Nov 21, 2018·4 min read
To kick off the countdown to Gala, we had a chance to sit down with the Executive Banquet Chef of the Four Seasons Boston this past week. We thought it would be exciting to take a peek and learn about Chef Angel Cotto and his creative process when curating a menu for an event hosted in the luxury venue.
Behind the youthful face is a seasoned veteran of the restaurant industry with roughly two decades of experience under his belt. Growing up with Puerto Rican roots, Chef Angel Cotto recalls being fascinated watching his Aunt in the kitchen when he was a child. While in high school, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do but found his calling while crafting dishes for his friends and family whenever he had the chance.
Chef Angel Cotto, Executive Banquet Chef of the Four Seasons Boston
After high school, Chef Cotto entered the prestigious culinary program at Johnson and Wales University; notable alumni include Chef and TV Personality Emeril Lagasse and James Beard Award Winner Michelle Bernstein. Coming from a humble background, Angel hit a roadblock keeping up with the high cost of tuition during his second year of schooling. The faculty saw his talent and offered two options: 1) become a residential advisor to offset the costs or 2) jump into the field and start gaining experience. Faced with both options, Chef Cotto realized that he wanted to pursue his passion and knew that if he was dedicated and worked hard, he would find his path. After some years, he finally approached the Four Seasons Boston. After a rigorous four-stage interview process, Angel found himself at the luxury venue and is now the Executive Banquet Chef.
Chef Cotto doesn’t identify as an entrepreneur but his work contains an entrepreneurial spirit. He is not a stranger to working hard and often finds himself working twelve-hour shifts.
He chronicled the time that he spent working under other chefs, where he learned to work long and grueling hours. Even though the road to get to where he is today was challenging, he stated that he is thankful for the work he has put in. He laughs, “Those weren’t the greatest years; I spent a lot of my younger years working a lot of hours to get where I am. It was worth it though and there are no regrets.”
We began to truly see his passion for his work come alive when we moved the conversation to his creative process when approaching an event at the Four Seasons. He draws inspiration from websites, magazines, photos and his surroundings. If he knows that a member of his team can provide more authenticity to a particular type of cuisine, he will ask them….from his sous chefs to his dishwashers.
Chef Cotto also strives to make events modern and intuitive by incorporating elements that primarily focus on presentation. This process is arduous and all-consuming for him, but that passion is ultimately conveyed through the food in its final form.
Shown above: Tuna Tartare Taco with Avocado and Cilantro
Something that was emphasized on more than one occasion during our conversation was the importance of supporting and trusting your team. This stems from the support that he receives daily as a chef, from the Four Seasons itself. He shared, “I have a great team. I am a good hearted person and I put my time and energy into these events and I try to go out of my way to make them the best that they can be and it shows.”
Through his own empowerment, he empowers everyone that he works with to play an active role while hosting an event. From the event staff to the sous chefs, everyone there plays an integral role in events from conception to execution.
Chef Cotto and his team go above and beyond to provide an incredible experience that highlights events and dazzles guests. We are excited to experience what his team has to offer as the TiE Boston Charter Member Community comes together to celebrate at the Four Seasons Boston!
“Make Way for Ducklings” ready for the holiday season! Photo Credit: Kyle Klein