St. Helena, California, Meadowood Napa Valley, Chef Christopher Kostow

Oct 1, 2009
2009 / October 2009

“I embrace food memories — traditional combinations that work together — and then distill those flavors into something that is very much different, and very much stands on its own.”

That’s the culinary philosophy of Michelin-rated Christopher Kostow, chef at Napa Valley’s Meadowood.

While Kostow’s approach to food blends contemporary French cuisine with farm-to-table tradition, the Chicago native’s journey to culinary distinction has been far from traditional. After earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., Kostow relocated to San Diego where he caught the eye of Chef Trey Foshee, named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 1998.

Following three years under Foshee’s tutelage, Kostow set out to test his mettle during a whirlwind tour of France where he did stints at wide-ranging eateries: a Paris bistro, Michelin-starred Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, a 14th-century monks’ abbey in Salon-de-Provence. When he returned to the United States, Kostow settled in San Francisco where he signed on as sous chef under the direction of Chef Daniel Humm at the award-winning Campton Place Restaurant and subsequently earned top accolades — including two Michelin stars — at Chez TJ in Mountain View.

Since arriving at Meadowood in February 2008, Kostow has garnered three-and-one-half stars in the San Francisco Chronicle; maintained two Michelin stars; earned the James Beard Society’s nomination for Best Chef, Pacific; and placed on Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs 2009.

“Meadowood gives me the freedom and resources to approach food in a creative way,” said Kostow. “It’s a large kitchen with many skilled cooks, so I can take time to craft the dishes and put a lot of thought into my food.

“I’m always learning new things. There’s a thin line between being creative and experimenting, and being disciplined and thoughtful about food. I’m walking that line, and I’m going to make my food taste as good as it can possibly taste.”


Cold-smoked toro with Osetra caviar, crème frâiche and daikon sprouts Serves 4

For the cured toro:
½ pound toro
1 cup sugar
1½ cups salt
Zest of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground white peppercorn
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
3 tablespoons vodka
1 piece parchment paper
2 pieces fig wood (or other fruit wood)
1 large bag of ice

Mix sugar, salt, zests, white peppercorn, coriander, fennel seed and vodka together. Spread half the cure mixture on parchment paper. Lay the toro atop the cure and bury it with the remaining cure. Fold the parchment over and lightly weigh down (with a carton of milk, for example). Allow to cure for 1 hour.

Remove the toro from the cure. Rinse in cold water and dry with a paper towel. Place cured toro in a strainer. Light the fig wood over a burner, place smoking branches in a large metal bowl. Place 4 large ring molds or ramekins in the bowl, one in each corner. Place a wire rack on top of the ring molds. Place a large bag of ice on the wire rack. Place the strainer with the toro on top of the ice. Fold quickly into foil wrap and allow to cold smoke for 30 minutes. Place the smoked toro in the freezer to chill.

For the garnish:
1 tablespoon crème frâiche, in squirt bottle
1 spring onion, shave the bulb, julienne the tops
Lemon zest
Daikon sprouts
1 tablespoon Osetra caviar

Presentation:Use a deli slicer to shave the toro into 1/8-inch slices. Work slice by slice, laying each on a plate as quickly as possible. Garnish each plate with several small dollops of caviar, a few small drops of crème frâiche, the sliced onion and sprouts and lemon zest. Serve with warm bread.


Squab with cherries and radishes Serves 4

For the squab:
4 whole squabs
2 ounces Darjeeling tea
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 cups salt
4 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
1 liter duck fat

Heat duck fat in a frying pan. Remove the breasts and legs from the squabs. Crush the garlic and bay leaves; combine with salt. Pack squab legs in salt mixture and set aside to cure for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Place cured squab legs in hot duck fat and simmer until tender. Remove from fat and cool.

Mix the butter and tea in a food processor. Place breasts in a zipper-lock plastic bag with the butter mixture. Set aside until ready to serve.

For the cherries:
1/3 cup dried cherries
10 ounces ruby port

In a small pot, bring port to boil. Reduce by half. Pour over dried cherries to rehydrate. Once cherries have plumped, remove liquid and reduce until syrupy.

For the radish:
1 bunch baby radish
1 cup water
3½ tablespoons butter

Clean radishes, reserving tops for garnish. Heat the water and butter in a saucepot. Add cleaned radishes. Simmer until tender and well glazed.

Presentation: Place plastic bags containing squab breasts in water heated to 135 degrees and poach until medium rare. Remove squab legs from zipper-lock bags and roast skin side down in a saucepan until crispy. Top with cherry sauce and radish garnish.

Meadowood Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Lane
St. Helena, CA 94574
tel 707 963 3646

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

© Ukrphoto | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 15, 2019

Cunard Launches Exclusive Musical

Cunard premiered the musical Top Hat aboard Queen Victoria last week. Next week, the musical premieres aboard Queen Elizabeth. The musical is slated to appear exclusively on Cunard ships for the next four years.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Lufthansa. Photo: Alexander Efisko | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 15, 2019

Lufthansa Launches Innovative Carbon Offset Program

Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.

Desert. Photo: Galyna Andrushko | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 15, 2019

Shop New Desert-Inspired Capsule Collection From The Luxury Collection

The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

LG Pay. Photo: Piotr Swat | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 14, 2019

LG Pay

With more mobile pay options like Apple Pay and Venmo becoming commonplace, electronics manufacturer LG is getting in on the action.

Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: Ajdibilio | Dreamstime.com

© Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. Photo: Jason P Ross | Dreamstime.com

Santa Monica, California. Photo: Tupungato | Dreamstime.com

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Sponsored Content

Google Search. Photo: Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 13, 2019

Google Expands Price Comparison Tool

Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.

© VanderWolfImages | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 13, 2019

Singapore Airlines Begins Non-Stop Service Between Singapore, Seattle

Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.

Beach access ramp for wheelchair on South Beach, Miami. Photo: Alkan2011 | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 13, 2019

Florida Beaches Put Accessibility First

For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.