February 10, 2012 |
My Blog Category |
Chef Michael Chiarello Meets Armanino Family Cellars
We are a family that loves to cook. It is a part of our heritage and something we enjoy doing together. Growing up with a mother that was a chef and restaurateur, we had no choice but to take an interest in cooking. This love of food and cooking has been passed down to our children who love watching the Food Network. Their recent show, “The Next Iron Chef” was more popular than “Survivor” in our household. My 10 year-old son, Justin, took a particular interest in the show and Michael Chiarello in particular. Every week Justin would be amazed by what Chef Chiarello created and it was in those moments that Michael became Justin’s hero. After a failed attempt to catch a glimpse of Michael at his Napa Valley restaurant, Bottega, Justin decided he would email Chef Chiarello and ask him if he could come and visit him sometime. We told Justin not to set his expectations too high because Chef Chiarello is a very busy man. We were all impressed and surprised when Justin received an email back from Chef Chiarello inviting him to Bottega for a tour of the kitchen.
Two weeks ago, our family headed to Napa to check on our wines in barrel followed by a fabulous lunch at Bottega. Not only did Chef Chiarello visit our table and sign Justin’s chef’s jacket, but he whisked the boys back to the kitchen for 35 minutes of cooking gnocchi, tasting some new additions to the menu (including tongue) and then had them make their own desserts (ricotta doughnuts, tiramisu in a jar and panna cotta). It was like a dream come true for Justin and Nicholas. While the boys were busy in the kitchen, Alexa and I enjoyed Michael’s 2009 Chiarello Bambino Cabernet Sauvignon, which paired nicely with our Lamb and Eggs and Rabbit Ragu. In return we shared with Michael our Armanino Family Cellar’s 2010 Whitewing Pinot Noir and 2009 Hunter Cabernet Sauvignon (which are both tasting fantastic). Great food, great wine, great fun… once again reminding me what it’s all about for us at Armanino Family Cellars!