Located approximately 100 miles north of Los Angeles, Montecito, CA is home to celebrity residents such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle. And they flock here for good reason: the picturesque town is surrounded by some of the best produce farms in the country, which means the food here is impeccable. This month, Montecito’s bounty will be the focus of an epic collaboration between two chefs, each with their own Michelin accolades, that will further elevate the famous town’s plant-based dining scene.
On June 30 and July 1 at the luxury Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel and spa, chef Massimo Falsini (the hotel’s Culinary Director) and chef Daniel Humm (of New York City’s three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park) will join forces for a plant-based dinner series.
At the hotel’s one Michelin-starred restaurant Caruso’s, this two-night event will highlight the prized produce of California’s Central Valley while combining Humm’s and Falsini’s culinary points of view.
“Being able to collaborate with others in the industry is inspiring to me and my team, and we’re excited to be part of this pop-up with Chef Massimo and Caruso’s restaurant,” Humm said in a statement.
“So much of what we eat is part of our identity, and we look forward to sharing our language of food,” Humm said.
The Michelin chef-crafted vegan menu
Michelin awards green stars to restaurants that are sustainability forward and Caruso’s, a seafood and vegetable-driven eatery, is only one of 13 in the country to receive one.
The dinner series at Caruso’s came together, Falsini tells VegNews, as a way for eco-minded chef Humm to “expand the radius of what he does” in NYC while at the same time harnessing the “richness of the landscape we have around us.” Working together with Humm, Flasini says, was like the perfect combination of garlic and rosemary.
Italian-born Falsini moved to the United States in 2011. In his personal life, the chef eats mostly plant-based, which is common to his heritage, and is surprised by the amount of “four-legged protein” Americans consume.
“It’s going to be amazing to cook plant-based with chef Daniel Humm,” Falsini says, adding that the materials chef Humm has already shared with him were impressive. “It was quite inspiring to see the technique, approach, and precision of cooking.”
The eight-course meal ($395 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity) will feature carefully selected ingredients from local farms that pay homage to the work they do.
The first dish Falsini developed? A special dessert. Plated like one half of a clock, each element features ingredients in the order one would encounter them at specific stands at a farmer’s market.
Dishes created by the two chefs will include avocado with tonburi (a vegan caviar Humm likes to showcase at EMP), fava beans, and mint. As a a tribute to California sun-kissed tomatoes, one dish will feature a toybox variety from a San Ynez farm in a salad served with a chilled tea made from the yellow Sungold tomato variety.
King oyster mushrooms will be expertly prepared with ginger and lemongrass for another course, while silken tofu, peas, spring onion, and purple-hued anise hyssop (a flowering plant in the mint family) will come together for another.