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Chef Movement in Napa


Carolyn Tillie
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Robert Curry is going to take over at Auberge du Soleil on April 1. Previously, he's been executive chef at the CIA Greystone (unremarkable, IMO).

Joseph Humphrey had been at Auberge for the past year and it was actually getting better. Curious what Curry will do to it. Prior to Humphrey, Richard Reddington was the chef "up on the hill," but has taken over the old Piatti restaurant in Yountville which is slated to re-open this spring.

Where did Humphrey go? Well he's partnered with noted San Francisco chef George Morron to open a place in ..... wait for it .... the sprawling metropolis of Novato.

The only thing I know about Novato is that the NoCal Renaissance Faire used to be there until they got kicked out.

Lastly, Kimball Jones, formerly executive chef of Wente Vineyards is going to oversee the newly-constructed Carneros Inn. The Inn has a formal restaurant, Hilltop Dining Room (never even knew there was a formal restaurant!), and the roadside Boon Fly Cafe which is actually quite decent.

that's all for now

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Robert Curry is going to take over at Auberge du Soleil on April 1. Previously, he's been executive chef at the CIA Greystone (unremarkable, IMO).

Joseph Humphrey had been at Auberge for the past year and it was actually getting better. Curious what Curry will do to it.  Prior to Humphrey, Richard Reddington was the chef "up on the hill," but has taken over the old Piatti restaurant in Yountville which is slated to re-open this spring.

Where did Humphrey go? Well he's partnered with noted San Francisco chef George Morron to open a place in ..... wait for it .... the sprawling metropolis of Novato.

The only thing I know about Novato is that the NoCal Renaissance Faire used to be there until they got kicked out.

Lastly, Kimball Jones, formerly executive chef of Wente Vineyards is going to oversee the newly-constructed Carneros Inn. The Inn has a formal restaurant, Hilltop Dining Room (never even knew there was a formal restaurant!), and the roadside Boon Fly Cafe which is actually quite decent.

that's all for now

Novato= Nowhere and it always has. Move along folks nothing to see here. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Chef Jimmy Corwall is going to take over at Greystone. He's a CMC and instructor now - it will be nice to have a CMC in the restaurant.

And I dunno if it means anything, but I'm the new pastry guy at Bayleaf in Napa. Actually, I'm the only pastry staff so it makes me the boss, right? :) I'm trying to have some fun with it and play around.

Devin

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And I dunno if it means anything, but I'm the new pastry guy at Bayleaf in Napa.

Devin

Devin, that is so very cool! I've been wanting to dine there just to try the Wellington -- now I've got another reason!

Can you tell us what you've been playing around with? This is the dessert menu as it is on their website - are you going to change it at all?

Bayleaf-Infused Crème Brulee, Grand-Marnier Reduction, Shortbread Cookie. 7.00

Chocolate Bombe, Chocolate Ice Cream, Chambord Sauce.  8.00

Warm Winter Fruit Crispit, Pecan Streusel, Creme Fraiche, Vanilla Ice Cream. 8.00

Sorbet Terrine, Pomegranate, Green Apple & Tangerine, Sorbets In A Chilled Fruit & Cider Soup, Mango. 7.00

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It's different. I need to get on the owner about that.

The creme brulee and chocolate bombe are the standards that I can't touch. I've had some struggles with their brulee (no ramekins - ring molds) but have it down fairly well now. The bombe is alright, very chocolate. Dome of chocolate mousse with a ganache coating, raspberry sauce and chocolate ice cream.

The fruit crisp sucked. We had an apple cobbler thing for a bit but now we've seemed to hit it with a strawberry shortcake. I use an almond paste based cake and a heavy hand of lemon zest in the strawberries, a swirl of strawberry cream and creme fraiche ice cream. Still a bit early for the berries, but tasty anyway.

The sorbet terrine looked awful. Instead I do a standard ice cream/sorbet assortment served in honey tuile cups. I try to spin the sorbets daily if I can, but since I'm the only person sometimes it's hard. I've put out mascarpone, raspberry, passion fruit, lemon, strawberry, apple cider sorbets. I also made up a quinine sorbet that was awesome. Tasted like a gin and tonic. One of the waitstaff took a scoop and poured some gin over it and said it was fabulous, so I might find a way to make a nice gin-y dish for the warmer weather.

I've been trying to do specials as often as possible. Basically they're my experiments that turn out well. Today, I put out a poached apple served on a oatmeal raisin cookie with cinnamon ice cream and a caramel apple sauce. I have some challenges as well - the owner found a bargain on papaya and showed up with 30 cases of the stuff :raz: Papaya cheesecake, sorbet, tarts anyone?

I'm excited about it (as you can tell - sorry for the kinda hijacked thread). It's only been a couple of weeks and I'm a newbie to pastries but I am motivated to do well and put out a good product. I'm playing around quite a bit as time permits and really trying to test the waters. I just hope people like it! :unsure:

If you do head down, please let me know what you think. I think it may have been shaky there in the past but we're getting a good, albeit young, crew together in the kitchen. We are all very earnest in our desire to do good things. Any sort of feedback is welcome.

Devin

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Devin;

No worries about hijacking the thread -- it'll just get its own spin-off at some point.

You indicated you were new to pastries... Will you tell us your background and how you landed in pastries? I'm also terribly curious about your "Gin & Tonic" sorbet. Do you think you will be given some latitude to produce and present curiosities like this? I have to admit that I get pretty tired of the same re-tread offerings of desserts and any twist on an old variation is a welcome discovery!

Before it got shut down, the chef at Sonoma Saveurs was making some of the most amazing sorbets; Grapefruit Tarragon, Preserved Lemon with Basil, Peach with Chinese Five Spice. They were innovative with a touch of savory that made them all that much more enticing.

Lastly, what DID you do with all the papayas?

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The gin and tonic sorbet was a recipe we were given at school. When I first did it we served it with watermelon and sea salt. I think the owner has been pretty cool with me playing around. As long as I don't mess with his two standards I'm good. I've been fortunate that the stuff I've been experimenting on has also been selling.

I've always cooked and baked at home since I was a kid. I wanted to be a chef so after high school I went to a local JC culinary program but never finished. I worked as a dishwasher/prep/line cook in a couple of different local joints for about 2 years and then ended up in corporate cubicle hell for the better part of the last decade. Got sick of the layoffs and BS. Went back to what I love - cooking. Decided to go the pastry route, finished school and here I am.

The papayas are now cleaned and halved and sitting in about 10 full size hotel pans in deep freeze :) The hot side guys have been playing around with some things and I'm going to make myself a hefty reserve of puree. Immediate plans include a papaya cheesecake with a coconut sherbet and some sort of tropical fruit garnish. I also have been told I need to use up a case of buttermilk that was ordered. Buttermilk honey sorbet and some sort of panna cotta will probably be in the future. Maybe a bavarian cake of some sort? Papaya issue first :)

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First off I wish to welcome you to egullet and most of all wish you the best on your new position.

I'm going to stick my two cents in here and give you my opinion based on years in the business.

The owner sounds typical of many I have worked for myself and I can't say it brings back fond and memorable times. Let me explain.

When hiring a pastry chef or any chef in upper management for that matter one must first feel comfortable that they are on the same page and share similar ideas and views on what is practical and profitable for the restaurant to succeed.

Giving you the freedom of control is just that... Plan a menu and cost it out. Be creative in a way that will best suit the image and plan the restaurant is trying to project and with alot of work and some luck you will be successful along with the restaurant.

Buying 30 cases of papayas is NOT giving you the freedom to express your work at all. If anything at all it is imposing limitations on you and all his/her kitchen staff.

Just having that burden on your back of I got thirty cases of papayas and frozen papaya at that will make your work feel restricted, not free.

There is no good deal on buying products like that. Maybe for a baby food company but not a restaurant. Even if they were free the owner will lose money in the long run.

He is reaching out to find the best deal and seems he has lost track of his business plan. Thats even if there ever was one.

A case of Buttermilk ? Please ! Look at the other product needed to use the Buttermilk. Drop the case on the owners desk and tell him to enjoy as I'm sure he has ulcers. :wink:

Bottom line. I been there and done that. Take this time and use it to gain experience and as a stepping stone.

I am sure ten years from now you'll look back and chuckle at the whole thing.

Robert

Robert R

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[Novato= Nowhere and it always has. Move along folks nothing to see here. :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:

This reminds me of the time several years ago with KSAN radio gave away an April Fools contest prize, the first place was a weekend at the Holiday Inn in Milpitas, 2nd place was dinner at that Holiday inn in Milpitas. At that time, who went to Milpitas? :laugh:

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm very curious as to how Kimball Jones will fare at Carneros Inn. I worked at Wente for a year and saw him a total of 3 times..and only once in the kitchen to actually make anything ..which was to promote his cookbook.

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Oakville Grocery is looking for a manager.  http://www.craigslist.org/nby/ret/64914502.html  :biggrin:

want me to tell you all about how the GM no showed / no followed up call for my interview ? :rolleyes:

You may not want to work for them... They are ALWAYS advertising and by trying to expand too far, too quickly, and too much, have not been able to pay their bills in months.... :angry:

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Oakville Grocery is looking for a manager.  http://www.craigslist.org/nby/ret/64914502.html   :biggrin:

want me to tell you all about how the GM no showed / no followed up call for my interview ? :rolleyes:

You may not want to work for them... They are ALWAYS advertising and by trying to expand too far, too quickly, and too much, have not been able to pay their bills in months.... :angry:

oh, don't worry, i won't be working for them... heard too many bad things after this happened... i never recontacted them

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I'm pretty sure Oakville Grocery is the place a friend of mine worked for a few weeks. She quit 2 days ago because she was hired as a manager trainee & was put behind the register most of the time. She really wanted that step up & put in crazy hours but nothing became of it so...she quit. On the topic of ppl not calling back. I recently got a call from a very nice place in Napa about a pastry chef position on Saturday..I got home late Sunday night so I called first thing Monday when I got home from work.voicemail. I leave a msg. no reply. Tuesday i hesitate about leaving a msg again but do & leave the hours I can be reached. nothing. If the position is filled it'd be nice to get a return phone call saying so. Don't dangle that carrot & then just disappear. Am I wrong?

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I'm pretty sure Oakville Grocery is the place a friend of mine worked for a few weeks. She quit 2 days ago because she was hired as a manager trainee & was put behind the register most of the time. She really wanted that step up & put in crazy hours but nothing became of it so...she quit.    On the topic of ppl not calling back. I recently got a call from a very nice place in Napa about a pastry chef position on Saturday..I got home late Sunday night so I called first thing Monday when I got home from work.voicemail. I leave a msg. no reply. Tuesday i hesitate about leaving a msg again but do & leave the hours I can be reached. nothing. If  the position is filled it'd be nice to get a return phone call saying so. Don't dangle that carrot & then just disappear. Am I wrong?

those folks deserve what they get... losing staff like flies that is...

you might consider that the person doing the hiring at the place you applied for has mon & tues off, i'd give another follow up call.

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you might consider that the person doing the hiring at the place you applied for has mon & tues off, i'd give another follow up call.

It was the chef that called so I figured he'd be there. But I guess you could be right. I'm so used to chefs doing a 6 day week.

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Y'all sure are gossiping A LOT about something, and sometimes hidden behind aliases.

I like the Oakville Grocery. I like going there, I like their food, and I wish they'd remodel so that customers were less crowded together.

Don't get me wrong, Tana. I like 'em a lot too. But it is a known fact that J.M. "Ciaran" Byrne opened the Cupertino store which lasted ... what? ... six months? And there were plans to open four more in NoCal and 20 more over the U.S. Something went wrong in the business plan. Add to that the fact that here in the valley, they seem to ALWAYS be advertising for help.

They've got a good product, I'll admit it. But I think there needs to be some hard look at the business decisions being made...

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They seem to want to be Dean and Deluca.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Walking intoDean and Deluca (on a weekend) makes me feel like I'm back in New York. There are more elbows flyin' than my moms' macaroni salad.

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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... I like [Oakville Grocery] a lot too. But it is a known fact that  J.M. "Ciaran" Byrne opened the Cupertino store which lasted ... what? ... six months? And there were plans to open four more in NoCal and 20 more over the U.S. Something went wrong in the business plan. Add to that the fact that here in the valley, they seem to ALWAYS be advertising for help...

By the way, for anyone who isn't familiar with the following, that stuff is all relatively new to the history of Oakville Grocery and is kind of a shock to some longer-term customers including me, who remember 10 or 15 years with just the two or three little locations, packed to the ceiling with specialty items, astute product buyers like Hans Plesman ferreting out things hard to find elsewhere.

Did this business get "born again" and suddenly decide to emulate Starbucks?

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