You don’t have to wish upon a star at the Napa Truffle Festival—instead you can enjoy FOUR of them! Four world-class Michelin star chefs, whose Michelin stars go back to nearly a hundred years ago, when the fledgling French guide book company introduced its three-star restaurant rating system. Ever since then, this mark of excellence can make—even break—a restaurant. Earning a star from an anonymous Michelin reviewer means a restaurant excels in the quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of its food. While restaurants all over the world are rated, in the U.S. there are only guides for New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
At our fourth Napa Truffle Festival weekend these star-studded chefs create truffle-studded delights with the “black gold” of a Périgord truffle at winery lunches, cooking demos and the festival’s signature Saturday Truffles & Wine Dinner. Renowned La Toque Executive Chef and Owner Ken Frank is our Host Chef. Frank trained in prestigious French restaurants, returning to the U.S. to become opening Chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica, considered the Los Angeles birthplace of “California Cuisine.” In 1979 at age 23, he opened the original La Toque in L.A., moving it to Napa in 1998. It has been named one of the 20 Best Restaurants in America by the Wine Spectator, in addition to its Michelin Star.
Frank’s fellow chefs this year share his classically trained and contemporary Mediterranean approach. Alessandro Boglione is Executive Chef and Owner at the beautiful Italian ristorante al Castello, housed inside the historic Castello di Grinzane di Cavour. In Piedmont’s Langhe, the region is the home of Big Italian Red wines (and the “other” truffle!). After beginning his culinary career in top European restaurant hotels, Boglione trained in some of Italy’s and Europe’s finest “alta cucina” and Michelin-starred establishments, including Vissani **, Miramonti L’Altro **, Antica Osteria Del Ponte ***, and El Bulli ***.
Carrie Nahabedian is Executive Chef and Owner at Chicago’s celebrated NAHA. After global cuisine explorations, Nahabedian’s illustrious culinary career included stints at the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels, and top-rated restaurants Le Perroquet, Jovan and Le Francais, before opening Mediterranean-centric NAHA in her native Chicago.
Like Ken Frank, Jarad Gallagher, Executive Chef of Chez TJ in Mountain View, CA was drawn to the kitchen at an early age and by 21 was an executive chef. Training in Paris and London at Le Cordon Bleu led him to the acclaimed Bras restaurant in Laguiole, France. His first Michelin-starred restaurant stints were at Michael Mina, One Market and Plumed Horse.