There was a point at which I decided, completely decided, that I would stay here in the Napa Valley. Once I committed to living in and cooking from this place it was almost like entering into the service of a bigger ideal. It was at this point that I achieved a new level of directional clarity about our food.
We're now moving in a direction that enables us to speak to this place in particular and the community at large. If we're successful in this endeavor, the food will reflect the tranquility and raw, natural beauty of Meadowood, the resources, people and values of the Napa Valley, and the air, sun, breezes, terroir and quality of light that make this region so uniquely beautiful.
A perfect kitchen is one that allows room for creative growth; one that's built with a sense of fluidity in mind. We're never sure where our creative impulses may take us so it was important that our new kitchen be designed to grow and change with us. Working together in this new environment has elevated our esprit de corps. Every element of the design plays a role in this, from the clear sight lines that improve communication and collaboration, to the Josper coal- and wood-burning oven that lights up the kitchen and allows us to juxtapose incredibly rustic flavors into elegant dishes.
We put the idea of a singular dining experience on the table...no pun intended... and challenged ourselves to define it. We knew out of the gate it meant creating something distinctive for each guest. We knew we needed to curate both the service and the food. We looked at the menu from every direction. We grappled with it for weeks. Then the skies parted and the answer came to us. Get rid of the menu.
In an effort to create a deeper connection between our guests, our servers, and the chef's team, we begin a dialogue the moment a reservation is made. Our reservations team speaks to each guest concerning their likes and dislikes, allergies and aversions. A specific menu is then created by Chef Kostow for each table. A relationship begins with that call, one that continues throughout the dining experiences to include the servers, cooks, and entire team at The Restaurant.
Garden, Farmers and Friends
When you first live in a place, you don't see how it will affect the way you approach your life. But as you become immersed in a community, meet your neighbors, explore the natural resources, understand the values and recognize local talent, your perspective changes. It happens slowly, quietly.
You wake up one day and realize you're part of the community, feel beholden to it and are inspired to contribute to its vitality. This spurs hunger; a desire to connect with people, understand and celebrate their passions and invite them into your world. This was the path that led us to the innumerable people who influence our work in The Restaurant today. Farmers, gardeners, ranchers, grocers, artists, artisans, teachers, writers and, of course, fellow chefs and restaurateurs. It's no longer their story and my story. It's our story.
Video by Creel Films, Score by Add Moss
In 2011 we expanded our gardening program through St. Helena Montessori, a local school focused on experiential learning where students connect with the community's agricultural roots.
Our new gift certificates are a beautiful thing to give and receive. Gift certificates may be purchased in any denomination or for a particular Restaurant experience.
Among the talented people we continue to meet in the Napa Valley are a group of amazing artisans working in ceramics. There are several whose work we love. Lynn Mahon is one of our favorites.