Genuine Hospitality & a Secret Garden in Palm Beach

Bhel puri poolside at the Atlantic Bar, featuring tamarind water made from the fruit of the hotel garden's tree, seen here with a Key West Sunset Ale, my Saturday lunch.

Whenever we’re on the road for events, we have the pleasure of working with great people. But every once in a while we encounter some exceptional folks with whom, like a button, it just clicks. Such was the case at this past weekend’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival.

Meet Darryl Moiles, executive chef at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach where you can you find an edible garden and a street food-inspired menu at poolside Atlantic Bar & Grill. Dishes are prepared with thought and authenticity to the world’s exceptional seaside towns like Palm Beach; Taormina Beach in Italy; Cabo San Lucas in Mexico; Phuket, Thailand; Baga Beach, India; and Dolphin Reef Eliat, Israel.  Moiles began with the Four Seasons in Boston, later heading to the west coast and its San Diego property, where he settled for 10 years and developed a love for local, seasonal produce.  Having spent the better part of the past 10 summers over July 4th weekend ensconced at the Atlantic’s bar watching Wimbledon and drinking lip-tingling Bloody Mary’s, I can say with certainty that the last four years, and most especially last Friday to Sunday, have been the best ever food and service I’ve experienced at this hotel. Or any I can remember, for that matter.  It’s no coincidence this coincides with Moiles’ arrival.   

Annona, or sugar apple, is thriving now.

And to think I never knew about his edible garden right off the entrance driveway this whole time, which was in full fruit this weekend with sapodilla, tamarind, cherry peppers, herbs, citrus, and sugar apple, with lots more veggies and fruits well on their way to harvest.  Living near some of the state’s key local farming areas, Moiles is regularly talking with farmers and checking the fields to see how the upcoming harvest is shaping up, and works with local fisherman to get what’s fresh.  You can taste it at the Atlantic. Even the bartender picks their herbs from the garden for drinks.

In the kitchen at Atlantic Bar & Grill (from left to right) chef de cuisine Ricky Amezcua, chef Nicardo Satahoo and chef Amitkumar Prajapati.

“I wanted to do a street food concept with beach food in 2010, and we had four areas of the country represented, served dishes that you would find on board walks etc in those areas,” Moiles explains.  “This year we started the R&D for the menu. During that time I went on vacation to Italy and came back over inspired. [My chef] Ricky had begun to build the menu and at that point we decided to go with beaches around the world rather than just the U.S.  The Palm Beach section was easy, we innovated the Cuban sandwich into spring rolls and so on. I added a few Piadina’s that I fell in love with in Italy, Ricky had a large impact with adding his dishes from Mexico. Then we started to think what else could we do.”

With Asian food always very popular, and knowing they wanted to leave the Chirashi on the menu which was a dish Darryl’s banquet chef Adam developed, they started thinking about how to round out the section.

“We wanted to get mango and papaya on the menu, so we started to think about Thailand,” he continues.  “Then after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain and PHO, we developed that section of the menu which is one of my favorites. My opinion is Indian food is beginning to become one of the next big trends. Again doing some research we found a couple dishes that sounded very interesting so we asked our chef Amit if he was familiar. He made the dishes and we were hooked!”

MGFD line cook Brad Bonham (center) rocked it, traveling with us as Michael's culinary support for the weekend and directing Darryl's (left) staff on Michael's dishes at Friday's welcome event.

For the full menu, including Israel-inspired vegetarian dishes,  simple and full of flavor, click here, and for behind the scenes images of Michael and Darryl’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival Beach Bash welcome event, head right this way.  Huge thanks to the entire team at the Four Seasons Resort for making our stay beyond comfortable.  We won’t ever forget it, and we will be back!

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