twelve days of christmas: save the dates…
Last November, I helped gather six, exciting chefs in Kansas City to cook for the James Beard Foundation. One of them was Christopher Kostow, chef of the three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood at Meadowood Napa Valley, a Relais & Châteaux property in St. Helena, California.
For the past four years, The Restaurant at Meadowood has hosted a spectacular stretch of eating known as the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” a dinner series that brings a wish list of the world’s best chefs to the resort every December to benefit Share Our Strength, an organization devoted to fighting childhood hunger. Last year’s roster included Enrique Olvera of Pujol in Mexico City; Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina; Curtis Duffy, formerly of Avenues, now of the upcoming Grace in Chicago; and George Mendes of Aldea in New York, all of whose restaurants I had the pleasure of visiting last year.
Encouraged by that dinner in Kansas City, which assembled a group of chefs with unique, culinary perspectives, chef Kostow asked me to help him brainstorm for this year’s list of invitees. He wanted to find emerging voices that, as he put it, are telling a “narrative that only they can tell.” I was honored that he asked, excited by the possibilities, and glad to help.
What inspired me about Kostow’s approach to this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas is that he wanted to broaden its purpose and start using the dinner series as a platform for a larger exchange of ideas and ethos among chefs, not the least of which was to help bring awareness to childhood hunger.
So, in addition to cooking at The Restaurant at Meadowood, this year’s eleven guest chefs will also spend time getting to know The Meadowood community and relationships that are important to Kostow, including a Montessori school, with which Kostow has forged a partnership, and the Culinary Institute of America, which will host a special lecture series at its Greystone campus in St. Helena, where each chef will be invited to speak.
This year’s Twelve Days of Christmas welcomes a diverse group of chefs to Napa Valley, a few of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past. They come from every corner of America, and one from Europe. I have been to half of the twelve restaurants represented, and hope to visit some, if not all of the remaining six with Kostow before the year is over. Regardless, I look forward to experiencing each chef’s cooking when, at the generous invitation of Kostow, I will attend all twelve dinners at The Restaurant at Meadowood in December.
Each dinner will be a five-course collaboration among the guest chef, Kostow, and a local vintner. Traditionally, Kostow cooks the twelfth dinner. But, in the spirit of collaboration, this year, Kostow will work with his sous chefs, each of whom will present a course on the last night
In addition to the sixty seats in the dining room, this year, Kostow will make four seats at the chefs’s counter available, exclusively through his Twitter account, over the next few weeks. For all other pricing and reservation information about these dinners, please visit the The Restaurant at Meadowood’s events page.
Without more, I am pleased to have the privilege of announcing the fifth annual Twelve Days of Christmas to you (I’ve hyperlinked the restaurant and vintner names to their websites). Please save the dates.
Friday, December 7
Princeton, New Jersey
Wendell Laidley, Realm Cellars
Saturday, December 8
John B. Shields
Formerly of Town House
Ehren Jordan, Failla Wines
Tuesday, December 11
John Conover, PlumpJack Wines
Wednesday December 12
State Bird Provisions
San Francisco, California
Beth Novak, Spottswoode Estate
Thursday December 13
Joe Wender & Ann Colgin, Colgin Cellars
Friday, December 14
Phillipe Melka, Melka Wines
Saturday, December 15
Formerly of Mori Sushi
Los Angeles, California
Cleo & Jayson Pahlmeyer, Pahlmeyer
Tuesday, December 18
Ann & Dick Grace, Grace Family Vineyards
Wednesday, December 19
New York, New York
Donald Bryant, Bryant Family Vineyard
Thursday, December 20
Bart & Daphne Araujo, Araujo Estate
Friday, December 21
Josh Habiger & Erick Anderson
The Catbird Seat
Charles Thomas, Quintessa
Saturday, December 22
The Restaurant at Meadowood
St. Helena, California
Bill & Deborah Harlan, BOND
Photos: Christopher Kostow at the 2011 Friends of James Beard Foundation dinner at The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Missouri; Kostow and one of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas guest chefs, Scott Anderson, at the 2011 Friends of James Beard Foundation dinner at The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Missouri.