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Christopher Kostow '99 - photo courtesy of pressdemocrat.com
Christopher Kostow '99 - photo courtesy of pressdemocrat.com

Christopher Kostow '99 honored with Best New Chef 2009 by Food and Wine

Chef Chris Kostow sets his liberally-educated, philosophical background to exquisite food creations in Napa Valley, California

By Ethan Woods '09  |  Contact Sharon Rippey 315-859-4672
Posted June 17, 2009
Tags 1999
Chef Christopher Kostow '99 was recently awarded Best New Chef 2009 by Food and Wine after being appointed head chef at the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, California. This picturesque resort and restaurant is nestled in Napa Valley, a premier wine-making region and travel hotspot. The onions, carrots, radishes and herbs that grace Chris's dishes come directly from the resort's own 13,500 cubic-foot garden. As Chris notes, every dish is dynamic, a distillation and combination of natural ingredients for new, better-tasting creations. From cold-smoked toro and vadouvan roasted lamb shank, to basil ice cream with peach salad, Chef Kostow delivers a unique flavor-punch. And, of course, wine is a factor. Chris works with his sommelier daily to choose wines to both impart flavor to his dishes and accompany a meal. 

Chris's culinary journey started at the age of 14 working in kitchens at the Ravinia Festival outside his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. After working in kitchens throughout his high-school summers, he dropped his knife and cooking utensils and took up the pen and paper in Hamilton's philosophy department. A philosophy major, Chris quickly took up cooking again after graduation, working in kitchens in San Francisco and France. In a phone conversation, Chris commented that some of the chefs he worked under are the kind that kick and throw things at you, but it obviously paid off. After earning two Michelin stars for Chez TJ in Mountain View, California, his first head chef position, the offers started pouring in for Chris. He chose Meadowood for their supreme management and the fact that they already had attained a two-star Michelin rating. Looking at the resort, who could blame him for wanting to work there? Since his arrival at Meadowood, Chris has attained two additional Michelin stars. The world awaits Chef Kostow's new avant-garde creations and that third Michelin star to put him atop the world's finest.

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