12 days of christmas: camara… (2019)

5th Course: Pork Belly

I remember the first time I met Gabriela Camara. My friends and I were standing on the sidewalk outside of her new restaurant Contramar in Mexico City.  The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and spirits were high. Yet Camara managed to outshine all of it with her colorful entrance.

Mexican by birth, but having Italian heritage, Camara is animated and fun, warm and spunky.  And all of that comes through in her cooking.

Chef, businesswoman, and now cabinet member in the administration of Mexican President López Obrador, Gabriela Camara was the first guest chef took with hosting chef Christopher Kostow at this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurnat at Meadowood.

4th Course: Black Cod in Chile Atole  Gabriela Camara and Mariana Villegas

Dinner started with a parade of canapés in quick succession.  Among them were my favorite of Camara’s dishes, including a raw oyster spiked with a chili and sour cherry veneno; a thin slice of raw turnip topped with an equally spicy ripe persimmon pico;and a beautiful prawn tostada dotted with caviar.

Camara’s black cod dish was also a highlight, served with potatoes and charred cabbage, all of which made an excellent backdrop to a flavorful atole made from chiles.

Christopher Kostow  Plating.

Both desserts were strong.  Camara went through The Restaurant at Meadowood’s rainbow of fruit preserves and assembled a beautiful collection of stone fruits, which she served with baked meringues and whipped cream tinted with preserved cherry juice – a whimsical and delicious fruit cocktail.

Kostow and his team ended the dinner with a hickory corn tamal filled with a paste of dates and wild pecans. Served warm in steamed husks, it was drizzled with corn caramel. And it was spectacular – unquestionably one of the best desserts I’ve had. Ever.

6th Course: Meringue, Preserved Stone Fruits  7th Course: Hickory Corn Tamal

This is the menu from Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Christmas with guest chef Gabriela Camara (click here for all of the photos from this dinner):


Sour cherry veneno.

Persimmon pico.

Prawn Tostada

Sunchoke Taco
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

1st Course
Broccoli Escabeche
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

2nd Course
Sea Urchin Ceviche

3rd Course
Chicken chicharron

4th Course
Black Cod in Chile Atole

5th Course
Pork Belly
Pumpkin coloradito.

6th Course
Preserved stone fruits.

7th Course
Hickory Corn Tamal
Dates, wild pecans.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Wine Pairing

Franz Hirtzberger, Smaragd 2016

Keplinger “Eldorado,” 2017

Radio-Coteau, Savoy, 2013

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 2005

Taylor’s Vintage Port, 2003

Day 1: Gabriela Camara

Below are links to my posts and photos from all Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended. Each chef is listed with the restaurant with which they were cooking at the time they participated in the event (some have moved on to other projects and restaurants).


Scott Anderson (Elements; Princeton, New Jersey)
John & Karen Shields (Formerly of Townhouse; Chilhowie, Virginia)
Phillip Foss (EL Ideas; Chicago, Illinois)
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions; San Francisco, California)
Jason Franey (Canlis Restaurant; Seattle, Washinton)
Matthias Merges (Yusho; Chicago, Illinois)
Mori Onodera (Formerly of Mori Sushi; Los Angeles, California)
James Syhabout (Commis; Oakland, California)
Nick Anderer (Maialino; New York, New York)
David Toutain (Agapé Substance; Paris, France)
Josh Habiger & Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat; Nashville Tennessee)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon & New York, New York)
Rodolfo Guzman (Boragó; Santiago, Chile)
Carlo Mirarchi (Blanca and Roberta’s; Brooklyn, New York)
Tim Cushman (O Ya; Boston, Massachusetts)
Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner; Raleigh, North Carolina)
David Chang (Momofuku; New York, New York)
Matthew Accarrino (SPQR; San Francisco, California)
Mark Ladner & Brooks Headley (Del Posto; New York, New York)
Rasmus Kofoed (Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine; San Francisco, California)
David Kinch (Manresa; Los Gatos, California)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Matthew Orlando (Amass; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Frank Castranovo & Frank Falcinelli (Frankies 457, Prime Meats; New York, New York)
Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf; Dranouter, Belgium)
Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère; La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn; Lummi Island, Washington)
Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s; Portland, Oregon)
Virgilio Martinez (Central; Lima, Peru)
Grant Achatz (Alinea; Chicago, Illinois)
Corey Lee (Benu; San Francisco, California)
Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo; Oslo, Norway)
Ignacio Mattos (Estela; New York, New York)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad; New York, New York)
Nenad Mlinarevic (Focus; Vitznau, Switzerland)
Christian Puglisi (relæ; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil; Mexico City, Mexico)
Joshua Skenes (Saison; San Francisco, California)
Matthew Wilkinson (Pope Joan; Melbourne, Australia)
Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan ([One]; Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Isaac McHale (The Clove Club; London, The United Kingdom)
Kyle Connaughton (Single Thread; Healdsburg, California)
Atsushi Tanaka (A.T. Restaurant; Paris, France)
Justin Yu (Oxheart; Houston, Texas)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Mark Lundgaard Nielsen (Kong Hans Kælder; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Manish Mehrotra (Indian Accents; New Dehli, India; New York, New York; London, U.K.)
Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hauske Valtierra (Contra & Wildair; New York, New York)
Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon & Tallula’s; Santa Monica, California)
Ben Sukle (birch & Oberlin; Providence, Rhode Island)
Sean Brock (McCrady’s, McCrady’s Tavern, Husk, & Minero; Charleston, South Carolina)
Yoshiaki Takazawa (Takazawa; Tokyo, Japan)
Thomas Keller (The French Laundry; Yountville, California)
Eric Werner (Hartwood; Tulum, Mexico)
Jock Zonfrillo (Orana; Adelaide, Australia)
Alexandre Couillon (La Marine; Noirmoutier, France)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique; San Juan, Puerto Rico)
David Pynt (Burnt Ends; Singapore)
Jessica Largey (Simone; Los Angeles, California)
James Lowe (Lyle’s; London, The United Kingdom)
Kamilla Seidler (formerly of Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Byung-jin Kim (Gaon; Seoul, South Korea)
Wojciech Modest Amaro (Atelier Amaro; Warsaw, Poland)
Justin Cogley (Auberine; Carmel, California) & Trevor Moran (Nashville, Tennessee)
Michael Tusk (Cotogna and Quince; San Francisco, California)
Ana Ros (Hiša Franko; Kobarid, Slovenia)
Sota Atsumi (Maison, opening in 2019; Paris, France)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Gabriela Camara (Contramar; Mexico City, Mexico/Cala; San Francisco, California)

Photos: Plating Camara’s pork belly; Camara’s black cod on the pass; Gabriela Camara and her culinary director Mariana Villegas; Kostow plating; Camara and Villegas plating; Camara’s preserved stone fruits dessert; The Restaurant at Meadowood’s hickory corn tamal dessert; wine pairings; and Gabriela Camara and the team at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

~ by ulterior epicure on December 10, 2019.

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