For a while there, it seemed as if Boston might be swallowed whole by the Big Dig, a $14.62 billion tunneling project begun in 1991 by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority that is only now within sight of completion. But Bean Town, never short on pluck, not only has kept going through the dig, but also implemented some new traditions, such as the Celebrity Chefs Culinary Program. For the 11th year, the program will be held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel on Saturdays from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25.
The "Celebrity Chefs Weekend Package" combines program tickets with a hotel stay. The price is $698 a couple, assuming a stay the nights of Feb. 10 and 11. That includes two nights in a deluxe room and two tickets to the chefs program; it doesn't include transportation to or in Boston, taxes or gratuities.
Contact: 800-257-7544; fair mont.com.
Classes start at 1 p.m. and last two hours. These are cooking demonstrations, rather than hands-on affairs. But a hotel spokesperson says that the gallery is kept to a maximum of 65 or 70 people so that the event maintains a sense of intimacy, with plenty of opportunities for asking questions. Participants don't just sit around, though; they take part in food and wine tasting and receive a course notebook. Proceeds go toward a scholarship fund at the Boston Center for Adult Education.
Each program is conducted by a different chef or team. For example, Jan. 14, the team from Boston's Icarus -- Chris Douglass, executive chef, and Ron Abell, chef de cuisine -- will hold court. Jan. 21, Alain Pignard, executive chef at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, will take charge. Jan. 28, Kerry Downey Romaniello, cookbook author and executive chef of Westport Rivers' (Winery) Wine and Food Education Center in Westport, Mass., will be there.
Laurent Poulain, executive chef of the Fairmont Copley Plaza, wraps up things Feb. 25.