A Unique Dining Event in Scottsdale

Executive Chef Mel Mecinas shares his thoughts on reuniting with his famed mentor Joaquim Splichal—plus, a recipe!

Nov 27, 2012
Chef Mel Mecinas at work, Four Seasons Scottsdale
Chef Mel Mecinas puts the finishing touches on a dish at Talavera.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

It’s no wonder Frank Lloyd Wright built his winter retreat in Scottsdale, Arizona. This rustic yet refined destination boasts eclectic art galleries, world-class golf courses and a lively nightlife, not to mention a sizzling Southwestern culinary scene.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North just opened Proof on November 12, offering the best comfort foods and American classics sourced from across the country. And coming up at the end of the month is a one-of-a-kind event that will reunite three accomplished chefs with the man who helped define the path to their success.

“Having a mentor is as important as a child having a father,” says Mel Mecinas, Executive Chef of Talavera restaurant at the Resort. On Friday, November 30, Mecinas will reunite with his culinary mentor—Chef Joaquim Splichal of the Michelin-starred Patina in Los Angeles—in a special “Meeting With the Mentor” dinner event at Talavera. “I worked for Chef Splichal for a little more than nine years prior to joining Four Seasons Resort Santa Barbara,” says Mecinas. “The last time I cooked in the kitchen with him was more than 15 years ago; I couldn’t be more excited about this reunion!”

The evening’s menu will also feature dishes by Chef Matt McLinn of Phoenix’s Desert Mountain Club and Pastry Chef Bruno Feldeisen of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Both chefs trained under Splichal as well. Each chef will be responsible for one course of the five-course menu, with the mentor taking both the first and third.

“The corn blini batter in the parfait was one of the first things I learned how to make under Chef Splichal,” says Mecinas of his amuse-bouche, a caviar and smoked salmon parfait. “I translated Chef Splichal’s classic blini preparation into a parfait-style presentation, where the individual components are presented as a composed dish. This interpretation led to the second-course dish that I served in Santa Barbara for Julia Child’s 90th birthday celebration, one of the most memorable moments of my career.”

Want to get a Taste of Talavera at home? Here is the recipe that Mecinas will be preparing for the event.

Recipe: Caviar and Smoked Salmon Parfait

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
12 ounces smoked salmon
½ cup chopped chives
¼ cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 ounces caviar (your choice of caviar)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation
Dice or cut the smoked salmon into fine strips, and toss with sour cream and chopped chives.

Cook the eggs for approximately 12 minutes. Let them cool, then separately grate the egg yolks and egg whites. Toss with a touch of sour cream and season to taste.

In a 2-inch ring mould or glass, build the layers. First, place one-third of the smoked salmon on the bottom, then the egg white, followed by one-third more smoked salmon, egg yolk, and one more layer of smoked salmon. Cover with a touch of sour cream and top with your choice of caviar.


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