Wine Country Personality: February 2012 Archives

Steven Snook, Executive Chef

wcPersonality_KenwoodSpa_snook1.jpgAfter six years in the Michelin Star-rated kitchens of the esteemed, charismatic and outspoken British chef Gordon Ramsay, Steven Snook has traded in the big city, pressure cooker life working in such critically acclaimed, high profile restaurants for the Executive Chef position at the much slower-paced, award-winning, guests-only Restaurant at the Kenwood Inn and Spa. Opened in 1989 as a luxury hideaway in Sonoma's Valley of the Moon, the Kenwood Inn and Spa offers 29 Mediterranean-styled guest rooms flanked by courtyards, three saline pools, and vineyard views. The Spa at Kenwood features cutting edge, results-oriented skincare treatments and body treatments utilizing vinotherapy -engaging the exceptional rejuvenating and protective powers of the grape. 

What Chef Snook brings with him from those priceless years under such a talented and exacting chef is expertly sharpened culinary chops, exceedingly high standards and a profound respect and connection to the bounty provided by local artisan food growers and producers.

During his tenure as Sous Chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, both in London, Chef Snook stood out to Chef Ramsay's team for his impeccable standards and discriminating palate, which allowed him some very interesting experiences not afforded to most chefs. Personality - Perry Hoffman, étoile

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personality_Chandon_PerryHoffman1.jpgThough he literally grew up in fine-dining kitchens (his grandparents Sally and Don Schmitt, were the original owners of The French Laundry in Yountville, which was later made famous by current owner Thomas Keller), Chef Perry Hoffman, still chooses a hamburger as one of his favorite meals. Although what he describes certainly isn't a typical fast-food burger: an 8oz rare hamburger with prosciutto di Parma, forme d'ambert, and tarragon aioli, with a brioche bun. Moreover, he would pair it with a glass of Shafer Cabernet - a true indication he grew up in wine country.

A Napa Valley-native, Hoffman first became interested in cooking by helping his grandmother in the kitchen at The French Laundry making croutons, roasting bell peppers and chopping parsley. After taking his first formal restaurant job in a local restaurant working as a pastry chef at age 15, Hoffman learned quickly that working in professional kitchens wasn't always glamorous. He recalls an embarrassing moment his first day on the job, when he literally passed out as a result of being sick and dehydrated.