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Published on : Saturday, February 6, 2016
Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara announces the recent promotion of Conor Ball to Chef de Cuisine. Chef Ball will oversee Aviara’s culinary team and all dining experiences at the Resort, including Aviara’s signature Seasons Restaurant and In-Villa Dining. Chef Ball will also be instrumental in developing new menus, daily specials and running the catering program.
Chef Ball joined Four Seasons last spring to assist in the grand opening of Seasons Restaurant. Since then, he’s been instrumental in carrying out the restaurant’s mission of offering California coastal cuisine inspired by the seasons. With a degree in culinary arts and years of experience working in both Washington state and nearby Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Chef Ball brings creative vision, disciplined technique and a true passion for cooking to all elements of Seasons, including its innovative Kitchen Counter experience, Chef’s Table and cooking classes.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Chef Ball was inspired at an early age by his grandmother, a former food writer and critic for the Sacramento Bee newspaper. “I have always had a interest for experimenting with food and from a young age can remember being intrigued by different flavor combinations,” Chef Ball recalls. Indeed, one of his fondest childhood memories was learning how to cook pelmeni, a traditional Russian meat dumpling, from his grandfather, a Russian émigré. “Whenever we got together we made them as a family, everyone did their part. One person to make the dough, one to make filling, and everyone helps – even the kids – to fill each little dumpling by hand.”
It was experiences like this, no doubt, that inspired him to take up cooking in local restaurants during and after college. “The very first day I began working in a restaurant kitchen, I knew I had found my passion. I was captivated not only by the artistry but by the teamwork and intensity that drove the kitchen as well.” It was after graduating from culinary school with honours that Chef Ball began to explore food with more playful creativity.
“To cook and eat well you have to understand where your food comes from,” he says. Now, as Chef de Cuisine for Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, Chef Ball continues to be inspired by Southern California’s bounty. “The menus at Seasons reflect my culinary philosophies and inspirations, with the focus on purity and energetic sourcing of local seasonal produce and artisanal ingredients.”
This same enthusiasm and passion for food can be found in the recent “curriculum” of monthly cooking classes that Chef Ball created for 2016. Seasons cooking classes, available to registered guests and owners at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, include lessons in vegetarian cooking, summertime grilling, and cooking with herbs.
With springtime right around the corner, Chef Ball is eagerly awaiting the abundance of incredible vegetables that will soon arrive at farmer’s markets. “My favourites are asparagus, artichokes, morel mushrooms, ramps, nettles, squash blossoms, English peas, fava beans and green garlic, just to name a few!” he laughs. “Lamb is one of the quintessential dishes of spring and it pairs so well with produce from the local farms. I also love rhubarb and strawberries this time of year, which conjure up childhood memories of picking berries and making pies in the kitchen with family.”
Spring will surely be an exciting time to eat at Seasons Restaurant, so why not make plans now for a chance to experience Chef Ball’s cuisine and creativity? Reserve a spot at the Kitchen Counter and enjoy Chef Ball’s company as he helps prepare a memorable five-course meal of inspired seasonal far.