like local Dungeness crab with chestnut, red kuri squash and Asian pear. Interactive chef’s tables have been on the rise. At One Square in Edinburgh, in the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, five-to-seven-course bespoke dinners are served behind the scenes to four diners who can interact with the chefs at work while they savour authentic Scottish dishes like marinated highland venison with pickled baby vegetables.
A hands- on epicurean experience is available at the newly renovated chef’s table in Terra at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. “Our guests receive a one-on-one cooking lesson and true sense of what it’s like working in a resort kitchen alongside our talented team,” says chef Cooper, who is renowned for his inventive take on contemporary American dishes like date-crusted venison with sun chokes and quinoa. The four-hour session featuring up to 12 courses is available for two to 10 guests, who are each paired with a chef to prepare a course. They don an apron to dice, slice, sautée and call out orders before dining on the custom-built table with a hand-selected granite slab.