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INSPIRE RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Helpful Resources for Workers & Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

 

Throughout the U.S.A. the hospitality and foodservice community needs our support in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs have served as community gathering places for centuries. They are first to open their doors and service their communities in times of need and a place where we celebrate special occasions from graduations to anniversaries.

We recall how the restaurant community in New York City and throughout the world united to support citizens and first responders and raise funds to help families who lost loved ones during the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Now in the wake of the coronovirus pandemic, our restaurant community needs our support more than ever, especially with so many service workers laid off due to temporary closures and reduced staffing.

In the spirit of support, we are compiling and sharing lists of reliable resources and articles that can help industry workers. Since this is a developing situation, we will continue to update and post resources on our Facebook Page and Twitter.

Journalist Andrea Strong has compiled a list of local and nationwide resources (U.S.A.) to provide relief for laid-off workers for Food & Wine and continues to update it. Read and Share This List

Also by Strong, here is an article in Food & Wine on supportive charitable efforts. Read; Share; Donate

The nonprofit Restaurant Workers Community Foundation has started a COVID-19 emergency relief fund.  Read, Share, Donate  

SupportRestaurants.org is a collective of restaurant industry professionals who have set a national initiative in motion to get funds into the hands of restaurants, even if they are temporarily closed. A Dining Bond works like a savings bond, where you can purchase a "bond" at a value rate to be redeemed for face value (for example, a $100 bond for $75) at a future date. Read more here

The U.S. Bartenders Guild (USBG) has a charitable foundation to provide aid to bar industry workers in need. Info

Many people who work in the industry lack the benefits of full-time employed workers, such as sick pay, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. The nonprofit Gig Workers Collective has published this state-by-state list of resources to help. Read, share

Other ways to support: Order takeout. Buy a restaurant gift card. Stock up on wine.
Restaurants in New York and elsewhere may be closed to the public, but many are offering takeout and deliveries. Under a recently announced initiative to help businesses, restaurants in New York can also deliver wine, beer and cocktails. Read this Eater.com  article for more info and guidelines.

Other initiatives to support businesses are happening throughout the U.S. but it is still in an unfortunate catch-up mode for those facing job losses. The National Restaurant Association is providing special industry-specific guidance on its website. www.restaurant.org 

A Facebook Hospitality Industry Alliance | COVID-19 group has been established to provide an open forum to support and share ways to help members of the hospitality community. If you need help to join, let us know  Info

The above is a shortlist and continues to evolve. It is also specific to the U.S.A. We know many of our readers and listeners are in Europe. We want to let you know, we stand with you in solidarity throughout the world.

This week's edition of The Connected Table LIVE addresses ways to support our industry. We also discuss food safety when cooking at home. We will resume with scheduled guests on March 25. Click lunk below to listen and stream.

Stay safe. We are all in this together.

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Cookbook RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Chef Marc Murphy- Global Citizen & Family Man

Marc Murphy

Chef Marc Murphy has one of the most eclectic bios we’ve ever read. First, he’s a nationally recognized chef whose restaurants have included Landmarc and Ditch Plains, each with two locations in New York. Second, he is a regular judge on The Food Network’s wildly popular “Chopped” shows in their various renditions. But there’s much more to his story than what people see on screen and read in media.

 

 

Dig deeper and you learn that this devoted husband to wife, Pamela Schein Murphy, and father to Callen and Campbell, has a little international man of mystique about him. A few examples:

Before the age of 12 he’d lived in Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington DC, Rome and Genoa, and he is fluent in four languages. His parents live in Monaco and, get this, Prince Albert was his babysitter! He is still a dual citizen of the United States and France.

He originally wanted to be a race car driver but switched gears (literally) because he didn’t have the money to buy a car. Instead, he decided to become a chef and enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). He still loves and rides motorcycles. Melanie once road down the FDR Drive on the back of his Ducati after an event.

He is a fan of opera, the ballet, classical music and hip hop equally. Between jobs in the 1990s, he worked with the choreographer, Jerome Robbins. He believes good scotch should be serve with one ice cube and all meals should be served in the company of good wine and great company.

He is author of Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking his debut cookbook which was released in April 2015 and continues to be a top seller. Yet, he confesses he can’t spell and battled dyslexia as a young boy.

 

Buy Marc’s book on Amazon.

 

From Hotshot Young Chef to Global Citizen

He was opening chef at Cellar in the Sky at Windows on the World, so having him join us on September 11 is particularly poignant. He later was recruited uptown to serve as executive chef for La Fourchette. Former New York Times Restaurant Critic Ruth Reichl awarded the restaurant two stars, writing that Marc has an “open desire to transform food [so that] in his hands, even a simple green salad … Looks like a ruffled hat in a painting by Renoir.”

In 2012 Marc joined the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. He has traveled to Italy, China and Turkey as part of this program.

Melanie and Marc Murphy at Citi Taste of Tennis in New York City August 22

Marc is also involved with numerous industry and charitable organization. He is the President of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, both a board member and Food Council member of City Harvest, and a member of the Food + Finance High School’s Industry Advisory Board. He sits on the Leadership Council for Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and has been a national spokesperson for Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry initiative.

Marc has been a friend who was delighted to offer a supportive blurb for Melanie’s debut book, Getting Things Off My Chest which she wrote after surviving breast cancer. As high as his star has risen since we first came to know Marc as a young, motorcycle-riding, hotshot chef, as humbled and grounded he has remained as a caring father, husband and community citizen. We’ve celebrated many occasions at Marc’s various restaurants and are delighted to spend time with him September 11 on The Connected Table LIVE!

Chef Marc Murphy
Chef Marc Murphy

 

Listen to The Connected Table LIVE with Marc Murphy- Click below.

 

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Events Explore RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

From Cancer to Cured- Chef Steve McHugh’s Inspiring Story

Imagine being diagnosed with cancer at the height of your career. How do you manage to run a restaurant while undergoing an aggressive schedule of chemotherapy treatments? More people than you may realize have lived this experience (including me), but few have opened up about it as frankly as individuals like Chef Steve McHugh. We’re glad McHugh is now in remission from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and thriving as the owner of the San San Antonio restaurant, Cured at Pearl, located in the city’s custling culinary center, also home to the Culinary Institute of America’s southwest campus.

Chef Steve McHugh (Photo: Jonathan Alonzo)

Opened in 2012, three years after McHugh’s cancer diagnosis, Cured’s name not only reflects his new lease on life but also his daily selection of cured meats. The gastro-pub style menu focuses on using ingredients sourced from local farms and fisherman.

McHugh was raised in a large farming family in Wisconsin. He flipped burgers at a local restaurant to earn money and took up playing the saxophone. He was talented enough, in fact, to earn a jazz saxophone scholarship to college. But food became his calling, and he ended up changing plans and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.

An externship landed him in New Orleans where he easily settled in the restaurant scene after graduation, working for with Creole Chef Chris Brown of Metro Bistro and for restaurateur, Dickie Brennan. In 2009, McHugh was planning a move San Antonio to open a restaurant for a New Orleans hospitality group when he was diagnosed with cancer.

McHugh says, “the cancer treatment really kicked my ass,” and he kept working straight through it all.  But, it also can kick your ass in gear and make you commit to make healthy changes. Today, McHugh is in good health, with a successful restaurant and a culinary foundation dedicated “gastronomic giving” to support several charities. www.curedatpearl.com

Cured is localed at the fomer site of Pearl Brewery in San Antonio (Photo: Scott Martin)

Here are some healthy foods McHugh recommends adding to your diet:

  • Fermented foods, such as pickles, are shown to increase our body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Raw fermented foods are rich in healthy enzymes and flavor. These enzymes help the body properly balance healthy bacteria for improved digestion.
  • Black Pepper and certain legumes and nuts [such as pecans] contain anti-inflammatory properties. For example, Pumpkin and Pepper Salad with Smoked Pecans, Preserved Celery, and Goat Cheeseis a great combination.
  • Mussels are a lean source of protein with roughly 18 grams of protein per serving. Garlic, onions, and shallots [commonly used in mussel dishes] each contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Texas Trout with picked corn at Cured at Pearl

At Cured, McHugh has forged tight bonds with both his purveyors and his community, ” Good, solid relationships are important to me, and provide great value in my life. Not only with my staff, but also the farmers with whom we work. We use vegetables grown within the city limits and pigs from a farm nearby. It provides great balance and perspective to get to know the people growing the food you serve and eat. Having a strong sense of community in San Antonio is a great  part of my life.”

Daily selection of charcuterie at Cured. (Photo: David Rangel)

Listen to our show with Chef Steve McHugh from January 30, 2019
The Connected Table LIVE! on iHeart.com and free iHeart App

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Drink Eat Explore

Miami On and Off the Beach

Just about now watching the snow fall steadily all day and awaiting another deep freeze on Thursday, we look at each other and say, “At least we had Miami.” If you live anywhere in this week’s polar vortex, you know what we mean!

With Chef Norman Van Aken, who the late Charlie Trotter called “The Walt Whitman of American Cuisine.”

We celebrated New Year’s in Miami Beach. Actually, we were off the beach more than on it, catching up with friends and trying local restaurants. If you go, make sure to visit the Wynwood Arts District and take in the colorful street art and local cafes. That’s where we caught up with Chef Norman Van Aken at Three at Wynwood Arcade. We were glad to see him back in South Florida after closing Norman’s in Coral Gables. If you go, sit at the chef’s counter. Van Aken also has a cooking school and rooftop bar that is an Arts District hot spot.

Scallop Ceviche at Three at Wynwood

We continued checking out locally owned spots like Stiltsville Fish Bar on Sunset Harbor, owned by Chefs Jeffrey McInnis and Janine Booth. We enjoyed the well-prepared fish dishes and casual, no-attitude atmosphere. Our one Cuban restaurant was Bella Cuba, a small family-run spot opened in 2005 that serves authentic dishes and a popular blueberry mojito.

Mojitos at Bella Cuba

Lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab is always fun. Of course, we partook in the restaurant’s namesake menu item, along with the signature creamed spinach and key lime pie. We never would have considered ordering fried chicken at Joe’s, but one of our lunch mates did. The excellent one-half free-range fried chicken is one of the best bargains on the menu at $6.95!

Conch Fritters at Joes Stone Crab

Miami is filled with great restaurants. Just about every well-known chef has an outpost in one of the hotels that line the beach or downtown. As much as we’d love to try them all, there something about smaller locally-owned places that draw us in.

We left Miami in sunny spirits and ready to book another trip.

One of the many outdoor art displays at the Wynwood Arts District

 

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Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Most Happy Fella in the Restaurant Industry- Drew Nieporent

Photo: www.myriadrestaurantgroup.com

Drew Nieporent always make you feel welcome, even if you are not entering one of his own restaurants, which include critically acclaimed Bâtard, Tribeca Grill, Nobu Downtown, Nobu 57 in NYC. Many of Drew’s restaurants, current and former, launched the careers of many top chefs; he continues to serve as a mentor and seasoned voice within the industry.

Service and congeniality have run in Drew’s DNA  ever since this born and bred New Yorker graduated from Cornell School of Hotel Management. He worked on cruise ships as a culinary student and then started his restaurant management career working for the late Warner Le Roy at Maxwell’s Plum and Tavern on the Green.

His Myriad Restaurant Group has opened and operated 39 restaurants around the world from New York to London, Seattle to Moscow, and consults for some major names in the hospitality industry (www.myriadrestaurantgroup.com). What’s next for number 40?

Drew donates his time and talent to myriad charities as well, including Citymeals-on-Wheels. Madison Square Garden’s Garden of Dreams Foundation, DIFFA, Share Our Strength and City Harvest. We hear he’s a pretty good auctioneer as well for charity events.

Show airing: Wednesday, August 8, 2pm EST on The Connected Table Live at www.W4CY.com

Listen to this this show on iHeart. Click this photo:

 

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Eat

Adieu! Joël Robuchon

We did not know Chef Joël Robuchon personally, but we have dined in his restaurants in Paris, Las Vegas, and New York, and his silky mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving tradition at our table. We adore them! Maybe a little too much sometimes!

The news August 6th of Robuchon’s death from cancer at age 73 raced through the internet leaving many of us needing time to catch our breaths. With an accumulated 31 Michelin Stars and 20 fine-dining restaurants in 12 cities around the world, Robuchon, joins a seat at the angels’ table d’haute cuisine next to Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, and other great French chefs who served as mentors to many chefs around the world.

Maybe that’s why the night sky shined a little brighter on August 6. Heaven just gained some more Michelin stars. RIP Chef.

Chef Joel Robuchon (Photo from www.joel-robuchon.com/en)

 

Among the many tributes to Robuchon on Twitter:

The MICHELIN Guide‏ @MichelinGuideUK
Career Highlights of Joël Robuchon The legendary French chef, who died today at age 73, had a career spanning almost 60 years and more than 20 restaurants with a total of 31 Michelin stars….
“As the world takes in the news of the death of one of its most feted chefs, we look back at the career of the legendary Joël Robuchon. The French chef, who ran a chain of French fine-dining restaurants in 12 cities around the world, passed away in Geneva after a battle with cancer. He was 73 years old.” Link to article

Eric Ripert‏  @ericripert Aug 6
Shocked and very sad by the loss of my Mentor Joel Robuchon. The most rigorous, precise, demanding, ultra gifted King of all Chefs… RIP Monsieur Robuchon

French Embassy U.S.‏ @franceintheus
Joël Robuchon was a great ambassador of French cuisine. Named “Chef of the Century” in 1990, he was the world’s most Michelin-starred chef. Let’s honor his achievements by rediscovering one of his signature dish: potatoes purée, the best mashed-potatoes.

As for the recipe for his pomme purée, we selected this version and companion photo (beautifully shot by photographer, Bobby Fisher) from an article written by the late Anthony Bourdain in Food & Wine Magazine in 2016. We read it feeling sad knowing both Bourdain and Robuchon are now gone this year.

Robuchon’s vast creativity can be see in these stunning food shots on  his website. Here is a link: https://www.joel-robuchon.com/en/creations.php#

Mashed Potatoes, Kind Of Robuchon-Style”- link

Food and Wine Magazine 2016 © Bobby Fisher
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Drink Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

America’s Top 100 Wine Restaurants

Wine Enthusiast magazine has revealed its “100 Best Wine Restaurants.” Susan Kostrzewa, Executive Editor, joins us on The Connected Table Live! to discuss what goes into selecting the list and her approach to driving content for both the online and print editions of the magazine.

Meanwhile, in the same issue (August) we enjoyed the profiles of four “pioneers” who are making wines in areas where most people have no idea wine is even being made, and it is time to take notice! They include Chris Brundrett, William Chris Vineyards (Hye Texas); Charlie Edson, Bel Lago Vineyards & Winery (Cedar, MI); Jasper Riddle, Noisy Water Winery (Ruidoso, NM); and Deirdre Heekin, La Garagista Farm & Winery (Barnard, VT).

Susan Kostrzewa

Susan is a veteran journalist who joined Wine Enthusiast in 2006 after living and working in Sonoma. In addition to overseeing all editorial direction for both Wine Enthusiast and WineMag.com in addition to the tasting programs. At a panel discussion on Monday night, Susan addressed topics such as the #MeToo movement in hospitality, emerging U.S. wine and food cities (think Providence, R.I. and Burlington, VT) and whether rosé will be become passé (it’s still quite in bloom).

Panelists: Lauren Friel, Wine Director for Dirt Candy, NYC; Christopher Gross, Executive Chef, Geordi’s, Phoenix, AZ; Matthew Kudry, Flora Bar, NYC; Alexandra Cherniavsky, The Love, Philadelphia, PA, and Susan Kostrzewa. July 9, 2018 at The Landmark in NYC. Photo credit: www.scottruddevents.com © 2018 Scott Rudd

Listen to our segment with Susan in The Connected Table Live at iHeart.com and free iHeart app.

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Drink Eat Events

Go West Hungry Diners- To Manhattan’s Upper West Side

We squeezed in an evening at Taste of the Upper West Side Saturday, May 19. Despite having lived in Manhattan for more than 25 years, we’d never been to this event which took place under a huge tent and featured more than 80 restaurants, wines, and cocktail bars split between two nights.  Palm Bay and Taub Family Co. supplied the numerous wine tables, and we tasted several cocktails from local UWS watering holes.

Serving up Carmine’s meatballs.

The night we attended, Chef-Restaurateur John Fraser (The Nix, Narcissa and The Loyal) was the evening’s honoree, and Jacques Torres was signing his book, “Dessert Circus” which was free for American Airlines Mastercard holders. So glad I brought my card!  The evening was presented by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District to support neighborhood improvement and beautification.

Chef Bill Peet, Tavern on the Green

 

Fabulous Melanie With Chef John Fraser, the evening’s Honoree

 

Stunning bread from Orwasher’s

 

A special thank you to Linda Alexander, Alexander Marketing Corp., for arranging our press tickets. Congratulations on a fabulous event!

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Cookbook Drink THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Lidia’s American Dream: Sharing Memories

I have three favorite personal memories of Lidia Bastianich. The first was a Sunday lunch at her home in Queens many years ago. Her son, Joe, and I had been chatting about Zinfandel wines and my desire to try more of them. So, he decided to host a lunch with Lidia with a selection of Zinfandels (a.k.a. a Zinful Sunday). It was small, and I was embarrassingly late due to Hamptons traffic. I remember an endless parade of amazing food dishes, copious amounts of wine and Felix, Lidia’s husband at the time, playing an accordion and singing. Bastianich family members were there, plus me, writer, Jerry Shriver, and one or two others.

I wondered to myself, “Is this a typical Sunday lunch at the Bastianich house?” I’d never experienced anything like at home in Chattanooga since my parents tended to hole away in the office or bedroom on Sundays, leaving me to fend for myself. Most Sundays in NYC I found myself worked extra hours or in transit from an airport or the Hamptons. But, that Sunday, I felt like a member of the Bastianich family.

I felt that same feeling of family at Joe Bastianich’s wedding at the Plaza Hotel February 19, 1995. It was a much bigger party with even more food, wine and music. I still have the commemorative bottle of wedding wine in our cellar (Joe told me it is probably great vinegar by now). I remember feeling very much like the single woman I was at the time being seated next to the wedding priest and chatting with very nice young gay man on the other side of me, while watching Lidia cut a rug on the dance floor. She was the Pride of the Party along with the Bride. What a wedding!!!

Finally, I recall running into Lidia at the Milan Airport in 2009. David and I were on a whirlwind wine trip and hauling our carry-on bags like two sherpas. Lidia glided down the stairs carrying absolutely nothing! I don’t think she even held a handbag. It was like she lived in the airport and never needed to lug her stuff around. I marveled at that free feeling. We embraced and chatted briefly before going our ways. She glided off. We trudged onward.

Lidia makes everything – from cooking to entertaining to running a restaurant or demonstrating a recipe on camera- seem effortless, and she makes everyone feel part of her family. I think that’s the secret sauce to her success.

Lidia has picked up an Emmy Award for her TV series, six James Beard Foundation Awards  (chef, books, broadcast, Who’s Who) and a Les Dames d’Escoffier International Grand Dame Award. She’s written best-selling books, produces a wildly successful specialty food line, LIDIA”s, and owns our acclaimed restaurants. She’s cooked for Pope Benedict (in 2008) and Pope Francis (in 2015) during their visits to New York City.

She’s living the American Dream! For all these reasons, it’s why her new memoir, “My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family and Food (Penguin Random House, is appropriately named. Born poor and living behind the unbearably restrictive Communist Iron Curtain in a small town on the Istrian Peninsula, Lidia’s family spent two years living in a refugee camp before escaping across the border to Trieste, Italy. In 1958, the family came to New York, thanks to the aid of Catholic Charities.

Resilience formed her backbone; cooking was her skill, family was her bond and gratitude lifted her up. She notes in her book, that complete strangers and nonprofit organizations reached out to help give her a family a home, fill their cupboards with food and help her parents find work.

There’s never enough time to spend with Lidia to hear her amazing story. We were grateful to spend a 30 minutes with recently on The Connected Table Live! You can listen here:

 

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Chef Ana Sortun’s Inspiration

Chef /Restaurateur Ana Sortun (photo: Kristin Teig)

A trip to Turkey while studying in Paris at La Varenne Cooking School as a young girl inspired Chef & Restaurateur Ana Sortun to specialize in the foods of Turkey and the Middle East in her three restaurants, Oleana, Sofra Bakery & Cafe and Sarma, all located in the greater Boston area. Ana is author of two cookbooks, “Spice,” and “Soframiz” (with Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick). LINK to show on iHeart.

In this edition of The Connected Table LIVE! Ana discussed her career, the business of being a restaurateur with multiple units, her passion for the flavors and culture of Turkey, and her love of farms. Her husband, Chris Kurth,  is owner of Siena Farms, named after their daughter, which supplies all of Ana’s restaurants with fresh organic produce.

Listen now

 

Ana Sortun’s food capures the spicy, sensuous colors and flavors of Turkey and the Middle East

 

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Cookbook THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Quenelles of Steel- Barbara Lynch on Living Life Out of Line

Reading Barbara Lynch‘s new memoir, “Out of Line: A Life Playing With Fire,” I was gripped with emotion and fascination. The term “Southie” was unfamiliar to this southern girl. So were the housing projects where Barbara grew up in South Boston next door to the notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger. Life in the hardscrabble ‘hood produced a gritty, gutsy gal with a loyal gang of pals. Success was not a straight shot for Barbara but rather a roundabout map with a few crazy detours, hard work and hard knocks.  But she made it. Big time. Moxie rules.

Barbara Lynch

Wednesday, May 3, 2pm EST, on The Connected Table LIVE! we speak with Chef Barbara Lynch (Barbara Lynch Gruppo), whose restaurants, all in Boston, including No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, Drink, Sportello and Menton. Barbara is only the second woman to win a James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurateur and is recipient of the Amelia Earhart Award for success as a woman in a male dominated field.

 

Barbara shares her story in her memoir with a funny frankness, and heartfelt sincerity that leaves you inspired. Her slogan is “Quenelles of Steel.” You better believe it!

Buy this book on Amazon. Click here:

 

 

Wednesday, May 3, The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY.com. Podcast to iHeart.com

We bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Listen anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart and live Wednesdays, 2pm EST onW4CY.com. Connect with us on Twitter@connectedtable,Instagram@theconnectedtable and Facebook@connectedtable
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Sonoma Stars

It had been awhile since either of had spent much time in Sonoma Valley, so we felt lucky to add three nights for a visit following our stay at Meadowood in St. Helena for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium. Where Napa feels gentrified and sophisticated, Sonoma feels bucolic and achaten-suisse.com laid back. It’s like comparing cashmere to fleece; they both feel great and will keep you warm outside, and you want both for different reasons.

Here we are with John Jordan in the barrel room

The first two nights were spent at Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley tasting wines, exploring the expansive estate and enjoying a quiet dinner with Lisa Mattson and her husband, Damon, at BarnDiva in nearby Healdsburg. Lisa was a guest on The Connected Table LIVE! to talk about her book, “The Exes in My Glass.” We met proprietor John Jordan whom we learned has a thing for “Star Wars” movies.  Jordan specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and does both well.

 

 

Another night took us to The Shed Cafe, a restaurant located in a cookware shop and bakery. Most of the food is locally sourced within 10 miles of Healdsburg. We suggest checking out the four- course tasting menu for $58 with a $25 wine pairing option.  Address: 25 North Street, Healdsburg. 707-431-7433  www.healdsburgshed.com

 

Winter Citrus Salad with Avocado, Miners Lettuce, Sea Buckthorn and HomeFarm Olio Nuovo at The Shed in Healdsburg

 

Our final night was spent at Valette whose chef-owner, Dustin Valette visited with us on The Connected Table LIVE March 8th. Dustin began his restaurant career at the age of thirteen washing dishes at Catelli’s in his hometown of Geyserville. A Culinary Institute of America grad, he worked at several top restaurants to fine tune his skills, most recently spending six years as Executive Chef of Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer restaurant in downtown Healdsburg.  With his brother and fellow restaurant worker, Aaron Garzini, Dustin hatched a plan to open Valette in a building which housed his great grandfather’s bakery.  The two brothers opened Valette in 2015 spotlighting their deep passion and dedication to Sonoma Country and its food and wine purveyors and producers.

 

Chef Dustin Valette opened his restaurant in the same location where his great grandfather ran a bakery.

 

Valette is located at 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA  Phone: 707-473-0946 www.valettehealdsburg.com

The restaurant is hopping!  We dined there the night of the “Oscars.” David noshed on Dustin’s house made charcuterie and Coriander Crusted Liberty Duck Breast with tart pickled cherries and dick + foie grad torchon.  Little Miss Healthy Me enjoyed a vegetarian “beet Wellington” described on the menu as Tangerine Infused Beets en Papillote with preserved lemon, farro risotto, baby carrots and Laura Chenel goat cheese and Hawaiian Ahi Poke.

 

Tangerine Infused Beets en Papillote

 

 

Hawaiian Ahi Poke Styl

 

Give This Gal a Forklift!

Katie Madigan, is winemaker at St. Francis Winery.  Like many women winemakers I’ve interviewed, Katie started out planning on another career path not realizing the great opportunities for women in wine. She was a chemistry major intent on going into the pharma business. She took an internship as a lab technician at St. Francis in 2003 to pass the time and never left.

Katie Madigan has worked at St. Francis Winery for 14 years

Now 14 years later Katie is in charge of making St. Francis’s award winning wines. She says she’s most proud of making great wines widely available for everyone to enjoy.  I asked Katie for career tips for aspiring women winemakers. She says: 1. get your experience working in the cellar, 2. learn to run a pump and forklift  3. be ready to get your hands dirty 4. be confident on your palate and 5. be very patient.  Careers in wine, like the wine itself, can take time to mature.

While we did not make it to St. Francis Winery in Santa Rosa, we are very familiar with the wines. David has written about St. Francis Winery for Tasting Panel Magazine, and many years ago my former PR firm, M Young Communications, produced St, Francis’s Big Red chef events in New York and Los Angeles. You can arrange a visit, and we hope to next trip. www.stfranciswine.com

 

Here is our show with Chef Dustin Valette and Winemaker Katie Madigan on iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.