Café de la Presse, Laurent Manrique
As Chef Laurent Manrique has learned, combining simplicity with challenge walks a tightrope between passion for one’s craft and a desire to constantly seek new opportunities. Currently, Laurent commutes between San Francisco and New York to oversee concepts in each location. Café de la Presse, a renowned Parisian-inspired bistro owned by Laurent, in addition to Blanc et Rouge and Rouge et Blanc, two stylish wine bars in downtown San Francisco, enjoy distinction among the city’s most popular dining and entertainment destinations. Laurent’s New York project, Millésime, an upscale seafood brasserie in the historic Carlton hotel on Madison Avenue, opened to fabulous reviews in November 2010 and was named one of New York’s Best New Restaurants 2011 by Esquire magazine. Also in 2011, in Paris, Laurent was appointed to the class of Master Chefs admitted to the prestigious Association des Maîtres Cuisiniers de France this spring. Maître Cuisinier de France (“Master Chef of France”) is the most envied title that chefs aspire to have; but not everyone can become a Maître Cuisinier. Most recently, Laurent opened Aquitaine, a wine bistro, in San Francisco June 2013.
A16, Rocky Maselli
Prior to joining A16, the Bay Area native spent the last 15 years in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as chef/owner of Osteria Sfizo Italian Food and Drink in Eugene, where he earned critical acclaim for his modern Italian cuisine. Prior, Maselli served as executive chef and managing partner of Marché, an urban American bistro in Eugene, as well as oversaw a seasonally changing menu for sister operations Marché Café and Marche Provisions. At each of his restaurants, Maselli is invigorated by the camaraderie of those with whom he works and the relationships he’s formed along the way. “The one thing that means the most has to be the people and my daily interaction with staff, vendors, producers, and guests,” he says. “At the end of the day, you might not remember what you cooked for every table, but you do remember all the people involved who made it happen.”
Anzu Restaurant, Michael Raub
Michael Raub was born and raised in Houston Texas. He grew up surrounded by generations of family that greatly influenced his love of food. His mother taught him the importance of quality ingredients, always cooking with farm fresh fruits and vegetables purchased from the local produce stand. His grandfather’s favorite dish, shrimp gumbo, remains Michael’s favorite today. He was working as an intern at a 45 room ski resort in Colorado when the hotel chef left unexpectedly. Michael stepped in using his experience and resourcefulness (and a dog-eared copy of the Joy of Cooking) and ran the kitchen for six months. In 2004 Michael moved to Austin Texas and began working at the Hilton Hotel as Chef de Partie. His Executive Chef was a French Master Chef who trained Michael in classic French preparation. Michael then had the experience to accept his first chef position. Impressed with his initiative, the management at The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group asked Michael to begin an internship at Bouchon. By 2010 was promoted to Sous Chef. During his tenure with the Keller group, Michael also worked at Ad Hoc and The French Laundry. In May 2015, Chef Raub became Executive Chef at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco, overseeing the menu planning production and execution for Restaurant ANZU and the banquet department. From the moment he set foot at Nikko, Chef Raub’s energy, influence and personality began guiding the culinary team to a higher level of quality. Michael’s positive changes are illustrated in the strategic planning he emphasizes, the pace and standards his team sets, the high-quality cuisine he presents and most notably, the creative menus he designs.
Bocadillos, James LaLonde
James LaLonde has been cooking up delicious meals for the past decade working at places in San Francisco like Salt House, Slow Club, Maverick, and Pizzeria Delfina. Raised in North Dakota he dreamed big and moved to the Bay Area to follow his passion for cuisine and skateboarding. LaLonde is now enjoying his dream life, cooking at Bocadillos, and in his free time going on bike rides around the Bay, soaking up all the beautiful nature that surrounds the area. Most of his tapa recipes were inspired by his time traveling around Spain. He said that trip to Spain really “impacted his appreciation and understanding of the cuisine,” that he is a master of now! LaLonde really gets to test out his expertise at Bocadillos which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner five days a week and just dinner on the Saturday, everyday a new menu.
Café de la Presse, Patrick Albert
Café de la Presse Executive Chef Patrick Albert’s commitment to creating traditional but innovative French fare infuses this Parisian-inspired café with authenticity. “It is always busy,” he says proudly. “You can meet a lot of different people enjoying an espresso or a beef bourguignon, sipping a Ricard or having cassoulet.” As the man behind the menu, Chef Albert’s comments well support his culinary savoir faire. Following stints in brasseries throughout Paris, Chef Albert’s position as Chef de Cuisine at the consul of Savoie in Paris stimulated him to bring a touch of France to the United States. His subsequent move to San Francisco brought him together with Chef Bruno Chemel at the Milano Hotel and then with Chef Sylvain Portay at the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room. At Café de la Presse, Chef Albert continues to bring his guests a classic, creative dining experience.
Chez TJ, Jarad Gallagher
As a Sous Chef at nineteen and Executive Chef at twenty-one, Chef Gallagher refined his natural skills at cooking and developed business savvy. Having a strong passion for French cooking, he took intensive training classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and London. This lead to obtaining a stage at the acclaimed Bras restaurant in Laguiole, France. Inspired by the French’s traditional approach to food and influenced by Chef Michele Bras contemporary vision, Jarad returned to the US with a fresh outlook on the connection between food and people. For this young and driven Chef, California was the food haven and San Francisco was where Earth and Ocean met Chef and Table. Working at Michelin starred restaurants including Michael Mina, One Market and Plumed Horse, Jarad obtained the skills and knowledge to drive the stoves at Chez TJ.
Dirty Habit, David Bazirgan
David Bazirgan is the Executive Chef and General Manager of Dirty Habit, an edgy, sultry bar-centric restaurant and hideaway in San Francisco’s Hotel Palomar. In his most recent role as Executive Chef at Fifth Floor, Bazirgan perfected New American cuisine with a Mediterranean influence, and earned the restaurant three and a half stars from San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to Fifth Floor, Bazirgan served as Executive Chef at Chez Papa Resto at Mint Plaza and Jocelyn Bulow’s Baraka in Potrero Hill. Previously, he worked at Elisabeth Daniel in Jackson Square. Bazirgan’s dedication and talent was rewarded in the City by the Bay, as he garnered three stars for both Baraka and Chez Papa Resto from San Francisco Chronicle, and was awarded accolades including being named Rising Star Chef by San Francisco Chronicle and Rising Star by StarChefs. Before moving to San Francisco in 2003, Bazirgan was Chef de Cuisine for his longtime mentor, celebrity chef Barbara Lynch at her restaurant No. 9 Park in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. Bazirgan served as a member of No. 9 Park’s opening team, and over his several-year tenure at the restaurant, he meticulously crafted seven- to nine-course seasonal tasting menus to much acclaim. Previously, Bazirgan gained experience at a number of renowned Boston restaurants, including Stan Frankenthaler’s Salamander and Todd English’s Olives Restaurant. Barbara Lynch took note of Bazirgan’s remarkable drive, and connected him with his first job out of culinary school at the prestigious Galleria Italiana. Bazirgan earned his degree from Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Boston, where he immersed himself in the study of classical French techniques. From humble beginnings as a teenage dishwasher in his hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts, Bazirgan has always been passionate about serving great food. Since then, Bazirgan’s undeniable talent, innovative style and dedication to his craft have propelled him through the ranks of the culinary world.
FIVE, Stephane Tonnelier
Tonnelier, who has Parisian roots, was most recently executive sous-chef at Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco. He has worked as a saucier at the world-renowned Hotel Georges V in Paris, and as a sous chef under Michelin-star chef Denis Schneider. Berkeleyside Nosh caught up with him as he got settled into his new post. “My cooking style is an integration of the best of French and Californian cuisine. I have spent the last 26 years of my life cooking, the first half in France and the last half in California. I have been privileged to work with, and learn from, great chefs in two different worlds. I will say that French Californian is totally my inspiration and it gives me the immense pleasure of being able to mix flavors from different continents on the same plate. Some of my favorite chefs who have inspired me are Guy Savoy, Michel Roux and the chef who taught me when I was an apprentice, Philippe Delacourcelle. I also consider Nancy Oakes (from Boulevard and Prospect) a mentor.”
Four Seasons Hotel, Alexander La Motte
“I love the act of cooking and am really intrigued by the chemistry behind it (balancing of flavors), the finesse of perfect execution, and the artistic expression in making edible art.” Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco welcomed back Alexander La Motte as their Executive Chef for the hotel and MKT in October 2014. Alexander was the Executive Sous Chef for the Hotel from 2010 – 2012 and was excited to return to the City by the Bay and be in the center of one of the most exciting culinary destinations in the nation. In the interim he was the Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. Chef La Motte has had the opportunity to work with some of the most acclaimed chefs and restaurants in the world including Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Las Vegas; Café Boulud; The French Laundry; Daniel and Orpheum Grand Lobby Restaurant.
Four Seasons Hotel, Chris Aguirre
Restaurant Chef Chris Aguirre has deep roots in the restaurant industry. Aguirre’s grandmother ran a steakhouse in Texas during the Great Depression – along with a speakeasy – so it could be said he was born for the culinary world. Growing up in Los Angeles with three brothers, he developed a passion for food at a young age. “We were all big eaters and loved to hold cooking competitions to see who could make the best dish in the house,” recalls Aguirre. His dad, a foodie himself, always held the position of official “taste tester.” Aguirre found himself in professional kitchens at the age of 15 and soon realized that cooking was his true passion. After graduating from the Art Institute of California – Los Angeles, Aguirre worked at a variety of Southern California restaurants, including the St. Regis Hotel, before moving to Texas. There, he worked closely with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Bank – a formative experience in his culinary career. “Working with Jean-Georges greatly influenced my style of cooking. I believe in sourcing the best ingredients you can, and from there, just keeping it simple – allowing the true natural flavours to shine through,” Aguirre says. From Texas, Aguirre moved north to the windy city of Chicago, joining The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel). He helped deca RESTAURANT + BAR earn the Bib Gourmand Award two years in a row, the only hotel restaurant in Chicago to receive the honour. Aguirre later moved to Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco in 2012 with his wife and son to become the Restaurant Chef of MKT Restaurant – Bar. He finds culinary inspiration all around San Francisco, but especially in his favourite neighbourhood: Chinatown. When he isn’t in the MKT kitchen, he can be found cooking his son’s favourite dish: Mickey Mouse pancakes.
Jardinière, Morgan Mueller
Morgan Mueller started working in restaurants at the young age of 15 where he began as a dishwasher and was quickly captivated by the fast pace kitchen action, and team camaraderie of working in a restaurant. After High School Mueller left home and worked full time in the restaurant world, first in Santa Cruz at Bitter Sweet Bistro and then he headed to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy. Mueller’s first restaurant job in San Francisco was at PaulK and from there he landed an internship at Jardinière under chef Traci Des Jardins. Mueller stayed at Jardinière from 2001-2007, left to work at Bacar and returned to Jardinière in 2010 to head up the kitchen as Executive Chef. Mueller lives in the Bay Area with his wife who is Jardinière’s pastry chef and their two young children.
Luce, Daniel Corey
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA, Luce’s Chef de Cuisine Daniel Corey is very much influenced by the Golden State. Prior to joining the team at the InterContinental San Francisco’s mondern American restaurant, Chef Daniel perfected his culinary talents at various restaurants on the West Coast, using his environment as his muse. “I’m always inspired by the season and the weather,” he says. “I really like a dish feeling like it has sense of place in that moment it’s being served.” His journey began when he moved to San Francisco in 2001 to attend the California Culinary Academy. Post-graduation, Chef Daniel launched his career as a line cook at Downtown Restaurant in Berkeley with Chef David Stevenson, and continued to hone his skills as lead cook at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. He then worked as chef de partie at Campton Place in San Francisco under Daniel Humm, the current chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York. In 2007, Chef Daniel accepted the sous chef position at acclaimed NUA Restaurant and Wine Bar working under Anna Bautista, current chef de cuisine at the Michelin-starred Madera in Menlo Park. After working as chef de partie at Luce in 2008, he moved to work as sous chef at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach before returning to Luce as executive sous chef in 2009. In June of 2011, he was appointed as Chef de Cuisine of Luce, and earned his first Michelin star in October, 2011. In his current position at Luce, Chef Daniel continues to build on the restaurant’s ingredient-driven, sustainable approach to cuisine, incorporating his experience in fine dining and, naturally, his love for California. “We combine modern American fare with influences from around the world – all with ingredients that are sourced locally,” he explains. “The dishes, which include sustainably raised meats and seafood, as well as organic produce, are focused on key flavors and different textures.” When Chef Daniel is not in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time at the beach and surfing. He is also a collector of reggae music from all eras, with a particular focus on the late ’60s through early ’80s.
Madera, Peter Rudolph
Chef Rudolph comes to Madera following two years as Executive Chef at famed Campton Place in San Francisco, where he was named one of StarChef.com’s Rising Star Chefs in San Francisco. Chef Rudolph became interested in cooking while growing up in Martinez, an East Bay town near San Francisco, where he was surrounded by fresh produce that grew in his grandparents’ garden. Spending time in his grandmother’s kitchen eventually led him to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he graduated in 1995. Shortly thereafter, he began his culinary career as a pastry chef at San Francisco’s Brasserie Savoy. At Madera, Chef Rudolph says he is coming back to cooking the cuisine he is most comfortable with – refined yet approachable food that honors the many culinary traditions of the Western United States.
One Market, Mark Dommen
Since joining the Lark Creek Restaurant Group in 2004, Mark Dommen has upheld One Market’s traditions of excellence and innovation in American cuisine. Dommen developed his inventive style through work in some of the world’s most distinguished restaurants. Dommen has earned many professional accolades including a Michelin star for the third year in a row in the 2010 Guide, a 3½ star review from Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, his 2007 designation as a StarChefs “Rising Star” and the 2002 “Restaurant of the Year” award given to his restaurant Julia’s Kitchen by Esquire. Dommen says, “I truly enjoy experimenting with the freshest of ingredients to create entirely new and unexpected dishes. I make a point each day to ensure that the menu is a reflection of the finest produce prepared in a unique, delicious, and artistic way.” One Market is located in San Francisco.
Perbacco, Staffan Terje
Raised on a small farm in Sweden, Staffan Terje’s journey to San Francisco included a first stop in Florida before he ventured West, finding some solace in both Orange County and Napa Valley. Combining his French training with the vast accessibility of local produce, Chef Terje aims to recreate traditional Italian dishes by picking up produce from the farmers market at the Ferry Plaza. Drawn to Italian food for its authenticity, Chef Steffan travels to Italy to delve into full experimental research, commenting, “Eating in Italy is hard work.” Nevertheless, he prides himself in the honesty of his ingredients and the integrity of his dishes in preserving Italian cuisine. Other notable career highlights include cooking at San Francisco’s popular Scala’s Bistro and The James Beard House in New York City.
Piperade, Gerald Hirigoyen
A native of the Basque region of France, Chef Hirigoyen had already begun working with local pastry chefs by the age of 13. He moved to Paris three years later for a traditional apprenticeship with Master Patissiers Jean Millet and Dennis Ruffel. Hirigoyen immigrated to the United States in 1980 and opened Fringale in 1991. He was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs in America” in 1994 and San Francisco Magazine’s “Chef of the Year” in 1995. In 1996, Hirigoyen opened his second restaurant, Pastis (now Piperade), which won plaudits from Esquire as one of the year’s best new restaurants. His book, The Basque Kitchen, won the Versailles Award for Best Regional Cookbook.
Plumed Horse, Peter Armellino
A native of Long Island, Peter Armellino began cooking professionally in New York when he was 17 years old. He opened the Park Avenue Cafe in 1992 and later worked at New York City’s Gotham Bar & Grill and Gramercy Tavern. Armellino came to San Francisco in 1999 and soon began work as sous-chef at Jardinière with renowned chefs Douglas Keene and Traci Des Jardins, who he also worked with on the popular TV show “Iron Chef” in 2005. Armellino went on to work as chef de cuisine at The Village Pub, Campton Place, and Aqua. In early 2007, Armellino became the executive chef at Plumed Horse, which presents elegant, modern California cuisine and emphasizes fresh, seasonal and sustainably-produced ingredients. Under Peter’s leadership, Plumed Horse has received the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award in the 2015 “Restaurant Wine Award.”
Restaurant 1833, Jason Franey
Jason Franey, a 2011 FOOD & WINE magazine “Best New Chef,” joined Restaurant 1833 in December 2014 from Seattle’s award-winning Canlis restaurant, bringing his modern technique and approachable style to the menu in Monterey. With over 20 years of experience, Franey began his career in Palm Beach Fl., including various roles at The Breakers Hotel, then as executive sous chef at San Francisco’s Campton Place, working for Chef Daniel Humm. In 2006, he joined Humm as executive sous chef in New York to remake Eleven Madison Park into the destination that it is today. In December 2008, he booked a one-way trip to Seattle to revamp Canlis, one of the city’s most venerable restaurants, before making the move to Monterey in 2014. Under Franey’s direction, Restaurant 1833 was most recently awarded 3.5 stars by the San Francisco Chronicle. Franey has also been named a “People’s Best New Chef Northwest”
Serpentine, Deepak Kaul
Once medical school bound, Deepak had to break it to his parents that he wanted to be a chef, not a doctor. His parents, first generation from Kashmir, didn’t take the news well at first, but once the decision was made, Deepak didn’t look back. He has worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City, London and locally at Jardiniére and Nettie’s Crab Shack. Deepak’s use of international spices from Thai chiles to fenugreek, as well as global cooking techniques like Japanese pickling methods add international twists to traditional American fare.
Simi Winery, Kolin Vazzoler
SIMI Winery Executive Chef Kolin Vazzoler grew up in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where his Italian grandfather made wine and grappa in the cellar and the family devoted much time to their garden where vegetables thrived year-round in the mild, maritime climate. Putting together a meal was always about making the most of what was in season. “My family cooked Italian food that was rustic and casual,” Kolin says, “but we always used fresh ingredients and that made all the difference in the quality of the dishes. That experience I had growing up certainly lends itself to what is going on in California today.” In 2012, Kolin took his first winery position when he joined SIMI Winery as executive chef. Perhaps no winery could be more appropriate for someone with his background. “My father came over from Italy,” Kolin says, “the same as the two Simi brothers who started the winery. And I’m second-generation Italian—just as winery matriarch Isabelle Simi was.”
Spruce, John Madriaga
Chef de Cuisine
John Madriaga’s passion for cooking began at a very young age. Helping his mother prepare family meals, he quickly discovered food’s power to both unite and inspire. After graduating from San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, Madriaga took a position as a line cook at Woodside’s Michelin-starred The Village Pub, where he remained for two years, honing his skills under the direction of executive chef Mark Sullivan. In 2008, Madriaga left The Village Pub to work with chef David Kinch at Los Gatos’ Manresa. There, he garnered a great appreciation for vegetable-driven cooking and developed a steadfast adherence to seasonal and local ingredients. After leaving Manresa in 2009, Madriaga began an apprenticeship at Copenhagen’s Noma, where he continued to expand his skill set, working strictly with ingredients indigenous to the region. Upon his return to San Francisco, Madriaga rejoined Bacchus Management Group’s family of restaurants as a line cook at Spruce, and in April 2012, he was promoted to chef de cuisine. “I always knew I would come back and one day run a kitchen for founding partner Tim Stannard and chef Sullivan. It was the feeling of leaving your family for a period of time and returning to show them what you have learned and how you have grown as an individual.” Madriaga possesses a deep appreciation for seasonality and welcomes to the opportunity to utilize all of the Bay Area’s wonderful farms and artisans.
Spruce, Robert Vallejos
Many chefs have a deep-rooted backstory, about where they began their careers, the kitchens they worked in, the chefs they have worked for, and their extensive travels. When it comes to Chef Robert Vallejos, he has somewhat of a different story to tell, about how he got to where he is, and about his experience in the kitchen, and what brought him to Spruce as the pastry chef. His story is about dedication, friendships, and a sincere passion for what he does. After graduating from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California, Vallejos attended a local junior college. Like many, he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do. One thing he did know was that he wanted to cook professionally. It’s what he did growing up as a child, continued to do as a young adult, and what he does so well today. These experiences are what led him to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating in 2006, Vallejos began his externship at Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos, working alongside Chef David Kinch. It took Kinch a mere two months to recognize Vallejos’ innate talent, and hired him on full time. It was here where he met colleague and friend, Spruce’s chef de cuisine, John Madriaga. Fast forward six and a half years and you will find Chef Vallejos overseeing the pastry program at Spruce. Vallejos looks forward to challenging himself and growing his craft. Guests can be excited about desserts that are inspired by childhood memories, along with new creations that are influenced by an abundance of ingredients at hand. If he has it his way, every guest will enjoy dessert and be left with an unforgettable experience; whether it is his Caramelia Mousse and Devil’s Food Cake with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs and Banana Ice Cream, his giant cookies that are offered for take home in the Café, or his Spruced up version of his favorite candy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The Village Pub, Orlando Pagán
Orlando Pagán is the Executive Chef at the Michelin-starred The Village Pub, in Woodside, one of the Bay Area’s most highly regarded restaurants. Orlando works closely with farmers, ranchers, fisherman, and artisans to procure the finest ingredients for his refined American fare. Orlando’s culinary adventure began after he graduated high school in his native Puerto Rico. Soon after, Orlando moved to Miami, Florida to pursue a degree in culinary arts from Johnson and Whales University. During his studies, he gained real-life experience by cooking private dinners. Additional experience includes working as a sous chef at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove’s Bizcaya restaurant. After three years, Orlando decided to make the move west to San Francisco, California. It was here where he worked at a handful of highly acclaimed restaurants including Restaurant Gary Danko, Silks, Ame, and The Village Pub’s sister restaurant Spruce.Orlando’s cuisine is simple and refined, allowing for the true qualities of the ingredients to shine. His dishes represent his dedication to cooking within the season, and with the finest ingredients and technique possible.
Trace, Jason Rea
Chef Jason Rea brings nearly 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry to his job as Executive Chef of W San Francisco, where he oversees W San Francisco’s entire culinary operations and menus for its catering and banquet facilities, room service, UPSTAIRS and Living Room bars, and W Hotels’ concept restaurant, TRACE. His accomplished culinary background includes positions at high-profile restaurants in some of the country’s most celebrated food and dining destinations, including New York City, Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Most recently, Chef Jason worked as Executive Sous Chef of Mina Group’s San Francisco urban wine bar and restaurant, RN74, and as Sous Chef of the Michelin-starred MICHAEL MINA San Francisco. Prior, he held stints at Water Grill in Los Angeles where he worked under acclaimed chef Michael Cimarusti, Bluehour in Portland, and Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town in New York City, which The New York Times awarded a glowing three-star review. His first ever culinary position was at Ciudad in Los Angeles, where he learned the ropes from acclaimed chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. Chef Jason received classic French culinary training and excels at blending exquisite technique with modern cooking methods and artistic plating. He maintains close relationships with Bay Area farmers and purveyors, bringing TRACE and W San Francisco guests the highest quality and most seasonal ingredients available.
Valette Restaurant, Dustin Valette
Chef Valette honed his craft in some of the most celebrated restaurants on the West Coast, including the Michelin-starred Aqua in San Francisco, and Napa Valley’s Bouchon. Additional credits include Hokus at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Honolulu, a five-star, five-diamond property; the exclusive North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, California; and VOX Restaurant & Wine Lounge in Henderson, Nevada. For the past 6 years Chef Valette has been the Executive Chef of Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer restaurant in downtown Healdsburg. The Chef gathered great acclaim for the strong relationships he cultivated with local farmers and purveyors in order to provide the restaurant with the Sonoma County’s freshest and most unique ingredients. Chef Valette was celebrated at Dry Creek Kitchen for his exceptional ability to pair some of the country’s best wines with his intense, flavorful, and dynamic cuisine. Originally from Sonoma County, Chef Dustin Valette is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He currently resides with his wife Johanna, their first child Charlotte and their two dogs, in Downtown Healdsburg a block away from the Restaurant.
Viognier, Chris Aquino
A native to San Mateo, Chef Chris Aquino has a rooted history at Viognier. During his tenure at the California Culinary Academy, Chris apprenticed under Executive Chef Scott Giambastiani of Viognier in 2005. Chris advanced under the tutelage of several chefs, quickly attaining the sous chef position. In 2009, he departed Viognier to work for Chef Anna Bautista at Madera Restaurant in Menlo Park. In 2010, Chris was called back to Viognier by Chef Preston Dishman to help man the stoves as his chef de cuisine. Now as Executive Chef, Chris does not see the Peninsula as his only influence and experience with food. Given the benefit of having a father who worked for an airline and a mother who kept him out of trouble by keeping him in the kitchen, Chef Aquino was allowed to explore and experience other cultures and their cuisines. From travels to his parents’ homeland in the Philippines, day trips with his father to have lunch in Chicago, and voyages to places such as New Orleans and Munich, Chef Aquino’s culinary inspirations have been influenced by his travels. Chef Aquino’s menu has been described as California ingredient driven with Southern sensibilities.