Kelly McCown

Executive Chef

The Kitchen Restaurant

Sacramento, CA

As executive chef of The Kitchen, Kelly McCown oversees the entire food program of this celebrated institution. From menu development and ingredient quality control to the hands-on preparation and narration of dinner, McCown’s domain is not only in the kitchen but also in front of guests, for whom he strives to provide an unforgettable experience.

Upon completion of his culinary training at the California Culinary Academy, McCown honed his craft in some of San Francisco’s finest kitchens, including Michelin-starred La Folie and the lauded Fleur de Lys.

McCown developed his pastry skills at the Alexis Hotel in Seattle. In 1992, McCown joined trendsetting, Michelin-rated chef Scott Carsberg as his sous chef to open the award-winning Lampreia. The James Beard Foundation’s celebrated Flying Fish followed, where McCown presided as chef de cuisine. While there, Bon Appetit and Seattle magazines accorded him “rising star” chef status, and the Seattle Times characterized McCown’s cuisine as “richly flavored meals that offer both comfort and complexity.”

Returning to California in 1999, he assumed the post of executive sous chef at Wine Spectator’s Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America. McCown then followed acclaimed chef Todd Humphries to work with master restaurateur Pat Kuleto to open the renowned Napa Valley restaurant Martini House in St. Helena. As chef de cuisine, McCown guided the culinary program to many accolades, including Esquire magazine’s award for top new restaurants in America, Bon Appetit’s Best of 2002, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top Five Restaurants for New American Cuisine, and one star from the Michelin Guide.

After his tenure at Martini House, McCown developed the culinary program for Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon Estate at the historic Inglenook Chateau in the heart of Napa Valley. McCown’s work at the winery received exceptional reviews. Additionally, he was the only American chef invited to Tokyo’s Cirque Culinaire in 2008.

In 2009, McCown joined Selland Family Restaurants to helm Ella Dining Room and Bar in downtown Sacramento, where he received accolades for his work from The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento Magazine, Food Arts, and The New York TimesIn 2011, McCown returned to the Napa Valley to open the critically acclaimed Goose & Gander, which earned a Bib Gourmand from Michelin and was named one of the top 10 Restaurants in Napa Valley by Condé Nast Traveler and The New York Times.

Under McCown’s leadership, The Kitchen has garnered several high-profile awards, including the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, OpenTable Top 100 Restaurants in America, Yelp Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S., USA Today’s Top 30 Restaurants in America, the highly prized AAA Five Diamond Award of Excellence, and the first Michelin Star awarded in the Sacramento region.