NapaValley is not just about wine, it’s about a lifestyle, and no one captures it better than long-time St. Helena resident Michael Chiarello. Through his popular television programs, award-winning cookbooks, restaurants, artisanal products and personal appearances, Chiarello brings the best of wine country living to the world. In his latest venture, the NapaStyle Culinary Program, Chiarello invites locals and visitors alike to discover our vibrant food and wine culture, this time, through the lens of local chefs, cookbook authors, artisanal producers and vintners, all of whom are passionate about what they do.
The program, which takes place every Friday at 4:00 p.m.at NapaStyle in Yountville, lasts for one to two hours in relaxed, café-style ambiance beginning with a glass of wine. The impressive demonstration kitchen was designed specifically for classes, according to Program Director Claudia Sansone, and fits seamlessly within the venue.
Chiarello, who dropped in for last Friday’s class with Bardessono & Lucy Restaurant Executive Chef Victor Scargle, said he was greatly influenced early on by the late Robert Mondavi whose philosophy was to make Napa Valley accessible to everyone. Chiarello continues this tradition by creating food and wine classes that are at once casual, interactive, relatively inexpensive and very informative.
What separates these classes from other food and wine programs in the Valley is the range of topics and perspectives offered. The program features highly-regarded, authoritative food professionals who teach everything from cooking technique, flavorful nutrition (March 23rd), cheeses (Redwood Hill Farm March 30th) and culinary gardening from seed (Jacobsen Orchards April 6th).
Friday’s demonstration with Chef Scargle was exemplary of the NapaStyle program and of Scargle’s own seasonal and flavorful cooking with hyper-local ingredients – straight from Bardessono’s own CCOF certified organic gardens. The Tai Snapper dish was driven by the garden first: vegetables ‘a la grecque’ with baby fennel and artichokes, orange cheddar cauliflower, lime green romanesco, multi-colored carrots, all confited in olive oil and finished with fresh herbs and aged Banyuls vinegar to provide vibrant flavor and contrast to the simply prepared Snapper.
The program includes instruction, written recipes, generous samples and a glass of wine which can be local or Italian. On this night, we has an excellent, minerally white 2008 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from Bucci.
The NapaStyle Culinary Program is the perfect compliment to any Napa Valley itinerary, a pre-dinner treat or simply an introduction to Napa Valley style, ChiarelloStyle.
For more details and a list of upcoming classes, check out the website www.napastyle.com/culinary or call the Yountville store (866) 776-6272. Prices vary according to program, recently ranging $25-$40 per person.
For information of Chef Scargle’s garden-to-table philosophy, visit the website at www.bardessono.com or call the restaurant at (707) 204-6030.