Chefs Holidays Series Returns for Winter Splendor

The Ahwahnee, a recently renovated, full-service, AAA Four-Diamond hotel located in Yosemite National Park, California, announces its 2012 season lineup for the 27th annual Chefs’ Holidays event series. 

Celebrating the range of styles, personalities, and trends that characterize the American culinary scene in the beautiful natural setting in Yosemite National Park, Chefs’ Holidays brings together 25 prominent American chefs and culinary professionals from New York to Los Angeles in a wintertime celebration that includes a series of eight sessions from Jan. 8 to Feb. 2, 2012.

For each session of Chefs’ Holidays, guests are invited to take part in a “Meet the Chefs” reception, educational cooking demonstrations and tastings, a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, and a five-course Chefs’ Holidays Gala Dinner prepared by the guest chefs and paired with four wines, served by candlelight in The Ahwahnee Dining Room.
“Chefs’ Holidays is always a much-anticipated event each year at The Ahwahnee,” says Brett Archer, general manager of The Ahwahnee. “Our guests love meeting their favorite chefs in person and learning about food trends and techniques in the kitchen. It’s truly a delicious and interactive event!”
“We work hard to bring the best of the best to Chefs’ Holidays each year,” says Chefs’ Holidays Coordinator Kathy Langley. “Many of our participating chefs are nationally-known for their talent and have been recognized with James Beard Awards. Others, you may recognize by their participation in such shows as ‘Iron Chef’ or ‘Top Chef,’ and others continually wow guests nightly at their restaurants. This is a chance for people to get up close and personal with some of their favorite chefs in the industry.”
Since its inception as a small gathering of top chefs and hotel guests in the winter of 1985, Chefs’ Holidays has become a premier and much-sought-after destination for epicures and culinary professionals alike.  
“I look forward to Chefs’ Holidays year after year,” says Chef Jesse Ziff Cool, of Flea St Café, who has been part of the event since 1989. “There’s a genuine camaraderie among the guest chefs and the staff in The Ahwahnee kitchen. The positive energy spills over to everyone involved. It’s truly rewarding to give participants a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what really happens in the professional culinary world. For all of us it is a magical opportunity and pleasure to step out of our restaurants for a few days and into one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. We all feel honored to take part in this extraordinary culinary celebration.”
The 2012 lineup is as follows:
Session 1:  January 8-10
Moderator: Connie Barney, culinary travel consultant
Headliner: Kent Rathbun—Abacus, Jasper’s and Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, Texas
Demonstrator: Annie Sommerville—Greens, San Francisco
Demonstrator: Brian Streeter—Cakebread Cellars, Napa, California
Session 2:  January 11-12
Moderator: Connie Barney, culinary travel consultant
Headliner: Suzanne Goin—Lucques, A.O.C. & Tavern, Los Angeles,
Demonstrator: Mark Estee—Campo, Reno, Nevada
Demonstrator: Donald Link—Herbsaint, New Orleans
Session 3:  January 15-17
Moderator: Andrew Friedman, Author
Headliner: Peter Chastain—Prima, Walnut Creek, California
Demonstrator: Emily Luchetti—Farallon, San Francisco
Demonstrator: Sean Baker—Gather, Berkeley, California
Session 4:  January 18-19
Moderator: Andrew Friedman, Author
Headliner: Rick Moonen—RM Seafood, Las Vegas
Demonstrator:Jimmy Bradley—The Red Cat/The Harrison, New York
Demonstrator: Jesse Cool—Flea Street Café, Menlo Park, California
Session 5:  January 22-24
Moderator: Barbara Fairchild, food journalist
Headliner: David Bazirgan—Fifth Floor, San Francisco
Demonstrator: Daniel Holzman—The Meatball Shop, New York
Demonstrator: Peg Smith & Sue Conley—Cowgirl Creamery, Pt. Reyes, California
Session 6:  January 25-26
Moderator: Barbara Fairchild, food journalist
Headliner: Christopher Lee—Eden, South Beach, Florida, and Huntington Social, Huntington, New York
Demonstrator: Chris Prosperi—Metro Bis, Simsbury, Connecticut
Demonstrator: Robert Anderson—The Golf Club at Boulder Ridge, San Jose, California
Session 7:  January 29-31:  A collaborative dinner—The Men of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”
Moderator: Janice Wald Henderson, food & travel writer
Guest Chef: Ryan Scott—Ryan Scott 2 Go/3-Sum Eats/Brunch Drunk Love, San Francisco
Guest Chef: Tre Wilcox—Marquee Grill & Bar, Dallas
Guest Chef:Brian Malarkey—Searsucker and Burlap, San Diego
Session 8:  February 1-2:  A collaborative dinner—The Women of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”
Moderator: Janice Wald Henderson, food & travel writer
Guest Chef: Jen Biesty—Scala’s Bistro, San Francisco
Guest Chef: Ariane Duarte—CulinAriane, Montclair, New Jersey
Guest Chef:  Antonia Lofaso—Black Market, Studio City, California
Special two- and three-night packages for Chefs’ Holidays are available at The Ahwahnee and Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, which includes lodging for two and admission for two to the following: three culinary demonstrations, private “Meet the Chefs” reception, behind the scenes kitchen tour, and five-course Chefs’ Holidays Gala Dinner with wines to complement in The Ahwahnee Dining Room.
For more information on Yosemite Chefs’ Holidays at The Ahwahnee or to make reservations, call 801-559-4903 or visit online at

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