July 5, 2011

July 5, 2011
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Victor Scargle and Bardessono’s executive sous Norma Whitt; photo from Bardessono’s Facebook page.

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Fish Story’s new Kiwi chef Clint Davies; photo from Fish Story website.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

Lots of action these days in the kitchens of wine country … and plenty of chef changes too.

In Guerneville, executive chef Bruce Frieseke has left the ~RESTAURANT AT APPLEWOOD INN~ to join Bella Vineyards’ culinary program. He’s betting the new daytime gig will give him a better chance at spending time with his wife and son, and I’m betting he’s right.

Two of his former sous chefs are stepping up to the top toque at Applewood Inn: Mendocino native Tyja Taube, who co-runs a small farm in Santa Rosa and will be incorporating some of its organic produce into the restaurant’s menu; and Michelle “Shelley” Cermeant, an anthropology major who studied the usage of plants and history of food. (Way to work the system, Shelley!) I’m hoping she breaks out Apicius and does some historical dishes for us sometime.

Over in the Napa Valley, Victor Scargle is back in the kitchen after a professorial stint at the Culinary Institute of America, and hurrah, he’s taking over the gorgeous ~BARDESSONO~ restaurant in Yountville. Scargle was formerly at Go Fish and the now closed Julia’s Kitchen before taking his teaching gig at the CIA.

You may recall that Bardessono’s former chef Sean O’Toole left last November to work with Michael Tusk at Quince and Cotogna, but apparently O’Toole is back in Y-ville as executive chef of ~HOPPER CREEK KITCHEN~ in the Hotel Yountville. Since Hopper Creek Kitchen only serves until noon, and only to hotel guests (see our prior coverage), I’m thinking this is another quality of life switch.

Last but not least, ~FISH STORY~’s opening chef Stephen Barber is leaving to take over the kitchen at ~FARMSTEAD~ in St. Helena after Sheamus Feeley’s return to Hillstone Restaurant Group at the end of this month. Barber’s Southern background should be a great fit for the down home vibe that’s been rocking over there, but I’m still going to miss Sheamus’ awesome little grin.

New Zealand native Clint Davies is taking Barber’s place at Fish Story starting July 9th, and will be tweaking the menu for summer with his own globally influenced style. Davies was most recently the sous chef at One Market in SF, but previously worked in some outstanding restaurants in Australia, Europe, and Japan.

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