12 days of christmas: calvert… (2019)

1st Course: Drunken Quail

Each night of the Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood, hosting chef Christopher Kostow writes a personal note about that night’s guest chef, which is printed with the menu. His note for Daniel Calvert, who cooked on the third night, was far more eloquent, precise, and personal than anything I could muster, and I include it here:

“I have had the good fortune of dining at Belon on more than one occasion, and have been struck by the multitudes contained in the dining experience there — the juxtaposition of finesse and warmth; of tradition and intuition; of East and West.

An alumnus of some of the world’s greatest restaurants, chef Calvert has the ease and grace of a chef who has mastered traditional techniques, while possessing the humor and wit that makes the application of such techniques a joy to witness.”

Crumpets!  4th Cousre: Squab Pithivier

Leading up to this year’s event, I received the usual onslaught of messages from followers and friends: which guest chef excites you most?  Unequivocally, it was the British-born Calvert.

He was one of three chefs this year whose cooking I had never had – the other two were Jeremy Charles and José Avillez. (In subsequent conversations with Calvert, I later discovered that I had eaten at both per se in New York City and Epicure at le Bristol in Paris when he was working at those two restaurants.) And given his culinary pedigree, and what little I had gleaned from those familiar with his cooking at Belon in Hong Kong, his cooking seemed anchored enough in classic, continental techniques to appeal to my preferences.

And it did.  Tremendously so.

Reach. 3rd Course: Young Sturgeon

Calvert’s canapés ran a multi-cultural gamut, from Comté gougères to cod tarama with mitsuba, and a delicious coupling of ikura and horseradish cream sandwiched with sorrel in ultra-flakey puff pastry.

My favorite expression of Calvert’s thoughtful, adaptive cooking – his marriage of continental culinary sentiments with the Asian culture of his newfound home in Hong Kong – was his “drunken quail.” Based on the Chinese “drunken chicken,” his version cleverly substituted sherry-like French vin jaune for the traditional Chinese shaoxing wine, a seamless flavor exchange.

He also trotted out excellent examples of haute craftsmanship – a beautifully burnished pithivier of squab with its yuletide heart of rosy reds and forest greens.  And for dessert, mille-crêpe layered with hazelnut pastry cream and black truffles, which took hours to make.

Crêpes, hazelnut, black truffles. 6th Course: Vacherin, Persimmon

Kostow met Calvert’s traditionalism with simple, classic flavors, like a clean cut of young sturgeon with a comforting purée of potatoes and green nasturtium, and a flavorful cut of prime rib with buttery crumpets, which was a highlight for me.  Kostow, who specializes in his own, unique form of adaptive cooking, also presented a cheese course representative of his new Napa cuisine – Vacherin cheese served simply with ripe, local persimmon, jelly-soft and candy-sweet.

This is the menu from Day 3 of the Twelve Days of Christmas with guest chef Daniel Calvert (click here for all of the photos from this dinner):


48-Month Aged Comté Cheese Gougère

Cod Tarama
With mitsuba.

Tropea onion.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Oyster Tartare

Fresh Ikura
Horseradish, sorrel.

1st Course
Drunken Quail

2nd Course
Hokkaido Scallop
Shio kombu, pomelo.

3rd Course
Young Sturgeon
Fermented potato, nasturtium.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

4th Course
Squab Pithivier
Fig, amaretto.

5th Course
Prime Rib
Oilseed, radish, crumpet.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

6th Course
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

7th Course
Black Truffle “Mille-Crêpe”

“Last Bites”
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Wine pairings.

Hans Wirsching, Silvaner, 2017

Bénédicte & Stéphane Tissot, Savagnin, 2015

Château Carbonnieux, Passac-Léognan, 2016

Cornas, 2017

La Jota Vineyard Co., Cabernet Sauvignon,
Howell Mountain, 2006 Heritage Release

Château Dauphiné Rodillon, Loupiac, 2009

Day 3: Daniel Calvert

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)
John and Karen Shields (Smyth, and The Loyalist; Chicago, Illinois)
Daniel Calvert (Belon; Hong Kong)

Photos: Plating “Drunken Quail,” plating accompaniments to the prime rib, including crumpets; Daniel Calvert and Christopher Kostow at the pass with squab pithiviers; Calvert finishing squab pithivier; Kostow finishing sturgeon dish; Calvert making black truffle mille-crêpes; wine pairings; and Calvert, Kostow, and The Restaurant at Meadowood team.

Day 3: Daniel Calvert

~ by ulterior epicure on February 15, 2020.

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