For the first time, Calistoga Ranch, Solage, and Auberge du Soleil have partnered with Food & Wine Magazine to create ” Best New Chef’s Reunion Weekend.” This event is a first-of-its-kind epicurean event filled with mouthwatering cuisine and incredible wine from the best chefs and vintners in the California region. I was fortunate to be one of the first people to enjoy this unparalleled epicurean experience in Calistoga.
My time at the Best New Chef’s Reunion Weekend started with checking in at the beautiful Calistoga Ranch property. Calistoga Ranch is a spectacular resort rooted in nature. It is tucked away in a private 157-acre canyon ideally located between St. Helena and Calistoga.
At check-in, I was warmly greeted with a crisp glass of local Chardonnay and taken to my well-appointed private cottage. My cottage came outfitted with an outdoor shower, a soaking tub, a private hot tub, a private living room, and a double fireplace. The rooms are modern and filled with everything you could need. I gladly freshened up under the outdoor shower before heading out to my first event.
The first event of the day, Chef Demonstration lunch, was held at Solage, just a short 10-minute drive from Calistoga Ranch. At this event, we had a cooking demonstration with Chef Ravi Kapu of Liholiho. Chef Ravi showed us how to create a salad made with seasonal ingredients, including squash, Brussel sprouts with an Asian inspired pesto. Participants were able to ask questions and get feedback from the chef during this intimate event.
After the lunch I retreated back to Calistoga Ranch for a little R&R starting with a soak in my private hot tub accompanied by a glass of complimentary wine and cheeseboard from in room dining. After some R&R I explored the property via the golf carts, which come with drivers and are available 24 hours a day. I went to the resort hosted wine and cheese hour where I was able to meet and chat with other hotel guests.
I had a lovely dinner at the resort’s private restaurant, The Lakehouse. It’s a wonderful restaurant overlooking the oak grove and the lake. This is a great option without having to leave the property.
After a good night’s sleep, I was ready for the second day of festival activities. I borrowed one of the Mercedes Benz house cars for the morning to explore Calistoga before heading out for a luncheon at Solage. Maria Sinskey collaborated with Chef Gustavo Rios, executive chef at Solbar. We started the lunch in the garden with beautiful table settings and amazing passed hors d’oeuvres. Maria was a great host and had the guests laughing and celebrating the fantastic lunch. The lunch consisted of unique seasonal dishes paired with Robert Sinskey wines. Guests were sent home with home-made apple cakes and coffee.
Before heading to the final event of the weekend I enjoyed time in the main sun-drenched pool at Calistoga Ranch. The last event, dinner at the newly renovated Louis Martini Winery. This was an elegant dinner hosted by Michelin starred chef Daniel Patterson of Coi restaurant. It was a pleasure to share the table with accomplished winemakers, chefs, and culinary experts, and foodies come together in one breathtaking setting. Some of the dishes presented were glazed veal sweetbreads, braised lamb with truffles, wild mushroom porridge, and a delectable curry and peanut butter dessert as a sweet ending to the wonderful weekend.
This was a great event that I recommend to all. If you are planning on attending next year I suggest you stay at Solage of Calistoga Ranch for easy access to all of the festivities.
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