We are right now on the plane heading to Napa Valley (St. Helena in particular) to do an auction dinner for Larry Beasley and Co. atDuckhorn Vineyards. With me are my oldest daughter, Margaux Noble and Executive Chef and Managing Partner Joe Kindred from Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. This is a long awaited return visit for Margaux, who spent a lot of her early years with Karen and I on trips to Napa during the late eighties and early nineties. At that time we did a lot of cooking trips Dan Duckhorn and family during the Napa Valley Wine Auction, during crush and practically any time we could find an excuse to come to the wine country. The last time Margaux was here was during Kelly Duckhorn’s wedding (daughter of Margaret and Dan Duckhorn). Margaux was about 5 or 6 years old and I can still remember our dancing to Frank Sinatra at the reception. Chef Joe on the other hand spent around a year in San Francisco recently before returning to help me steer and grow Rooster’s. He served as sous chef at Delfina, where we will be having dinner tonight. Joe and I have been working together off and on for the past ten years, our first extern from Johnson & Wales (Charleston, SC) in 2001.
It was in Napa Valley in June of 1982 that I received my inspiration for seeking a culinary career intertwined with my newfound love for wine. It was here in St. Helena and Calistoga where I saw what the French and other Europeans had enjoyed for centuries, the marriage of food and wine. From that time to today, food and wine have been my passion as a chef and restaurateur.
We are excited about this trip, even though it is a busy time to have to leave. We have just opened The King’s Kitchen and are preparing to start construction on the new Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen in downtown Charlotte at the 1 Bank of America Center, beside the Ritz – more on that later. This dinner with “Duckhorn and Noble” was one of two auctioned off last June at the fundraiser for The King’s Kitchen.
We are landing late this afternoon in San Francisco, going to Chef Craig Stoll’s Delfina for dinner, then trying some pizza at Delfina Pizzeria – Chef Stoll and Delfina were nominated for restaurant of the year last year with the James Beard Awards. I am looking forward to some great food and wine.
Please follow us on twitter and Facebook during the trip and send/ask any questions while we are on this culinary whirlwind tour!