Imagine having two well-known and expert chefs all to yourself!
Where you can roll up your Golden Door issued chef’s jacket and dive right in. Or simply sit back and let these celebrity chefs do all the work, showing you a glimpse into their foodie world. At the Golden Door, the choice is completely up to you!
Envision how exited I was when I got the invitation to join Executive Chef Greg Frey, Jr. of the Golden Door and his special guest Chef Ludo Lefebvre, both whom have amazing Instagram foodie accounts, for a 7-day Golden Door Cooking School experience! The Golden Door Cooking School only occurs twice a year and was started back in 2016.
While at the school, I had a chance to learn basic knife skills and learn simple fundamentals like how to prepare stocks and sauces, as well as time management in the kitchen, and preparing the final meal from scratch. I even got to help plate the closing meal dishes to the ladies attending the Golden Door Spa week! It was a ton of fun and something I had no experience in. It truly makes you appreciate what goes on behind the scenes of a restaurant.)
Of course, I have always loved food, but never completely enjoyed preparing it. I had learned how to prepare Southern meat-and-potatoes type of meals as a kid growing up in rural Texas. So diving into the experience of how the Golden Door begins its process of clean eating and organic farm-to-table cuisine was extremely interesting to me. The staff of Chef Frey, Jr. produces and picks most of their products onsite from their expansive organic garden and orchard. They even have bee hives and a small farm. If they don’t grow it here, they get their products from locally sourced producers with the highest quality of products in mind.
The Golden Door: In Case You Don’t Know it
The legendary Golden Door is a 600 acre retreat and spa getaway with over 20 miles of hiking trails for visitors to rejuvenate their lives in a four-day or seven-day retreat. It was voted World’s #1 Destination Spa in 2015 by Travel + Leisure magazine and I can see why.
Styled as a traditional Japanese village, it is dedicated to your personal well-being with many different tracts offered in ways of clean eating, mindfulness, spa, exercise, meditation, and the final labyrinth ceremony of releasing your worries and anxiety. They have women’s weeks, co-ed weeks and men week options.
Chef Frey, Jr. is all about clean eating as he continues with the 58-year tradition of “spa cuisine” meals that keep the energy flowing and help with evaporating the extra pounds the clients have packed on. Creating meal choices daily at 1200, 1400 and 1600 calorie counts, and healthy snacks served twice a day on tea carts, he has his work cut out for him.
He manages the kitchen team where the kitchen is open for 3 meals a day, plus snacks for seven days a week! That is no small feat with wealthy, high-end clients! Of course, you can have more food if you want, but the whole thought process behind the limited calories is to become more mindful of what you eat, think about where it comes from, and how much of it you eat. The whole culinary style here is to help you with not only nourishing your mind and spirit, but also your body thru communal dinners and fresh organic food.
Chef Frey, Jr. helps maintain a roster of classic recipes that have been here at the Golden Door for quite some time, but also updates and re-invents some of the recipes to cater to a healthier regime. He effortlessly prepares some of the classic dishes here for all to enjoy, which the Golden Door also sells at the local food markets and onsite in the gift shop. Things like Potassium Broth and their iconic and signature ginger cookie are readily available.
A typical summer dinner may start with a fresh spring salad with white balsamic vinaigrette and small crostini’s with goat cheese and minted grape that had been tossed with shallots and balsamic vinegar.
For the main course, there are many choices of fresh fish available from the fishmongers Chef Frey, Jr. works with, but one of my favorites was the seared salmon fillet with the sweet-hot honey and chile glaze served with a mash of fresh vegetables. Don’t eat fish? No problem, as the Golden Door kitchen caters to your culinary wants and needs.
During the week I also participated in educational workshops and field trips related to herbs & spices, wine parings, nutrition, bee hive keeping. I also attended a special session with culinary expert and renowned French Chef Ludo Lefebvre. Guests at all levels of cooking experience are welcome and I can attest to that. Each guest receives a Golden Door chef’s jacket, apron, recipe boo, and kitchen tool kit. The cost of the week for one week is $10,850.