Why did you accept the invitation to participate in the 2015 Twelve Days of Christmas charity event at The Restaurant at Meadowood?
The 12 Days Dinner is one of the most exciting and anticipated guest chef events of the year.It was an honor to be asked to participate,particularlysince we are not open yet.Christopher and I have been friends for many years and it’s a pleasure to be able to cook together.
What are you most looking forward to about the Twelve Days of Christmas event at The Restaurant at Meadowood?
Sharing a bit of what we will be doing at Single Thread with the guests and our friends at Meadowood. Lookforwardto cooking with Christopher and such a talented team.
Can you tell us a bit about what you will be doing on your evening- any hints at what might be served to guests?
We will be using produce from our own farm and also we are going diving for live sea urchins the day of the dinner. We dive from kayaks on the Sonoma coast and serving a course with the urchins we dive for. We are also cooking some of the courses using Japanese earthenware called donabe
Where did you get your inspiration for the menu you will serve?
Mainly from what is in season from our farm. Dungeness crab will just have come into season, diving for urchins, wild salmon, and black cod from the Sonoma Coast. Our inspiration really starts with the best product we have in the season.
Describe your culinary style…
Our cuisine is really driven by our farm.Katina runs the farm and we base our menu and the cuisine around what she’s growing that is in peak season.Our cooking uses precision temperature and amodernistapproach as much as it uses traditional cooking such as Japanese earthenware and an open hearth.
What are your most indispensable ingredients?
Too many to name but the mostindispensableingredients are those coming from our own farm.We can watch the exact flavor and ripeningwe are looking for and pick each piece when it’s ready.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t know how guilty we feel about it but we are always trying to find the best fried fish taco,
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
Wow, too many to list.. have had the pleasure to cook with great chefs for the past 22 years. Cooking in Japan in the traditional cuisine restaurants has been my greatest pleasure and still continue to go a few times a year to cook in some of my favorite kitchens.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
I think it takesyoungchef awhile to become patient with theprocess. We get so wrapped up in getting to the next step or level with our skills that sometimes we forget to just be patient with the process.Constantly taking yourself out of your comfort zone constantly helps to reinforce it but it takes time to learnpatienceand humility.
What’s next for you?
Opening the new farm, restaurant, and inn is something we are in the middle of now.It’s something new and something we’ll be working on getting better and better at for many years to come.
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
I’m eating at Jimbocho Den in Tokyo next week…have been looking forward to it for quite a while.
Find out more about Chef Connaughton and the ‘Twelve days of Christmas’event at Restaurant Meadowood