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Monday, December 9, 2013

12/09 - Thomas Keller's Bouchon - Behind the Scenes

Slow Living Radio congratulates Bouchon Bistro Yountville on its 15th anniversary and upcoming famed Perigord menu!  We welcome Chef de Cuisine Michael Sandoval, and Head Sommelier, Gina Schober, to give us a taste of the essence behind the magic and "finesse" of the Parisian-style bistro that draws a nightly crowd of cult local followers and eager visitors.

Bouchon Bistro ~ Yountville

Highly acclaimed chef Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry) is behind this beautiful Yountville restaurant. Enjoy excellent French bistro cuisine in a dining room offering wonderful Parisian ambiance.

Bouchon offers traditional French bistro fare with a menu that showcases the best products available each day. Bouchon also features a raw bar with select oysters on the half shell and many other Fruits de Mer. Seasonal offerings change throughout the year and are complemented by Vin de Carafe, a unique wine program that brings recognition to local wine producers.

The Bistro gives their chefs a place to enjoy and share their favorite dishes. The Bouchon team is united by a common love of food and a desire to let guests experience the ambiance and energy of the bistros they've enjoyed throughout France.

Michael Sandoval
Chef de Cuisine

Chef de Cuisine Michael Sandoval leads the kitchen at Chef Thomas Keller's award-winning bistro Bouchon in California's Napa Valley. Sandoval first joined the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in 2003 as an opening Chef de Partie at Keller's second Bouchon restaurant located in the Venezia Tower of the Venetian Casino, Hotel & Resort.

After two years of demonstrating his tireless work ethic and humble demeanor, Sandoval was promoted to Sous Chef at Bouchon in Las Vegas. In 2009 Sandoval relocated to Yountville, CA to become Executive Sous Chef for Bouchon and was in turn promoted to Chef de Cuisine in 2011. Sandoval continues the tradition of excellence at Bouchon with its seasonally-changing, classic bistro menu and program of special dinners throughout the year celebrating the diverse regional cuisines of France.

Gina Schober
Head Sommelier

Gina Schober is the Head Sommelier at Bouchon in Yountville, California, where she now manages the wine and spirits program after having joined the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in 2012 as the Assistant Sommelier at Bouchon.  

Overseeing the “Vin en Carafe” program, Gina showcases local vintners and winery owners producing single barrel, exclusive wines of distinctive varietals found in Napa Valley.  She plays an integral role in the restaurant’s French-traditional regional wine dinner series, as well as specialty Périgord, beer, and spirits dinners.  Gina also directs the wine education program for the staff, which is a continuous process due to the size and depth of Bouchon’s wine program.

Prior to joining The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Gina held several positions within Bacchus Management restaurant group, beginning in 2007 as Floor and Beverage Manager at Pizza Antica in Lafayette and San Jose, Calif.

Most recently Gina served as Head Sommelier at Café des Amis, which received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator under her leadership. Gina has achieved Introductory and Certified Sommelier Certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as the Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

She graduated from the University of California – Davis with a Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Communications and Italian, after having studied abroad in Italy at L’Universitá di Trento.

Christmas Ideas from Thomas Keller and Bouchon
This year is the launch of Bouchon’s holiday gifts exclusively available at Finesse, The Store and online at  We particularly love Chef Keller’s Chocolate Tart Gift Set, as it contains the same recipe served at the Bistro, packaged perfectly with everything you need to enjoy and serve it at home this holiday season.  The specific product link can be found at

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