Four Seasons Tries Life as a Food Truck

SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- The setting couldn't have been more picturesque.

It was Butterfly Beach, in majestic Santa Barbara.

The menu -- a sophisticated and elegant mix of offerings befitting one of the world's most renowned purveyors of luxury. The selection included sea bass fritto roll-up, pesto grilled chicken, traditional panzerotto, house-made gnocchetti and quinoa sweet potato lettuce burger.

The venue: a food truck.

This isn't just any food truck. It's a food truck housing chefs from the Four Seasons, a hotel chain known around the world for Michelin-star dining.

The Four Seasons is trailblazing again when it comes to a luxury hotel chain finding new and different ways to reach out and showcase all it has to offer. In mid-September the Four Seasons launched the FS Taste Food Truck as a way to take its high-end cuisine to a broader audience.

The truck is on a three-state, eight-city West Coast tour that will cover 1,000 miles, ending Nov. 10.

Eight Four Seasons hotels are playing host to the truck, each for one week. The tour began in Palo Alto, Calif., and will wind through Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Westlake Village over the next few weeks before moving on to Scottsdale, Ariz., and Santa Fe, N.M.

Fans can follow the truck's route and find out where it is each day using hashtag #FSTasteTruck on Twitter, Facebook ( FB) and Instagram.

"It's a great way to reach out to the community and it's a way to make our food more accessible," says Alessandro Cartumini, executive chef for the Four Seasons resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. "And it's fun for all the chefs, for everyone to show off a little bit and see what we can do in 30 square feet."

At each Four Seasons hotel the truck visits there will be a new menu, developed by the local hotel chef. That same chef will be found in the truck for the week, doing the cooking.

The menus have included everything from Sardinian semolina gnocchi to beef tenderloin salad, duck fat burger and Bombolini with salted caramel sauce.

"For the last few years we have been changing the way we have been doing restaurants and bars. Rather then hotel dining rooms, we wanted to create really relevant restaurants and really embrace the produce of each community," says Guy Rigby, vice president of food and beverage in the Americas for the Four Seasons. "And what better way to showcase this then putting together a tour with our chefs."

"It's really telling people we want to have fun with food and beverage," Rigby adds.

The food truck is just the most recent innovative offering from the Four Seasons. Over the past year or more the hotel has launched numerous creative efforts to reach the public, including a virtual wine tasting program via Twitter and a sommelier on demand program on its Facebook page.

If the experimental food truck tour is successful, the Four Seasons truck will be hitting the road again, Rigby says.

Depending on how you gauge that success, that already seems likely.

The Four Seasons chef in Palo Alto took the truck to the city's farmer's market and did $1,000 worth of revenue in four hours, selling out of everything, Rigby says. In Santa Barbara 250 people lined up to sample Cartumini's creations. Locals stood in line for hours.

Some people even followed the truck to multiple locations over multiple days, Cartumini says, calling the chance watch people enjoy his food a reward of its own.

"You see the faces of the people and they're all coming back and saying 'That was really good,'" he says. "People came for dinner the first night and came for lunch in another location, and then again for lunch in a third location. That makes it feel really good. As a chef, most of the time in the kitchen you don't see what's going on. But on the truck you see people's faces and they're happy about what they are eating."

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