A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York, it was the pursuit of a bounty of seasonal ingredients, world-class wines and the joy that the two together bring when entertaining friends and family, that led John to the Napa Valley. John has honed his skills in some of Napa Valley’s finest restaurants, including St. Helena’s venerable Tra Vigne, as well as The Culinary Institue of America at Greystone. He has also had the privilege of working with many of Napa Valley’s premiere wineries including Caymus Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Colgin Cellars, and Dominus Estate, as well as boutique wineries such as Shypoke, Lava Vine and Amici Cellars. Over the past eight years, he has focused solely on working with private and winery clients in order to provide ultra-exclusive culinary services. As a private chef, he is able to offer services that are highly personalized, with culinary results that speak to Napa Valley’s excellence. John’s menus are seasonally driven by the belief that the fruit of the vine, and the wine that comes from that fruit, is best paired with cuisine inspired by local ingredients. www.napavalleychef.com
After graduating from college, Altman left for France working under some of France’s finest chefs, including Lyon's Bernard Constantin and Jean Brouilly. Altman returned to work in Boston, with Bob Kinkead. Altman then traveled to New Orleans where he learned Creole and Cajun cooking under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace. In the Bay Area, Altman worked at Stars and for legendary rock concert impresario Bill Graham cooking backstage for people like Sting, Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead. But it was the Caribbean and African inspired dishes that he created at Miss Pearl’s Jam House, in 1989 that catapulted Altman to the forefront of the highly competitive Bay Area restaurant scene.
In 1998 Altman launched Bay Café, a food-magazine television show. Three time winner of The James Beard Award for Best Local Cooking Series in 2000, 2001 and 2006.
Since 2005 Chef Joey Altman has been the chef Spokesperson for Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines.
In addition to local television, Altman also hosted two series for the Television Food Network, “Appetite for Adventure,” a show where gourmet cooking meets the great outdoors and “Tasting Napa” a culinary travelogue through Northern California’s wine country. His new cookbook “No Reservations” how to make bold, creative, flavorful food at home is a hit. In his spare time he is a guitarist in an all-chef band called the “Back Burner Blues Band.”
Annie Baker, is a prime example of a professional woman who decided to pursue her passion and completely change her career direction. After receiving an accounting degree from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana, Annie worked in large corporate Finance Departments for the next ten years in Chicago before heading out to the West Coast for the Pastry Arts Program at CIA Greystone. It was there that Annie gained the knowledge, skills and confidence she needed to advance from amateur home baker to professional pastry chef. Then, barely a year after dining as just another tourist at Mustards Grill in the Napa Valley, Annie joined the Mustards kitchen team and collaborated with owner/chef Cindy Pawlcyn to create all of the wonderful, well-known desserts enjoyed by so many happy customers year round. Annie Baker is very friendly, open and honest and – having transitioned from Banking to Baking - always eager to share her personal experiences and insights into the nuances of finding your destiny later on in life. Annie hosts weekly Television culinary segments for KPIX Channel 5 News. On top of that, she started up Annie the Baker and her unique brand of dough-like cookies.
Born and raised in New England, Jonathan realized his passion for cooking while feeding his college roommates. This passion led to a transfer to the U/MASS Amherst Hotel, Restaurant, Travel Administration program and his first job in a restaurant. After several years in management it was off to culinary school to satiate the desire to be working in a professional kitchen. Ten years in some of Boston’s best restaurants led to a chef position at a bed and breakfast on Martha’s Vineyard.
With a winter off and a desire to still learn more, Jonathan enrolled in three classes at the CIA Greystone in St Helena. By the end of the last class, he knew he was not going back to Massachusetts. Six years later, his private catering business has brought him to some of Napa Valley’s most noted wineries; Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Staglin, Far Niente, Chappellet, Ehlers Estate, Duckhorn/Paraduxx, Fisher Vineyards. Taking advantage of Northern California’s bounty, Jonathan shops at local Farmer’s Markets and sources out the best product for each dinner and incorporates Napa’s finest wines to create the ultimate dining experience.
Maria Teresa Capdevielle is the author of "My Sweet Abruzzo", a professional pastry chef and a baking & pastry instructor from Abruzzo (Italy). She learned the art of slow cooking and bread baking with her family. Her local experience includes The Rose Pistola, The Waterfront, The Market Hall, The Townhouse Grill & Restaurant and a stint at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where she learned about hand-selecting and gently preparing perfect produce from Alice Waters. She is writing her second cookbook about Italian small plates. She also teaches baking and pastries privately and at different culinary centers. http://www.mariateresaskitchen.com/
From growing up in the wine country of Western New York to living large in Berkeley, Chef Mike C. slices and dices his way into your kitchen. By the ripe old age of four, he was already in the kitchen practicing his brand of food alchemy. Through the mentorship of his parents, he learned the finer aspects of organic gardening, simplified cuisine, and home entertaining for all occasions. By the end of high school, Mike C. had found his mission in life; to teach the world how to come back to the table with friends, family, food and fun. Since arriving in California, he has owned two catering businesses, started “Party Lifestyle®” with its website, TV show, magazine and live shows. He’s directed two cooking schools and in 2005 opened “Kitchen on Fire® ,” a home chef cooking school, with a philosophy of fantastic food, people, and the demystification of home cooking and entertaining. www.kitchenonfire.com
Chef Allen Calhoun graduated from the
California Culinary Academy in 1981. He went on to work in various restaurants
in the Napa valley, which included Alexi's Bistro, Yountville restaurant and
bar, and Domain Chandon. He took a year to cook and frolic in Australia at the
Hyde Park hotel in downtown Sydney, and moved back to hold chef positions at
Napa Valley Country Club, Embassy Suites, and the Napa Valley Wine Train. In addition
to his regular jobs, he also took on the positions of Controller, kitchen
manager, and on-site chef, with the Sonoma based company Park Avenue Catering
Company. Chef Allen served as founder, president, and Chairman of the board of
the Napa/Sonoma chapter of the American Culinary Foundation, and is currently
teaching butchery, European Cuisine, banquets and catering, at The California
Culinary Academy. He has always participated in local charities throughout his
career, his latest incarnation is a group of students at the school called the
Iron Toques. They volunteer their time cooking at events raising money for the
March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House, and the Make a Wish Foundation.
Amelia Ceja, president of Napa Valley’s Ceja Vineyards since 1999 and the first Mexican-American woman to be president of a wine production company in the history of New World wines. Named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc Magazine in 2004 and honored as Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature in 2005, Ceja is also a party hostess powerhouse whose culinary prowess is legendary in wine country and beyond. She is currently developing a TV show that focuses on cooking, culture and the arts. Whether throwing an intimate party for wine club members or celebrating the holidays in grand style with her three-generation brood, Amelia is all about planning, but also having fun and being in the moment.
“When I wanted tortillas as a kid, I first had to go out, pick corn, and then grind it myself. For me now, cooking is easy and entertaining is so simple: Just open the door to your house and your heart,” Amelia concludes, “and allow people to come in.”
Greg Cole is the executive chef and owner of Celadon and Cole's Chop House, both located in historic downtown Napa. His love of food and wine has created two of the most highly respected restaurants in the Napa Valley. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, he came to the Napa Valley in 1985 to work with Chef Philippe Jeanty in the kitchen of Domaine Chandon. He went on to chef positions at Pasta Prego and Ristorante Piatti. In 1990 Greg’s passion for wine led him to join the winemaking team of Robert Sinskey Vineyards. At Sinskey, Greg worked with respected winemakers Joe Cafaro and Jeff Virnig. In addition to cellar work, he promoted wine sales throughout the country. He cooked and hosted dinners pairing food and wine in top restaurants and cooking schools nationwide.
Rosetta Costantino was born and raised in Verbicaro, a small town in Calabria, two-and-a-half hours south of Naples. Her father was a master cheesemaker and winemaker and tended the familys olive groves, vineyards, livestock and farm. Virtually all the familys food came from its own land or the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Rosetta and her parents moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974 when Rosetta was 14 and continued to maintain Calabrias slow-food traditions, growing and preserving their own produce, making their own ricotta, and curing their own salsiccia calabrese. Her mom, Maria Dito still enjoys cooking with her daughter.
In 2001, when Rosetta became a stay-at-home mom, she began to hone the cooking skills she had learned from her mother and grandmothers. In 2004, a San Francisco Chronicle food-page cover story on her family, "Calabria from Scratch," announced her inaugural cooking classes. The article produced such an overwhelming response that she has been teaching sold-out classes steadily since. www.cookingwithrosetta.com
In the years since her graduation from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York she has worked in many different segments of the food and wine industry; from cooking and service to journalism, education and management. She’s worked in restaurants (front and back), for caterers, at a dotcom, at a winery and now as an educator. In the spring of 2001, She launched Fat Cat Culinary, an enterprise with many facets that allows her the opportunity to work in a variety of milieu and blends her love and knowledge of wine and food. Providing individuals and businesses with food and wine education has given her the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people at a variety of skill levels and on a myriad of topics. Not only has this been very rewarding, it has allowed her to develop and compile a database of more than 1000 original recipes, most of them designed around a specific cuisine or theme and all of them wine-friendly. Maria will tell you “I am truly happiest when I'm working with others to discover their passion for food and wine.” www.fatcatculinary.com
“Massi” Fantucci lives and works in the Napa Valley, surrounded by vineyard-covered
hills that remind him of his Tuscan homeland. Born and raised in the
renaissance city of Florence, Italy, Massi grew up surrounded by art and food
and wine. Like many Italian mothers, his mama’s dishes easily rivaled those of
the best regional restaurants and he was always in the kitchen asking which
spices and herbs she was using.
honed his skills as both a chef and as a woodworker in Italy before traveling
for some time. On his travels, he tried many different cuisines, learning about
local spices and wines. Although his culinary creations are highly influenced
by his Tuscan heritage, he has successfully fused his heritage with Thai,
Middle Eastern, Indian, Caribbean, Mexican and other ethnic cuisines. Massi has
been a chef in Italy, Canada and Hawaii. He moved to California, opened his custom
furniture and restoration business, Handcrafted Woodworks (mfantucci.com) but
has always continued working as a private chef throughout the Napa Valley and
the Bay Area. Together with his partner, he also runs a Napa and Sonoma wine
tour business, Living all his life in either the wine capital of Italy or of
America, traveling extensively and trying many different foods and wines from
all over the world has gained him respectable expertise in food and wine
Diane de Filipi
Diane’s love of Italian Peasant Cuisine began in her Italian American family home. She has studied with Graham Kerr, Executive Chef’s Roberto Francesco Zanieri in Tuscany and Lucca Pavi in Rome, as well as attending specialty programs at the Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena Campus.
Since 2005 Diane has been working with culinary associates in Italy and offers culinary adventures in Tuscany www.letsgocookitalian.com .
Diane also works as a Chef, contributes to the Food and Wine section of the Napa Register, is a hospitality consultant and private concierge, is a regular guest on Napa Valley Wine Radio's culinary broadcasts, is the Italian “Food-Caster” for A Million Cooks , offers olive oil tasting classes and judges local olive oil competitions.
Janet Fletcher is a staff food writer and weekly cheese columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, where her writing has won two James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award. She also writes a bimonthly cheese column for Specialty Food, a trade magazine, and frequently conducts guided wine and cheese tastings. Janet has written on wine and food topics for numerous national publications and has authored or co-authored 18 cookbooks, including The Cheese Course, Fresh from the Farmers Market and the just-published The Niman Ranch Cookbook. www.foodwriter.com
Chef Ken Frank has spent more than two- thirds of his life in the kitchen. He was a celebrity chef in Los Angeles at the tender age of 21, when he made a name for himself as a grand master of French-California cuisine at La Guillotine. By the age of 24, he owned his own restaurant, the original La Toque on Sunset Boulevard, which he ran for 15 years. What have become standards in today’s finest restaurants—combining classic technique with the freshest local ingredients, constantly changing menus, and designing menus around a single ingredient such as truffles, garlic, or foie gras—Frank has been doing since the 1970s. Frank has always felt the importance of the food far outweighs the need for theatrics. Ken says "The trick is for food to always taste as good as it looks.” Today he owns LaToque Restaurant in Napa.
Born and raised in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Enrique Gonzalez,
eldest of 14 children, learned how to cook as a small child, aiding his mother
while she prepared meals for their large family. It was there, in his mother's kitchen, that
he developed his creativity, spirit and passion for the Culinary Arts.
It wasn't long before Enrique started a family of his
own. There in his own kitchen he would
spend countless hours creating new recipes while still maintaining recipes from
old family traditions.
Upon reaching American soil in 2008, his brother Alberto
proposed to finance Enrique so that he could pursue his lifelong dream of
opening his own restaurant. In 2011
Enrique and his wife Oly and their four grown children opened Cielito Lindo
(meaning Beautiful Sky)on Main Street in downtown Napa. They offer casual elegance to traditional Mexican
food while maintaining an atmosphere of family and warmth. www.cielitolindonapa.com
Kinyon was born in the east bay in the town of Danville. Having grown up around his self-employed father, it seemed only logical that he go into a business with a 90% rate of failure :-)
In 1986 Kinyon opened Café Kinyon in Napa, moving to Yountville five years later, occupying the space that is currently Michael Chiarello’s Bottega. After 15 years of percentage rent and merchant association meetings, Kinyon left Yountville and built a commissary in downtown Napa. In addition to catering, Kinyon operates the on-site food operation for Dey Laboratories in Napa.
Kinyon’s culinary adventure began in high school where he worked for caterers. Though not professionally trained, Kinyon has studied throughout the world; London, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy and Beijing. To say that food is Kinyon’s passion is, indeed, an understatement. He credits his creative ideas to his publisher father, and his love of food to "Granny" who instilled in him a zest for cooking and entertaining. His classes at Kinyon’s Culinary are fun, educational and very interactive. His ideas are fresh, his approach to food is very practical, and most importantly, his students walk away well fed and well entertained.
Chef Richard Haake’s profound passion for wine and food was sparked while attending the prestigious New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. During a workshop exploring the reactions between wine and food, he was astounded by the familiar flavor of Reese’s Pieces candy on his palate after tasting the combination of Hershey’s milk chocolate, Roquefort, and Château d’Yquem. This pivotal moment would forever change his relationship with wine and food, and ultimately lend shape to his career. Following his 1997 graduation, Richard moved to the Napa Valley. He assumed full-time positions in the kitchens of Terra and Pinot Blanc. During Richard’s service at Pinot Blanc, the restaurant was awarded three stars from San Francisco Chronicle’s infamous food critic Michael Bauer, and was named one of Robert Parker’s top dining experiences of 1999.
In the fall of 2001, Richard found a home at Cakebread Cellars. Five years later Richard moved to the executive chef position at Robert Mondavi Winery.
Today, Richard is the owner and chef of Winery Chefs. When Richard isn’t busy with his new venture, he can be found organic gardening, traveling, learning to play guitar, and home winemaking with his wife, Virginia.
Chef Gunther Heiland is a Certified Master Pastry Chef, one of a select few to hold this title in the United States. The recipient of numerous culinary awards, Chef Heiland won gold during the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, West Germany.
Chef Heiland serves as a member of the American Culinary Federation's Master Chef Certification Program committee and competition committee. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs and member of several professional associations including the American Culinary Federation. Former owner of Desserts International in Pennsylvania, he designed gorgeous European-style wedding cakes and supplied extravagant desserts to top restaurants and hotels up and down the East Coast. As if his title of Master Pastry Chef weren't impressive enough, Heiland is also in Chocolate Magazine's Hall of Fame, and was named Chef Magazine's "Pastry Chef of the Year." He now heads up pastry competition teams that compete world wide.
Chef Jill Silverman Hough is a cookbook author, food and wine writer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor whose forte is making food and cooking simple yet special. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking, Clean Eating, Napa Sonoma, and other magazines. And her cookbook, 100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love, premiered in April 2010, with 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love out in April 2011. With a fresh, friendly, and encouraging voice and recipes that quickly and easily deliver casual elegance, Jill makes creativity in the kitchen and delight at the table totally accessible to home chefs. She lives in Napa, California.
Chef Bob Hurley is a world traveler and devotee of the culture, cuisine and lifestyles of many other countries. His inspiration and innovative style have been largely influenced by his mentors, two renowned San Francisco chefs; the late Masa Kobayashi, a master of blending classic French cuisine with Japanese esthetics and creativity, and Jeremy Tower, one of the early architects of California cuisine. Chef Hurley became the executive chef of the Napa Valley Grille in Yountville in 1992, where he transformed local ingredients into dishes with a Mediterranean accent. During this time, Bob honed his interpretation of wine country cuisine, and in 1998 he won the Hot Concept Award from Nations Restaurant News. In 1999 Bob was chosen by Cooking Light magazine as one of the five Shining Star Chefs in the US.
In October 2002, Bob opened his own restaurant, Hurley's, in Yountville.
Dana Johnson is a bubbly California native. Over the past few years Dana’s culinary dreams have blossomed into realities. For the past two years Dana has been teaching an adult cooking class. She has won two cooking contests in the past year both taking her to New York City. The first contest prize was a trip to the Rachel Ray Show. The second contest took her to The New York City Food & Wine Festival with The National Pork Board to compete with Guy Fieri from the Food Network. Dana also has a regular scheduled cooking segment on FOX40 News. You can view a few of her segments at www.danasfamilykitchen.com. She also caters numerous charity events, cooking demo shows, private cooking parties, and has recently been a personal chef at the exclusive Edgewood Tahoe’s private beach house. Dana aka “The Recipe Genie” is currently working with Orbit Productions specializing in food product enhancement via creating original recipes, website video demos, infomercials, and commercials.
Dana’s passion for food and people is truly inspired from within. She is in perpetual motion looking for the next culinary experience to add to her repertoire of culinary accomplishments.
Scott, the son of a home economics teacher and grandson of one of the original recipe creators for Sunset Magazine, learned to cook from these ladies. Since the age of 14 he worked in a variety of restaurants like Karl Straus in La Jolla before going off to study business at San Diego State. With a love of food, wine and traveling in common, Scott and his wife Stephanie set out to travel around the world after they graduated. After traveling for a year, exploring the food and wine on various continents, they landed back in Napa where Scott was the sous chef at Underwood Bistro. He teamed up with his wife and business partner Steve Distler and opened Carpe Diem.
Scotts idea is to serve simple, but great, food that pairs well with the wines, based on lots of tasting and experimentation. He is always changing the menu. He wants to keep it seasonal, and incorporate produce grown organically on his mother’s Sebastopol farm.
“This all fits the Carpe Diem philosophy,”— Eat, drink, be merry and Seize the day.
Chef Diana Marano is a native cook from Palermo (Italy) where she lived most of her life and where she was formally educated as a Civil Engineer (PhD). She moved to San Francisco in 2008 and since then she has been offering her insights to food enthusiasts teaching them how to prepare tasty Sicilian and Italian culinary delights.
Diana enjoys cooking as a way of expressing both her creativity and her desire for precision. She started cooking as a young girl helping her mom preparing traditional feasts for their guests. Cooking for her is a way to re-create the warm and festive atmosphere of her childhood home and the colors, variety and flavors of her native Sicily. While her repertoire today spans all types of dishes from traditional home-style dishes to modern fusion cooking, over time Diana has developed a keen interest in baking both savory and sweet dishes. The foundation of all her dishes is Sicilian and Italian, but since living in San Francisco she has also adopted spices and techniques from other cuisines. www.frommykitchentoyourkitchen.com
Chef Weezie Mott is a teacher by profession with an extensive background in the biological sciences. She lived for many years in Italy and Turkey where she studied in depth the history and the unjique art of food preparation in those countries.
Chef Weezie has studied with Marcella Hazan in Bologna, Italy and also in Venice, Italy. She attended cooking seminars taught by Giuliano Bugialli in Florence, Italy. Chef Weezie has worked in Turkish family kitchens in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Turkey. She completed classes at the Cordon Bleu in London and La Varenne in Paris and did additional food study in Lyon and Vienne, France. She completed a two week Practical and Cultural Food and Wine Seminar iunde Madeline Kamman in Annecy, France and a weeks course entitled "Therapeutic Effects of Wine" in Paris and Reims. She worked in the kitchens of Chateau de Nieuil in the Charentes region of France and worked under Chef Didier Clement in the kitchen of Hotel Du Lion d'Or, Fomorantin, France. She participated in a two week wine and food seminar in Sicily and Calabria, Italy with Giuliano Bugialli. Most recently Chef Weezie toured Greece, Italy and Corsica on a food and wine seminar led by Chef Michael Romano of the Union Square Cafe in New York City.
Chef Weezie skillfully combines her knowledge of food preparation gained on scene with the more formalized experiences of the European Cooking Schools to come up with her own teaching techniques and presentations.
It is not just respect for the experience that makes Chef Macdonald’s meals a captivating and joyful culinary journey. It is his belief in the food source itself.
No chemically enhanced products, no meats laced with growth hormones find their way on to any plate of food served. Native California fish are either appropriately farm-raised or line caught; only meats that are humanely raised are considered, fresh local vegetables are, of course, de rigor. But, it is not just about the best sources, it is also about talent and organization.
Chef Macdonald’s love affair with food started in childhood when he spent time with his grandparents at their Northern California beachfront property fishing, gathering clams and shellfish and making them integral parts of family celebrations.
“To me, sitting down and eating is a celebration of life and the experience should be savored as much as the food.” Chef Kelly Macdonald is the Executive Chef of the Napa Valley Wine Train.
With more than Seventeen years behind the stove, Chef Jordan Mackey has led the kitchens of several notable restaurants including the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa in Miami, La Playa Beach & Golf Resort in Naples, and Meritage in Naples, Fla. Mackey was named "Chef of the Month" in October 2003 by Entrée Magazine, and his dishes have been featured in Travel & Leisure and numerous television stations. Most recently Chef Mackey headed up the culinary operations at The Historic Edgewater Hotel in Seattle’s waterfront district. There he sunk his teeth into the breadbasket of the northwest, networking with farmers, fisherman, local winemakers, and the local chefs collaborative, creating a distinctive northwest "farm to table experience."
Chef Mackey took the helm at Napa’s Restaurant Cuvee in Sept 2010, and created what he likes to call "High Country Cuisine", drawing inspiration from the wine country grape farming lifestyle, and the high level of expectation for wine country food and drink. "At Cuvee we will be constantly looking for ways to combine the local fruit of the land into new country-inspired creations with a nostalgic edge, and wonderful people to share it with".
In his spare time chef Mackey can be found digging in the restaurant's large organic vegetable garden with his 3 year old daughter Aria, or visiting his friends at local farmers markets and wineries. Mackey graduated from the New England Culinary Institute, and has had stages with Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's restaurants, and Austrian Master Chef Wilhelm Gahabka, and credits his mentoring and inspiration to French Master Chef Michel Leborgne, Union Square Café's Danny Meyer, and fresh vegetables.
While living in Boston my father, GM of a hotel, had me washing dishes at age 8. As he moved from Hotels to Restaurants I followed and began to cook. After High School, achieved degrees in A.O.S. Culinary Arts and BS in Food service Management. Back to Boston working under Chef Peter McCarthy (Season’s Restaurant) teaching me the passion behind locally farmed produce. That led me to San Francisco working for Chef Sylvain Portay at the Ritz-Carlton featuring true French cuisine using the freshest ingredients. Then moved to Vence, France and apprenticed with Chef Jacques Maximin at Restaurant Maximin. Back to New York working with Chef Floyd Cardoz and Chef Andrew Carmellini learning everything they could teach me. Returned to SF as Sous Chef working first for Chef Laurent Gras (Fifth Floor Restaurant) then for Chef Ron Siegel at Masa’s, additionally apprenticing at Quince Restaurant under Chef Michael Tusk, watching simplicity and perfection in action. Back to Paris in the kitchen of Chef Alain Ducasse to prepare for his opening of Mix Restaurant in Las Vegas. I was the Chef de Cuisine.
I take pride in the products and the techniques I’ve learned to appreciate and utilize. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing people enjoy the food that I have prepared.
Nancy Lindaas Pando and Mauro Pando
Partnering with husband Mauro as co-owner of Graces Table, Nancy brings 23 years of direct restaurant experience to Graces Table Restaurant with an additional 4 years as an instructor and Culinary Arts Department Director.
While living in the Seattle area she was the opening sous chef at Six Degrees, then promoted to general manager. She was the executive chef of the Lake Union Café, Seattle. She also has consulted with other restaurateurs setting up and opening restaurants and restaurant expansions plus training of both front of the house and kitchen staffs.
Through relocations and raising children, Nancy has continued with her culinary work through consulting and through charitable events. She has served on the culinary team for the International Pinot Noir Celebration, McMinnville, Ore., for 12 years; Sovern Guild for Childrens Hospital, Seattle, for 15 years; and March of Dimes. She is working on a program with Cedar Gables Inn to support Voices.
In Mauro's career, he established himself as a quick study of a myriad of cuisines, grounding himself in their historical and technical aspects, while tapping into the soul of each. He creates menus at once authentic, yet thoughtful and fresh. He has most recently come out of the kitchens as Executive Chef of The Grand Cafe, S.F. a Classic French Brasserie, Red Star Tavern and Roast House, Portland Or. a regional American tavern. Prior to that he served as Chef de Cuisine at Scalas Bistro, with a strong Italian and country French background. Earlier in his career he served as the opening team and Executive Chef for Reed Hearons Restaurant LuLu, S.F. Italian/French Riviera food and cooked alongside Bradly Ogden in the early years of Lark Creek Inn, an American regional restaurant.
Chef Gary Penir has worked in kitchens in Napa and Sonoma counties for the last five years. During this time he has refined the skills and techniques required to deliver exceptional foods from all over the world to his guests.
Born and raised in Napa Valley, Gary started at Wine Spectator Restaurant at Greystone in St. Helena, CA under a wide array of chefs, including Chef Robert Curry (Executive Chef of Auberge de Soleil), Chef James Corwell (ACF Certified Master Chef), followed by Chef Polly Lapetitto (Executive Chef of the Wine Spectator Restaurant). In 2006, Gary became Sous Chef of Wine Spectator Restaurant where he coordinated all aspects of the kitchen. In 2008, Gary moved to Sonoma County to work at Cyrus Restaurant (2 Michelin stars) in Healdsburg, California under Executive Chef Douglas Keene. Gary has now moved back to the Napa Valley to launch his own business, Cuisine GP.
Gary works with Caldwell Vineyards, Jessup Cellars, Castillo de Amarosa, Saviez Vineyards, Round Pond Winery, G Wine Cellars and various other businesses throughout the North Bay. In 2009 Gary participated in the Decanting Napa Valley cookbook where you can read his perspective on "Future of Cuisine" and thumb through multiple recipes and pictures.
In 1988, Jill Prescott realized her long-held dream of opening a school of traditional French cuisine for the home cook. For it, she developed a series of one-week, weekend, and one-day courses, such as Classic French Cuisine, Regional French Cooking, French Bistro, Patisserie, Seafood, Wine and Food Pairing, and Boulangerie, which successfully taught professional techniques and recipes to recreational cooks. Before opening the Ecole de Cuisine, Jill trained extensively at top Parisian culinary and wine schools. She holds advanced diplomas and certifications from Ecole Lenotre, Ecole de Cuisine Ritz Escoffier, Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne and L’Academie du Vin. Jill is trained in classic cuisine, pastry and bread baking, and has assiduously updated her knowledge, returning to France over 20 times to work with culinary artisans and wine producers, allowing her to add new dimensions to her programs. She also works closely with top wineries in Napa to bring out the finest tastes available.
With the success of her school, Jill went on to host two popular nationally syndicated PBS series and author a book named after the series, Jill Prescott’s Ecole de Cuisine. She was featured as one of the United States’ top female chefs in Women of Taste (a book written by Beverly Russell and forwarded by Julia Child.)
She is a strong supporter of artisan producers from Napa and around the world in conjunction with her work. www.jillprescott.com
When Joe was a boy, you would find tomato sauce simmering for hours each Sunday morning, filling the house with it's heart-warming aroma. The afternoon would find the family visiting Grandmother Emmo, and Joe would be enjoying meatballs for the second time that day!
When he was old enough, Joe made Italian sausage with his father and uncles. To him, being allowed to join in this generations' old tradition marked his passage from boyhood to becoming a man. Now he was old enough to listen to the men and their stories, to celebrate life with them with a glass of his Uncle Angelo's wine or his father's hard cider.
Celebrations always found Joes family around the kitchen table - eating, talking and enjoying the moment for what it was - living well! Joe and his wife previously owned Piccolino's Italian Café. It was a celebration of his family recipes, traditions and memories. They baked his Grandmother's bread fresh each day, slow cook his Father's ragu and made the best lasagna ever.
Joe is active in Napa’s famous Mustard festival. He is also one of the featured chefs during the Napa Town Center Chefs Market and has appeared with the Simon/Food Network Celebrity Chef Tour.
Food is not just something you eat. It is an experience unlike anything else. A simple sound, aroma, texture or taste can spark many memories; memories that last a lifetime. A euphoric roller coaster of flavor and feelings.
With almost 20 Years of experience in some of the finest restaurants in California, including Poggio, Stars Bar and Dining, Chez Nous, La Table, and Le Theatre, Kris has prepared everything from casual Mediteranean small plates to French fine dining. A natural curiosity and passion for only the best ingredients has served as a catalyst for creativity. “The ingredients should speak for themselves” Kris notes. By combining rustic and fine techniques, the dishes are bold, yet fresh and clean. “Let me give you a memorable experience, in the Art of Food, and its wonderful flavors.”
Joanne’s passion for home cooking was stoked by a legacy of life in the kitchen. Joanne’s great-grandmother operated a restaurant in Boston at the turn of the century called Pilgrim’s Pantry. That enthusiasm for food was passed down to her mother, a professional chef and caterer, who worked for years with the legendary cookbook author, Charlotte Turgeon. Joanne continues that same tradition, though it wasn’t until after getting a degree in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts and teaching Fine Arts in Boston that she found her way back to the table.
Joanne spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and studied with Madeleine Kamman in New England and France and was awarded a Master Chef Diploma. Her ultimate calling has been in her teaching, which has taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Thailand, South America, and England. She spends six months of the year touring the globe sharing her extensive background with regard to food theory and technique, in particular Mediterranean cuisine and the regional foods of the U.S. All these elements come alive in her classes as well as her delightful cookbooks and television series.
Chef Brian Whitmer, Executive Chef at VINeleven Restaurant in Napa, has an impressive culinary background that started in Kansas City and found him developing his trademark skills and techniques in a wide variety of kitchens, from New York City to Carmel, CA. Chef Whitmer showcases his Kansas City roots with the culinary finesse and expertise that has won him national accolades. The widely renowned Chef utilizes local and seasonal ingredients to create simple, delicious dishes that blend his passion for gardening with his highly celebrated gourmet restaurant experiences.
Whitmer began his career under Chef Bradley Ogden at Kansas City's famed American Restaurant before moving northeast to New York's Tavern on the Green, Montrachet, and The Polo Club, where he worked with culinary genius Daniel Boulud. In fact, Whitmer's stint at Montrachet earned the restaurant a three-star rating from the New York Times.
After his success in New York, Whitmer hit the Bay Area food scene in 1989, where he again teamed up with Chef Bradley Ogden in opening San Francisco's Campton Place Hotel. Next, Whitmer went on to spend six years as Executive Chef at the Highland Inn in beautiful Carmel, CA where he oversaw culinary operations for the prestigious Masters of Food & Wine. After Carmel, Whitmer demonstrated his superior culinary expertise at Montrio in Monterey, which resulted in a nod for "Best Restaurant of the Year" by Esquire food aficionado John Mariani.
Located on Puget Sound, Chef/ Owner Peter Witt is the Dover Point Gourmet Executive Chef. He was classically trained in traditional French-Provencal Culinary arts at the South Seattle Culinary Arts Institute at SSCC. He brings 10 years of restaurant and cooking experience in fine dining establishments from Alaska to Washington. "For me a great culinary experience is where tasteful healthy food is simply prepared with elegance and class" stated Peter at the last Cedar Gables class. Peter uses classic techniques of a saucier, showing how each exquisite sauce compliments the superb ingredients.
Peter’s goal is to enable students to prepare seafood that transforms their culinary experience and expands their horizons through smell, taste, and flavor while having fun.
Will grew up in a large Italian Family and credit my grandparents with my culinary passion and sense of hospitality. After 4 years of college and 3 years working, Will enrolled in the California Culinary Academy doing externships at Julia’s Kitchen and the French Laundry. After graduating in 2003 he took a position at Santé in the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, then traveled to Hawaii to help Fairmont open several restaurants. After returning to the states Will became the Executive Sous Chef at Wente Vineyards Restaurant. After 3 years he moved to the Bounty Hunter starting as a sous chef and moving up to Executive Chef. Will has the smallest kitchen in Napa Valley, so he had to use a grill and two Kamado smokers to cook food, which is why he chose BBQ as the cuisine of choice. Will says "I've always loved to grill, but while at Bounty Hunter I have been able to perfect my craft. My favorite BBQ item on the menu still has to be the Pulled Pork. People from all over the country come in to the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ and ask me what type of BBQ we do, is it North Carolina, Texas, Memphis style... I always tell them it's California Wine Country BBQ, these people take BBQ seriously almost like a religion so you can imagine their surprise when they find out a kid from California can cook up some mean BBQ!" www.bountyhunterwinebar.com