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News of the Food

Chef Hopping

By Heather Irwin

Where, oh where, has my favorite deconstructionist chef gone? Since the closure of Eric Torralba's Sausalito restaurant Antidote last year--apparently "Implosion of Lobster" didn't go over big in Marin--I couldn't help but wonder where the former Domaine Chandon chef had gone after his grand rate (er, flop). Aha! He's recently turned up as chef at Tra Vigne (1050 Charter Oak Ave., St. Helena, 707.963.4444). Though we hear there will likely be no blue vodka or odd green powders suddenly appearing on the Tuscan china of this favorite Napa Valley haunt, we can't help but hope for maybe just one or two implosions on the menu.

Speaking of Domaine Chandon, staff are reportedly fleeing in every direction. Most recently, chef Ron Boyd has departed, leaving his sizzlingly hot and very young sous chef Chris Manning at the helm. We've got to wonder if there are other big changes afoot, as the restaurant has burned through a handful of chefs in the last couple of years. The buzz is that the sometimes stuffy restaurant could use a dose of young blood and is thinking about attracting a less, ahem, graying clientele by making the restaurant more casual and less damaging to the pocketbook. No word yet on what changes will actually happen, but since the much-ballyhooed recent visit by Jessica Simpson and her on-the-skids flame to the Yountville winery and restaurant, younger visitors have been eagerly welcomed.

But that's not the end of the chef-hopping in Napa. Tripp Maulden, formerly of Michael Minna in San Francisco, has taken over as chef of Angele Restaurant & Bar (540 Main St., Napa, 707.252.8115) after Christophe Gerarde departed to open his own restaurant, Fifty-Five Degrees, in Sacramento.

Finally, over in Windsor, Amey Shaw is opening an artisanal and organic takeout eatery, L'Assiette, on the Windsor Town Green. A former fixture on the San Francisco scene, she's bringing back some of her adapted favorites from the Alta Plaza and Fourth St. Grill. We hope Shaw has better luck than some of the other restaurants that have quickly come and gone from the plaza.

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From the November 2-8, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© 2005 Metro Publishing Inc.

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