For the past five years, Christopher Kostow, chef of the three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood has hosted an extraordinary series of dinners known as the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Every December, it brings a holiday wish list of the world’s best chefs to the restaurant, which is located on the breathtaking property of Meadowood Napa Valley, a Relais & Châteaux resort in St. Helena, California.
Last year, when Kostow invited me to attend the Twelve Days of Christmas (here’s a recap, with links to all twelve dinners), he told me that it would be his last year hosting the event. I didn’t say much about his decision until the end of the series, when, impressed by the experience, I urged him to reconsider (I’m sure I was not alone in doing so). I’m glad he did.
The chef alumni of this dinner series comprise an amazing collection of the most relevant and current names in kitchens across the world: Enrique Olvera, Mathias Dahlgren, John and Karen Shields, Sean Brock, Gabriel Rucker, David Toutain, and April Bloomfield are among the dozens of names that this event has brought to Napa Valley over the past five years.
I am happy to announce that this year, Kostow adds eleven more to the list.
The Twelve Days of Christmas has not only become a showcase of food and wine, but, more importantly, it has become a platform for building awareness about the Napa Valley community that surrounds and supports Kostow and his restaurant.
In past years, part of the proceeds of the dinner series benefitted Share Our Strength, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger. However, this year, Kostow decided to move the cause closer to home. Twenty percent of the dinner ticket proceeds of the 2013 Twelve Days of Christmas will benefit two Napa Valley organizations: the Holly Cranston Memorial Fund, an organization that assists local families whose special needs are not met by traditional sources of assistance; and NEWS (Napa Emergency Women’s Services), which provides a refuge for women and children suffering from domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
As well, this year’s eleven guest chefs will spend time getting to know the community and relationships that are important to Kostow. The chefs will visit a Montessori school, where Kostow and the school are teaching students about sustainable agriculture by growing vegetables on land set aside by the school. The guest chefs will be invited to hand-pick produce for their dinners from this garden.
Kostow’s community also includes the Culinary Institute of America, which will again host a special lecture series at its Greystone campus in St. Helena, where some of this year’s guest chefs will be invited to speak.
This year’s Twelve Days of Christmas welcomes a diverse group of chefs to Napa Valley. They come from every corner of America, as well as two other continents. Familiar with all of them, some more than others (I have visited the restaurants of ten of the twelve chefs, and have eaten the food of eleven of them), I’m particularly excited about this year’s dinner series. I look forward to spending more time with each of them, and experiencing more of their cooking in December, when I will, again, be attending and photographing all twelve dinners.
Each of the multi-course dinners will be the product of a collaboration among the guest chef, Kostow, and a guest vintner at The Restaurant at Meadowood. In addition to the sixty-eight seats in the dining room, this year, Kostow will, again, make four seats at the chefs’s counter in the kitchen available. For all pricing and reservation information about these dinners, please visit the The 2013 Twelve Days of Christmas page on the Restaurant at Meadowood’s website.
Without more, I am pleased to have the privilege of announcing the guest chefs, vintners, and schedule for the sixth annual Twelve Days of Christmas (I’ve hyperlinked the restaurant and vintner names to their websites).
Please save the dates.
Friday, December 6
Portland, Oregon and Brooklyn, New York
Mike Grgich and Violet Grgich
Grgich Hills Estate
Saturday, December 7
Tuesday, December 10
Andrew Mariani and Adam Mariani
Wednesday December 11
Stephen Martin and Dennis O’Neil
Thursday December 12
Poole’s Downtown Diner
Raleigh, North Carolina
Constant, Diamond Valley Vineyard
Friday, December 13
New York, New York
Saturday, December 14
San Francisco, California
Tuck & Boo Beckstoffer
Tuck Beckstoffer Wines
Tuesday, December 15
MARK LADNER & BROOKS HEADLEY
New York, New York
Antica Napa Valley, Antinori Family Estate
Wednesday, December 18
Spring Mountain Vineyard
Thursday, December 19
NICOLAUS BALLA & CORTNEY BURNS
San Francisco, California
Lily and Jon Berlin
El Molino Winery
Friday, December 20
Los Gatos, California
May-Britt and Denis Malbec
Notre Vin, Malbec and Malbec Cellars
Saturday, December 21
The Restaurant at Meadowood
St. Helena, California
H. William and Deborah Harlan
Photos: John Shields and Christopher Kostow toasting at the Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California; Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions shows off the California State Bird, with Nicole Krasinski at the Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California; Matthias Merges of Yusho and Christopher Kostow at the garden at the Montessori of St. Helena, St. Helena, California.