Sunday, September 20, 2009

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table

Victoria Albert’s Chef’s Table was the culinary experience extraordinaire! Having traveled around our nation and to many countries enjoying restaurants and eateries, nothing and nowhere has trumped the experience of this exceptional night out.

After seeing a wonderful piece done on Victoria and Albert’s on the morning show, I grabbed the opportunity to call for a reservation. It became the ultimate challenge just to procure such a date. I found out that renowned chefs from all over the world also try to get reservations there! The ordeal to get a reservation began at 7:00 am and often ended by 7:02 with a, “I’m sorry, the reservation has been filled.” So, for months this continued to be the case. Special occasions had come and gone…passing birthdays and anniversaries and into August. We decided to tag teamed them on the phone at precisely 6:58 am. We both had the phone line ringing: I was put on hold while Ed’s was answered. He got the reservation for four in March, seven months after our initial try!

Now, we wait…only six months away.

Our friends, one a well known chef herself (, were as excited as we were to be upon our special night out; we all decided to dress up for the occasion and even made reservations at a hotel on the premises. We knew the dinner would last three to four hours. You’ll have the single Chef’s Table and the pampering for the entire evening.

It begins with your arrival, and as you quietly walk past the dining tables, you are escorted through the meticulously organized kitchen to a splendidly set table in the back. Although you are “in the kitchen”, you have your own nicely decorated alcove from which you can enjoy the seemingly choreographed movements of chefs preparing their specialties. I don’t know about you, but I truly enjoy being at home cooking and having everyone hang around the kitchen helping and talking while we prepare our feast. This spot was the penultimate! We could sit and relax, chat, and enjoy the buzz of the kitchen activity.

Immediately after being seated and toasting with Champagne, Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel, explains how the evening will unfold. While asking if there are any special concerns regarding preferences, he begins to customize the night’s epicurean delights. We were delighted to leave the planning in his capable hands. We all decided to participate in the wine pairing which turned out to be a great education on wines we may never have considered trying before! Mr. Israel Perez, MaĆ®tre d’Hotel, (wine master) explained the wine choices for each course as they were served.

The wait staff was also exceptional and catered to our every need. In fact, our plates were brought in with much ado…with our own individual waiter setting it down in front of us… four people with four servers swooping in to place the artistically prepared appetizers and main courses (which were both visually appealing and heavenly tasting) was more than I expected. The evening was a huge success; we were heady from the wine and food, so the timing between courses was measured perfectly. Coffee and dessert was welcomed, and of course, was another visually delicious experience. We saved the corks to all the wonderful wines and received our own customized menus to commemorate our very special celebration.

The Chef’s Table can accommodate up to ten people. Sharing this experience with friends will certainly last a life time, so I’d highly recommend it. Look to make it a leisurely affair; we were there for four and a half hours. The price is $165.00 per person and the wine pairing is another $70.00. At this time, reservations are being booked just 90 days ahead, but by October 27th, the reservations will go to 180 days ahead. Jackets are required for men.