“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
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
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
I was part of a group of travelers attending the Hamad International Airport Expansion presentation in Doha. Most arrived the day before, but due to a family commitment, I arrived the following day. A driver picked me up at the airport and drove me to the sleek and modern Mondrian Doha, designed by Marcel Wanders of the Netherlands. The 270-room property was the first sbe hotel in the Middle East. My luggage was scanned and put aside for a hand check and the guard removed the little sleep sound device I use to cover city noise when I sleep and travel. “No speakers allowed,” the guard said, but once I explained what the item was he allowed me to take it. From there, check-in was swift, and I received a packet of information about dinner and the week’s agenda.
Custom order your Volvo through the Overseas Delivery Program and receive round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and a personalized delivery at the Volvo Factory Delivery Experience in Gothenburg, Sweden. Your experience begins in Sweden with insurance and registration included, enabling you to drive your new Volvo throughout Scandinavia and Europe. Create the adventure of a lifetime with the program named Best Overseas Delivery four years running, and return home with the ultimate souvenir.
As ACI EUROPE and leading European aviation associations recently detailed a plan to make sustainable aviation a reality, Munich Airport continues its work toward climate neutrality. In 2019, MUC was one of the first airports in Germany to sign a Net Zero Carbon resolution alongside more than 200 other European airports in 2019. The pledge aims to deliver net zero airport CO2 emissions by 2050.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, introduces new meeting offerings starting this month. Louisville’s only waterfront hotel recently underwent a property-wide $80 million renovation on all guestrooms, meeting spaces and new food and beverage concepts.