GOURMET TRAVEL: Christopher Kostow,
Executive Chef, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa Valley, California, USA
You have said 'My goal is to be evocative, not provocative' - explain what you mean by that.
Christopher Kostow is a rapidly rising star. He is the youngest chef ever to receive three Michelin stars, awarded to the Restaurant at Meadowood, St Helena California in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2013, he was also awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Chef: West". His culinary career started at the age of 14 catering for an annual music festival held near his native Chicago. With a brief detour as a Philosophy major, he moved to France to immerse himself in French cuisine. After which he worked under Daniel Patterson at Elizabeth Daniel and Daniel Humm at Campton Place Restaurant before accepting his first executive position at Chez TJ in Mountain View and then onto The Restaurant at Meadowood.
When we're young, we want to prove ourselves and show our talents, get in people's faces. But as you get older you just want to tell a story, & share a moment with people.
In France, you worked everywhere from a Paris bistro to the Michelin-starred Le Jardin des Sens in Provence. Where have you travelled in France and what were your inspirations while there?
|How does a philosophy degree influence a chef?
It hasn't in any practical sense. But it's helped me to think abstractly & lead my team better. And in writing my book the philosophy background has come in handy quite a bit!
I was mostly in eastern France. I came there to learn and work and gain a foundation, which I certainly did.
You are heading to the Melbourne food and Wine Festival in March. What appeals to you about Australia?
I have heard great things about the culinary scene there. It's such a rich, diverse landscape. I've never been, very curious to see what's in store.
|Where else in the world do you love to visit and why?
I've travelled to Southeast Asia before with my wife, who has family from Thailand. I've had some of the best meals of my life; the street food culture is amazing; I could go back again & again.
What are your favourite overseas restaurants and why?
I like Pujol in Mexico City, Enrique is a good friend & his cuisine is very much rooted in that culture.
What is the best meal you have ever had while travelling?
It would be hard to choose. Balaadi bread in Egypt, any of the street food in Thailand.
|What has been the most inspirational place you have visited?
I am actually constantly inspired by this place I live in, Napa Valley. I discover new things every day.
What is your definition of a 'good' meal?
Any meal where I'm surrounded by friends & family, sharing good wine or cocktails & great conversation.
Your cruise ship sinks. You're going to end up on a desert island. What three ingredients do you take from the kitchen?
Why am I on a cruise?
Where to next?
I'd love to travel to Japan in 2014. A trip solely dedicated to eating. I want to fully immerse myself in Japanese cuisine.
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