Manager, Coqueta, San Francisco
Dave Eselgroth likes being surrounded by like-minded people with a tremendous passion for food, beverage and service. His culinary experience showcases that fact.
After graduating from the University of Nevada (Las Vegas) and Indiana university (Pennsylvania) with a concentration in restaurant management and minors in both architecture and political science, he began his career at merge & district in New York city as service manager and lead bartender.
He participated in all developments with the opening of Sam DeMarco’s new restaurants, which led him to the role of general manager of first, chef Sam DeMarco’s original restaurant, featuring new American cuisine in New York city.
While at first, Dave was in charge of the creation and implementation of several successful weekly, monthly and quarterly events — including cigar dinners, wine and beer tastings and promotional nights and brunches.
also while at first, he had a cocktail recipe published in cocktails in New York – a book about hip trendsetting bars in the city.
In 2003, Dave began his role as beverage manager, service director and assistant general manager at Amuse, a contemporary American bistro located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York city.
More recently, he consulted to the millennium Broadway hotel and Movida nightclub before serving as the assistant sommelier and captain at Charlie palmer’s flagship restaurant, aureole.
In 2007, Dave became second in command at Dante Boccuzzi’s restaurant Dante in valley view, Ohio. He serves not only as Dante’s right-hand man, but also as director of operations and sommelier. Respected fine dining magazine food & wine named his wine list one if the best new wine lists of 2008.
|Photo - Andy Berry|
An Irishman in Napa
For such a small country, Ireland has penetrated the world like no other country. It seems that countless people around the globe boast they have a little Irish in them, whether as an excuse to party extra hard on St Patrick’s Day, or because it’s actually true.
One Irishman who clings strongly to his roots, though now an American citizen, and owner of a fabulous wine cellar in Yountville, Napa Valley, is Scott Lewis. Born in Limerick, to a chef father who once graced the kitchens of Ashford Castle, Scott lived and breathed Irish hospitality.
As a young boy Scott remembers squeezing fresh orange juice at his Dad’s hotel in Limerick, then gradually working his way through all aspects of the hotel – dish washer, busser, bellman, and porter. Soon hotel life was pulsing through his veins, and it became inevitable that he would go on to train as a chef.
After graduating Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Galway, Ireland; Scott began an illustrious career in some of Europe’s finest hotels, such as the Dorchester, Lanesborough and Grosvenor in London, while continuing to further his hospitality studies at Ealing, in London, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
As fortune would have it, Scott was the winner in a Green Card lottery to the US 25 years ago. And the rest is history.
He first landed in Texas at the Crescent Court, and The Mansion on Turtle Creek, before going on to the Arizona Biltmore, several more 5 star properties and finally ending in Yountville at Villagio Inn and Spa in Yountville as Director of Food and Beverage.
Ready for a different pace of life, and loving his new home, the time came when Scott decided that he had done all he wanted in the hotel world and was ready to start his own business where his passions lay – the world of wine. He has since created one of the Napa Valley’s finest wine stores and bars, the V Wine Cellar, voted “2012 Best Wine Shop” in Napa Valley by Best of Napa Sonoma Valley and 7 X 7 Magazine.
V Wine Cellar (www.vwinecellar.com) boasts a lounge, tasting space, private dining, and outdoor patio, and is known as one of the Valley’s leading venues for exclusive wine tasting events and blending seminars, with more than 2,000 varietals of wine and beers that are shipped to clients worldwide. Scott also travels the globe setting up wine cellars for discerning buyers and somehow finds extra time to make his own label, Pneu, in partnership with Gary and Cheryl Van Brunt.
And what does this Irishman in Napa like to drink? Scott’s wine of choice is Pinot Noir, his favorite being his own Pneu, and also Paradigm. For white, he lovesthe Teeter Totter Chardonnay.
Mark Dommen is a unique talent who has spent more than 20 years in the kitchen. After years of classical training with some of the world’s most eminent culinary masters, Dommen’s move to head One Market Restaurant in 2004 marked his exciting return to the San Francisco dining scene. His modern take on American cuisine earned the restaurant a Michelin star in 2008-2012 and a 3 ½ star review from critic Michael Bauer. Dommen was also named a 2007 StarChefs.com “Rising Star” and the restaurant has held a consistent presence on the “Top 100” restaurant list.
Dommen’s contemporary, seasonal American fare developed through his work in some of the world’s most distinguished restaurants. His career began at Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, where Chef Hubert Keller became Dommen’s mentor in the art of contemporary French cuisine. Dommen later spent four years in New York, honing his craft with one of his largest influences, Gray Kunz at Lespinasse and also with David Burke at Park Avenue Café. By the time he opened Palladin as Sous Chef for the legendary Chef Jean-Louis Palladin, his immersion in the art of French cuisine was well advanced. Dommen was next invited to join Julia’s Kitchen in Napa Valley as the opening Executive Chef. While he was at the helm, the restaurant was named one of magazine’s “Best New Restaurants.”
Dommen describes his approach to cooking as “blending the freshest, seasonal ingredients from California, while using the classic French techniques I have honed from my previous experiences.” His seasonally changing menu includes inventive farm-fresh dishes such aswith potato rösti, organic chicken egg and pancetta vinaigrette; with green apple water and jalapeño sorbet; and with dandelion “persillade,” salsify and natural jus
“I truly enjoy experimenting with the freshest of produce, seafood and meats to create entirely new and unexpected dishes,” says Dommen. “I make a point each day to ensure that the menu is a reflection of the finest raw materials prepared in a unique, delicious and artistic way.”
’Some of Dommen’s favorite dishes to make when not in the kitchen at One Market Restaurant include pizza and barbequed beer-can chicken cooked over apple wood chips. He lives in Napa with his wife and two daughters and enjoys skiing, golf and fishing in his spare time.