by Chef William Bracken
(Makes 8—6 oz. burgers)
In a hot sauté-pan add olive oil. Once hot add shallots and sauté until translucent. Add capers, wine, and lemon juice and reduce liquid until almost evaporated. Before it has totally reduced, add chopped dill and toss mixture well. Transfer to a plate, and place in refrigerator until well chilled.
Take salmon, butter, and caper-shallot mix and place in mixing bowl. Combine mixture well by hand. Next add bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix very well. Take a 6 ounce portion of mixture and form into patties that are level.
In a hot skillet place olive oil and heat. Add burger to skillet and brown nicely on each side for about 1-1 1/2 minutes or until burger is just slightly medium-rare to medium.
Born in Wathena, Kansas, Bracken began his culinary career as a dishwasher in a family-owned restaurant at the age of 12 and was cooking by 13. Winning first prize in a cooking competition, he was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York. Upon graduation, Bracken joined the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas where he spent a year as a cook. Prior to joining The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Bracken served as executive sous chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach.
As The Peninsula Beverly Hills' executive chef, Bracken supervises a staff of more than 50 cooks and stewards. His primary responsibility is overseeing the Peninsula's three restaurants: the Belvedere, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in an elegant residential setting; the Roof Garden, the hotel's pool side terrace restaurant, which offers lighter fare with a panoramic view of Beverly Hills, and the Living Room, a comfortable salon serving an informal menu and afternoon tea. Bracken also oversees all room service and banquets. It is his job to ensure that everything a guests eats and drinks, from a five-course holiday dinner to a cup of breakfast coffee, meets the high standards of the award-winning Peninsula Beverly Hills.
"Although there is a tremendous amount of responsibility involved in being an executive chef, I'm looking forward to working here at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, " said Bracken. " I am more than just an overseer, I am a working chef. The Peninsula offers the perfect combination of environment, level of sophistication and quality that I am looking for."
"We are delighted to have Mr. Bracken join our team. His award-winning talent and culinary knowledge will assist in creating a new standard of cuisine excellence for The Peninsula Beverly Hills," said Ali Kasikci, General Manager.
Bracken brings a straightforward approach to cooking—fresh, light, healthy dishes with subtle ethnic influences. Bracken is renowned for his ability to transform ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary without losing the individuality and flavor because as he says, "an item should taste the way it is described on the menu—I like to keep dishes simple. Flavors should be strong and apparent, not masked. If I prepare lamb with rosemary and thyme, I want it to taste like lamb, rosemary and thyme... I like to accentuate foods, not overpower them. My sauces are very light, very natural."
His philosophy of simplicity has enabled him to avoid the trap of relying on trendy and exotic dishes with elaborate presentations. "I try to maintain a traditional approach to cooking, " comments Bracken. " Most people want real cuisine, they are searching for food that looks good, tastes good and that they can enjoy. Presentation is one thing, but the most important thing is taste --taste always comes first."
Bracken, who is married and has an infant son, loves to cook at home. His wife, who is a pastry chef, and he publish their own newsletter, The Cooks Corner.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills is a 195-room luxury hotel located in the heart of Beverly Hills and is the only Five Star / Five Diamond hotel in Los Angeles. It is managed by The Peninsula Group, the hotel, marketing and operations arms of The Hong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, and one of the premier hotel groups in the world. The group maintains a tradition and reputation for providing the highest quality service and management.
Conceived like a private residential dining room overlooking lush gardens, The Belvedere is the only 5 Diamond hotel restaurant in California. Under the direction of Executive Chef Bill Bracken. The Belvedere features contemporary California cuisine with modern American influences. A private dining room is available and can accommodate parties of up to 16-25. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM.
Breakfast: Poached eggs on smoked salmon with Hollandaise sauce, Cinnamon raisin brioche French toast, grilled tournedos of beef topped with fried eggs.
Lunch: Lobster and fresh asparagus salad with a mint lemon dressing, medallions of veal in a tomato and basil coulis, penne pasta with roasted vegetables and extra virgin olive oil.
Dinner: Rosemary scented roast rack of lamb with smoked garlic, pan fried breast of duckling with cabernet grapes balsamic vinegar and gratineed potatoes, baked Dover sole in an herb brioche rust with chervil butter.
A comfortable salon with the ambiance of a gracious home. Serving an informal menu and the traditional Peninsula afternoon tea. A harpist entertains daily. Open daily from 11:30 AM to 1:00 AM.
Menu Highlights: Cold Salmon, marinated cucumber and mixed greens with tarragon and orange dressing, carpaccio of beef in wasabe mustard, sonoma foie gras in Chinese black mushroom aspic.
A stylish pool side patio with a panoramic view of Beverly Hills and Century City. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks.
Menu Highlights: Mixed baby greens, air dried beef, buffalo mozzarella, prawns, smoked salmon and mixed greens, cold fusilli pasta and roasted bell peppers in pesto and California goat cheese, smoked chicken with avocado, citrus and zucchini in ancho chili vinaigrette.
Reminiscent of a handsome den, The Club Bar is decorated by maple paneled walls, gleaming brass details and brass scones. The entire room is a background for a collection of museum-quality California Plein Air paintings of six tranquil landscapes, reflecting scenes of nearby venues of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. A full selection of premium brands, wines by the glass, rare vintage ports and cognacs are offered. Open from 11:00 AM to midnight.
An elegantly appointed banquet room with a landscaped terrace for outdoor entertaining. The perfect place for an intimate luncheon, wedding or special occasion, this area can accommodate 100 people for a sit-down reception or 200 people for a cocktail reception.
Available around the clock, your choice of cuisine will be delivered to your door.
Menu Highlights: Broiled filet of salmon lightly glazed with a lavender mustard, rosemary scented roast rack of lamb with smoked garlic, marinated sesame chicken with shiitake mushrooms.
Provided by The Peninsula—Beverly Hills
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified January 2007
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