I was stunned by the news of Christian Albin’s death earlier this week. Mr. Albin, Executive Chef at the beloved Four Seasons Restaurant, passed away on Saturday, June 13 due to cancer, only two days after the Four Seasons’ 50th Birthday Bash.
Albin joined the Four Seasons in 1973 and assumed the position of Executive Chef in 1990. Accordingly, he has been the chef throughout my entire history with the restaurant, including our attendance at last Thursday’s event.
I only met him briefly once, but his cuisine has had a lasting impression upon me for years. As I recounted in my review of the restaurant’s 50th Anniversary Gala, I quickly became enamored with Christian’s food. Over a decade later, I can still recall the lusciousness of foie gras served with roasted peaches, at that first lunch.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of dining at the Four Seasons for both formal wine dinners and casual cocktail parties, all of which delivered fabulous food, time and again. Whether it was caviar-topped smoked salmon or braised short ribs, I loved it all. So much so that I trusted him with my palate implicitly. The very first time I ate unagi (eel) and sushi, it was at the Four Seasons, having been afraid to try them previously.
On another occasion, my husband and I chose to order the Chef’s Tasting Menu at dinner, which is simply listed as such on the menu. The server checked for any allergies, but, we would not know what to expect until each course arrived at the table. I don’t recall the full menu, but I do remember that one course included sweet breads, which is something I would never have ordered or thought to try. However, I reasoned that if Christian had deemed the ingredient to be tasty, the least I could do was taste it; they were heavenly.
These memories will remain embedded in my mind as some of my most pleasant experiences and I am thankful to Chef Albin to have them. We will certainly return to the Four Seasons restaurant, but he will truly be missed. Our sincerest condolences to his family and colleagues.