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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

04/30 - Cruising with Chef Dave Cruz ... and Friends.

Chef Dave Cruz (bottom right), with his "pop-up" family.
Top, from left, Simone Fung, Sebastian Mendieta, Arron Porter,
Stephen Laborde next to Dave.

From the Thomas Keller family, to "Pop-ups" to "Miles" away, Chef Dave Cruz brings us one chef's joyous journey through time.  With him are his "Pop-up" partners from s & s gastrogrub and The Trappist, a beer specialist.  Each have their own very unique and rewarding paths to entertain us.  Sit back and enjoy the global ride!

Chef Dave Cruz

A veteran of Chef Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Restaurant in Yountville, Chef Dave Cruz received his start in the culinary industry like many in the business – in college.  While studying for his Engineering degree, Cruz worked in dining rooms to supplement his living expenses, and later worked in kitchens at some of New York’s best restaurants including March Restaurant, Mas (farmhouse) and Nobu.

Under Cruz’s helm, Ad Hoc received a 3-star rating from the San Francisco Chronicle and was cited in the publication’s annual list of “Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants”. In collaboration with Keller, he co-authored “Ad Hoc at Home”, a cookbook that included the stories and favorite recipes from the restaurant. It won both James Beard and IACP awards and appeared on the New York Times Best-Seller list for 7 weeks.

Cruz is the Chef and Owner of soon-to-open Miles Restaurant. For more information about Dave Cruz, visit

s+s gastro grub is an Oakland-based catering company specializing in modern interpretations of classic comfort food, as well as mobile pig roasts, lamb roasts, custom paella, and oyster bars. Helmed by Oakland couple Simone Fung and Sebastien Mendieta, who have been wowing diners at local pop-ups, underground dinners, fundraising events and private parties since 2007. The self-taught kitchen pros did their culinary research on global explorations from her native Hong Kong and his native Nicaragua and share a live/work loft in Jingletown, an Oakland artists’ neighborhood.

Aaron Porter and Chuck Stilphen are long-time friends with a common passion for beer. Together they own and operate the The Trappist and the recently opened Trappist Provisions, specialty beer bars both located in Oakland, California. Opened in 2007, The Trappist has been consistently rated in the top 50 beer bars in world according to RateBeer, a worldwide consumer web site dedicated to craft beer and the craft beer culture.

The vision for The Trappist and Trappist Provisions extends beyond the establishments themselves. Aaron and Chuck have hosted collaborative beer dinners with highly acclaimed chefs including Dominque Crenn and Daniel Patterson. They partner with renowned artists on merchandise design, develop exclusive house-beers with renowned master brewers, and actively participate in some the best beer festivals in the world.

Steve Andrews enjoys a beer with Kristine Keefer,
the wonderful lady who brings us these and many more terrific guests!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

04/23 - Sustainability and Wine

"Sustainability" is a term that has become a household word, yet many are unsure what it means, how to support the concept or how all-encompassing it is.  Seafood that is sustainable is easy to figure - not depleting our resources for future generations and maintaining the health of our oceans. However, when it comes to wine, the term is a little less clear.  Our three guests this week will shed light on the topic from their own very active and diverse roles in the wine industry. 

Learn how you can be more supportive of the wine sustainability program and help preserve our resources, environment and health.

Wine Institute is the voice for California wine representing more than 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state.

As the largest advocacy and public policy association for California wine, and the only group representing the industry at the state, federal and international levels, the Wine Institute's Officers, Board of Directors and professional staff work to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities.

The Sustainable Winegrowing Program's mission, vision and values best describe the combination of factors that motivated the California wine community to design, develop, implement and report on a comprehensive sustainability program.


The long-term mission for the Sustainable Wine growing Program includes:

Establishing voluntary high standards of sustainable practices to be followed and maintained by the entire wine community

Enhancing winegrower-to-winegrower and vintner-to-vintner education on the importance of sustainable practices and how self-governing will enhance the economic viability and future of the wine community

Demonstrating how working closely with neighbors, communities and other stakeholders to maintain an open dialogue can address concerns, enhance mutual respect, and accelerate results


The vision of the Sustainable Wine growing Program is the long-term sustainability of the California wine community. To place the concept of sustainability into the context of wine growing, the program defines sustainable wine growing as growing and winemaking practices that are sensitive to the environment (Environmentally Sound), responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large (Socially Equitable), and are economically feasible to implement and maintain (Economically Feasible). The combination of these three principles is often referred to as the three "E's" of sustainability
These three overarching principles provide a general direction to pursue sustainability.

However, these important principles need to be translated into the everyday operations of wine growing and winemaking. To bridge this gap between general principles and daily decision-making, the Code of Sustainable Wine growing Practices workbook's 15 self-assessment chapters translate the sustainability principles into specific wine growing and winemaking practices.


This program is guided by the following set of sustainability values:

  • Produce the best quality wine grapes and wine possible
  • Provide leadership in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources
  • Maintain the long-term viability of agricultural lands
  • Support the economic and social well being of farm and winery employees
  • Respect and communicate with neighbors and community members; respond to their concerns in a considerate manner
  • Enhance local communities through job creation, supporting local business and actively working on important community
  • Honor the California wine community's entrepreneurial spirit
  • Support research and education as well as monitor and evaluate existing practices to expedite continual improvements

To view a PDF of the introductory presentation from a self-assessment workshop to learn more about the program please click here.

Gladys Horiuchi
Communications Manager
Wine Institute

Gladys Horiuchi has been Communications Manager for 17 years for the Wine Institute, the leading public policy advocacy group for California wine, representing more than 1,000 wineries at the state, federal and international levels. 

Horiuchi has more than 25 years of experience in communications for the California wine industry.  Besides the Wine Institute, she has worked as a public relations manager for Guild Wineries, a staff writer for Sebastiani Vineyards and a freelance writer for Robert Mondavi Winery, Opus One Winery, Vichon Winery, Byron Winery and Wines & Vines and Practical Winery & Vineyard magazines.  Previously, Horiuchi was in the hospital industry as a communications professional for Sequoia Hospital and Seton Medical Center.  She has a BA degree in English with a teaching credential from the University of Utah. 


Steve Smit         
Chairman, Board of Directors 
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

Steve Smit is the vice president of vineyards and grape management for Constellation Brands, one of the leading premium wine companies in the world. With over 25 years of managing vineyards, Smit now oversees over 12,000 acres of vineyards in various regions of California, as well as managing the purchase of  grapes for all their West Coast wineries, covering over 40 brands.  Smit completed his B.S. in Chemistry at UC Berkeley and then received an M.S. in Viticulture at UC Davis, where he studied the effects of canopy management on wine quality.  He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance and the American Vineyard Foundation. 

Scott Curwood
Senior Manager
Environment & Sustainability
Treasury Wine Estates

Scott Curwood is a sustainability professional with 10 years’ experience in environmental management and 18 years’ experience in safety management.

He currently oversees environment and sustainability matters in the Americas for Treasury Wine Estates and has previously worked for Mercedes Benz, Fosters Ltd, various electricity distribution companies, and has run his own consultancy business.

Scott holds a Masters in Business Administration, majoring in sustainability, as well as environmental, safety and training qualifications. He strongly believes that robust sustainability actions not only reduce risk but also help drive better business outcomes.

Originally hailing from Melbourne Australia, Scott has lived and worked in the Napa Valley for the past 5 years and enjoys wine, golf and travel.

Monday, April 15, 2013

04/16 - Food and Wine Cultures - Croatia and Italy

Slow Living Radio is delighted to welcome guests who have brought a taste of their background to the American audience.  Ivo Jeramaz, nephew of renowned winemaker Mike Grgich, who was born in Croatia, didn't realize when he first moved here the impact he would have bringing the essence of his country's winemaking to our shores.

Chef Domenico Cardano, born in Puglia, Italy continues in his passion of showcasing the roots of his region's cuisine to the world, and fellow Italian Steve Albini delights audiences around the world with his native style accordion playing.

Sit back, be inspired, entertained and spellbound by the Italian harmony of Steve's accordion and the singing Chef Domenico.

Ivo Jeramaz
Vice President of Vineyards and Production
Grgich Hills Estate

Ivo was born in Croatia to a family of grape growers, and as boy, he assisted in making wine for his family’s enjoyment. However, he didn’t plan on becoming a winemaker. Ivo earned a master’s of science degree in engineering from the University of Zagreb and dreamed of coming to California to work as an engineer.

In 1986, with the help of his uncle, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, Ivo followed his dream and came to Napa Valley. He quickly fell in love with the scenic beauty of the area and became fascinated with wine making. Ivo decided on a career change and Mike immediately put him to work washing barrels. During his almost-three decades at Grgich Hills, Ivo has worked his way up in responsibility, learning the classic style and art of winemaking from his uncle, supported by the tools of science and technology. “There’s nothing in the winery or vineyard that I haven’t done, not just for one day, but really worked at it,” he explains.

While he has taken enology and viticulture courses at University of California, Davis, Ivo says, “I’ve learned more working in the vineyards and in the winery with Mike.” Under the guidance of his uncle, Ivo is now responsible for the day-to-day operations in the cellar and the vineyard, including naturally farming Grgich Hills' 366 acres without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

“At Grgich Hills, we grow grapes like my grandfather did, farming without chemicals and pesticides,” Ivo says. “Mike taught me early in my career that you need great grapes to make great wine. Over the years, I’ve focused on working with the land. Through our natural farming, it’s been very rewarding to seeing the soil alive with healthier plants than under conventional farming. It allows the wines to be more authentic—more distinctive.”


Mike's daughter,Violet with Mike and Ivo

Chef Domenico Cardano
GranaEt Vina

Grana Et Vina comes from the Latin worlds “wheat and Wine”.  These words have the same origin as Chef Domenico’s hometown, Gravina, in the Southern Italian region of  Puglia, where the Mediterranean cuisine originated.
The culinary philosophy that Grana Et Vina proposes is based on a traditional cuisine, rich with folklore, and based on the cuisine of Domenico’s homeland - the land which gave him the love for seasonal, organic and natural ingredients passed on from  traditional methods of conservation.

Since he was young, Domenico travelled all over the Europe with a folkloristic dancing group, and wherever he was, between a polka and a tarantella, he promoted and shared his local cuisine and traditions.

The Puglia region is known for good bread, focaccia, burrata, orecchiette, cavtelli and produce from the garden, which all form the backbone of the Mediterranean cuisine.

His passion brought Domenico to many different restaurants in Northern and Southern Italy.  When he moved to the U.S.A., he first worked for Scopa Restaurant in Healdsburg with the talented chef, Ari Piretti Rosean, preparing pizza and helping with the food preparation, before branching out with his own business, bringing the fruits of his passion, with music, to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Grana Et Vina caters to private groups and restaurants, offering catering, private chef services, culinary training, including teaching how to make homemade mozzarella, ricotta and provolone cheese.

The Italian phrase "passione e fuoco," "passion and fire," truly describes the music of singer/musician Steve Albini.  His performances of Italian music fused with jazz and world rhythms have brought him international acclaim. He has enchanted audiences throughout the United States, Italy and the world with a blend of musical virtuosity and artistic passion. His live performances span Italian, world, jazz and Latin American genres.

Steve Albini is a multi-instrumentalist and singer. He has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. His southern Italian roots are strongly reflected through his music. As a studio musician Steve is often called by producers and artists to add his touch to their projects.  He is also an Artist and Clinician for Roland Corporation.  Steve is currently working together with Cirque Du Soliel accordionist Tatiana Semicahstnaya.  Their current project is the World music group Il Sole.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

04/09 - Happy 90th Mike Grgich!

Vintner Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich turns 90 years old on April 1, 2013!
Slow Living Radio celebrates the birthday of this charming and invincible gentleman with a show where he was our (most delightful) guest!  Be inspired by his life, laugh with him during his tale-telling and be entertained by his closing song!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

04/02 - A Domaine Chandon Retrospective

Domaine Chandon recently celebrated it's 40th anniversary.  To mark the occasion, its celebrated Yountvile restaurant, Etoile, held an exquisite dinner where Perry Hoffman, the current Executive Chef, crafted a menu honoring each of the past chefs, adding his own new sensibilities to pair with a range of their sparkling signature wines.  Slow Living Radio joins the celebration this week with guests spanning the past 20 years. 

Robert Curry worked as sous chef under Philippe Jeanty in much of the 90's and was coincidentally the Executive Chef in 1999 when Slow Living's Sally James featured the restaurant for an Australian publication, Wayne Donaldson, who became the winemaker the following year, came from Chandon in the Yarra Valley, Australia.  Also, coincidentally, Sally and Stephen Andrews met Wayne when in the Yarra Valley,  just before he left there to move to Yountville.  Small world indeed! 

We also welcome the outstanding and multi-celebrated young chef, Perry Hoffman who has won the restaurant a Michelin Star, a rising star chef award and many other accolades. And finally the current winemaker, Tom Tiburzi will bring us up to date on what's new at Napa Valley's Domaine Chandon.

What is your favorite Sparkling wine and food pairing?
P.H.  Sparkling and anything Asian.

W.D.   It sounds trite but I love sparkling wine and oysters. I love the oysters from Judd Cove (Orcas Island, WA).

R.C.   Onion rings. The real thin and crispy ones. There's something magical about onion rings and bubbles.

T.T   Etoile brut and seared scallops or etoile rose and paella

What did you love the most about working at Domaine Chandon?

P.H.  It’s amazing to work here on such an estate. We have freedom to have a thriving garden and forage from the Domaine Chandon property -  it just makes it feel such a connection to the property and what ends up on the plate throughout the seasons.

W.D.   Other than creating the wines, the opportunity to travel within the Chandon network was amazing.
R.C.  Besides the spectacular beauty of its location? The team I worked with, our guests and my own personal/professional growth. Oh, and I love sparkling wine.

T.T.  First the opportunity to keep my career growing. Second, the opportunity to travel


What is your favorite Napa Valley relaxed day out?

P.H.  A good sunny day of fishing on the Napa River on my boat along with a Fatted Calf sandwich for lunch.

W.D.   Hiking out to Table Rock in the Palisades near Calistoga.
R.C.  A nice hike with my dog. Then come home, grill something delicious for dinner and dine with my family outside in our back yard.

T.T.  To visit one or two wineries, have good bread and cheese for the drive around, then finish the day at one of the great Napa Valley restaurants.
What's your favorite weekend getaway?

P.H.  Tomales Bay, Cabins at Nicks Cove, a hike down to Shell Beach near Inverness.

W.D.   We are blessed with so many opportunities. Check out Shelter Cove in Humboldt County for a romantic getaway.

R.C.  Honestly, I just like to go to the city - head to San Francisco and eat some great food, maybe see a ball game or go for some live music.

T.T.  Seattle
Champagne, France
Favorite International wine growing region?

P.H.  Champagne, Epernay is just amazing. I spent two weeks working with the Chef from Dom Perignon last year. Just incredible history and heritage.

W.D   South Africa or the Alta Adige region in NE Italy
R.C.   Champagne/ Burgundy-It's a toss up
T.T   Champagne, specifically to stay in Epernay!


Perry Hoffman
Chef étoile Restaurant
A Napa Valley native, Perry Hoffman literally grew up in fine dining wine country kitchens, as his grandparents, Sally and Don Schmitt were the original owners of The French Laundry in Yountville. He first became interested in cooking by helping his grandmother in the kitchen, assisting her with tasks such as making croutons, roasting bell peppers and chopping parsley.
He took his first formal restaurant job working as a pantry chef at his neighborhood restaurant at age 15. Three years later, he moved to Anderson Valley to work as a sous chef at the Boonville Hotel, where he learned to cook seasonally, sourcing produce from the restaurant’s vegetable garden. From there, Hoffman became sous chef at Santé Restaurant at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, where he remained until getting courted by Chef Robert Curry at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford in 2005. During his two years at Auberge, Hoffman helped the restaurant achieve its first Michelin star rating.
After joining the culinary team at étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon in 2007, Hoffman was quickly appointed Chef. There he captured critical attention in 2010, as the youngest American chef to be awarded a Michelin Star at age 25. Since then, étoile has maintained one Michelin Star for three consecutive years, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Hoffman was also named a “Rising Star Chef” by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2010, and was a James Beard Foundation Semifinalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year” in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Hoffman was named one of Zagat’s “30 under 30,” and also received recognition from Food & Wine, as he was voted “The People’s Best New Chef: California.”

At étoile, Hoffman enjoys creating fresh, seasonally-changing dishes, drawing on the restaurant’s extensive gardens, located throughout the property’s 300-acre estate, which Hoffman describes as a “foragers dream of wild ingredients.” By drawing upon locally-grown resources to create étoile’s menu, “nature tells us what to cook,” he adds. In crafting his dishes, Hoffman also pays special attention to wine pairings, yielding dishes that are balanced and harmonious. étoile’s unique position within a winery allows for daily interaction with Domaine Chandon’s winemaking team, resulting in truly innovative, wine-inspired cuisine.
Hoffman lives in Napa, Calif. Combining his passion for food with his love of the outdoors, when he is away from the kitchen he enjoys fishing and gardening.

Robert Curry
Executive Chef, Auberge du Soleil

 Curry brings to the Auberge a passion for Wine Country cuisine cultivated at award-winning restaurants in the Valley, on both coasts and in Europe.  Prior to joining Auberge du Soleil in spring of 2005, he served as Executive Chef at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif.  There, his menus showcased ingredients harvested daily from Greystone’s own organic garden and the bounty of local farmers and purveyors.  Prior to that, he launched the Flying Fish Café, the fine-dining seafood restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.  Curry made a name for himself early on among Northern California food lovers during his eight years at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, Calif., first serving as Executive Sous Chef under Philippe Jeanty and ultimately succeeding him as Executive Chef.

A native of Los Angeles, Curry began his culinary career there in 1986 at Ma Cuisine, Wolfgang Puck and Patrick Terrail’s cooking school, during which time he received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.  Following graduation, he was recruited by Michael Richard and Alain Giraud for Citrus Restaurant.  In the late ‘90s, he traveled the world to study cuisine, working with Alain Ducasse at his three-star Louis XV in the Hotel de Paris; with Joseph Thuet at the Moët & Chandon Résidence de Trianon in Epernay, France; and in Paris at the two-star Michel Rostang.
Tom Tiburzi
Winemaker, Sparkling Wine

Tom's love affair with wine began long before coming to Chandon. The son of an Italian immigrant chef and retail wine-and-spirits merchant, food and wine are in his blood. Tom worked in the family stores since early childhood, and along with family and friends, made wine at home using a shared press in the garage. After earning a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and an early foray into microbiology, Tom reconnected with the family's passion and parlayed his scientific training into a professional winemaking career. He's now spent the last 21 years mastering the art of sparkling winemaking at Chandon. His expertise in the science of sparkling winemaking along with his creative blending skills have played a key role in the creation of Chandon's diverse sparkling-wine cuvées. Currently, Tom continues to demonstrate his exceptional talents as he oversees Domaine Chandon's sparkling program, carrying on a tradition of crafting the finest and broadest range of sparkling-wine styles in America.
Wayne Donaldson
Wayne Donaldson has been a leader in the international wine industry for 27 years. His career began in his homeland of Australia where he earned an enology degree from the prestigious Roseworthy Agricultural College. Following graduation from college, Wayne began his career working as assistant winemaker at high-end table wine producer Brokenwood Wines. In 1988, while earning his Graduate Diploma in Management from Deakin University in Victoria, he became a founding member of the Domaine Chandon Australia winemaking team. Over the next eleven years, he rose to Chief Winemaker and Operations Manager, creating both a sparkling wine and still wine portfolio, which garnered numerous domestic and international awards including “Best Sparkling Wine of the Year” at the 1998 International Wine Challenge held in London.
In 2000 he was promoted to vice-president of winemaking and vineyards for Domaine Chandon California, and parent company, Moet Hennessy USA. This new position, headquartered in Napa Valley, broadened his role to direct all of the company’s sparkling and still wine programs. It also afforded him the opportunity to elevate the quality and prestige of the American sparkling wine brand, with success evidenced by two consecutive years of double-digit growth and doubled profits. During five years in the position he also led the development and launch of the winery’s first varietal still wine program, designed several new sparkling wine styles, planted new vineyards, and reconfigured the winery and winemaking program for higher quality at lower overhead. In 2003 Newton Vineyards was acquired by Moet Hennessy. Wayne joined the board of Directors for Newton Vineyards advising on the strategic development of Newton’s Spring Mountain vineyard and winery facility.

Chandon, Yarra Valley, Australia

After five years at Domaine Chandon, in 2005 Wayne seized the opportunity to become director of north coast winemaking for E&J Gallo Winery, the largest privately owned wine group in the United States. Responsible for all Bordeaux varietal brands, all Pinot Noir brands, the William Hill Winery brand and the Louis Martini brand, Wayne oversaw all elements of the business, including wine style development, wine quality, grape supply, portfolio communication and budget control. By 2008 he was promoted to senior director of coastal winemaking, which held Wayne responsible for all wine grape varietals across all of Gallo’s premium portfolio brands; the winemaking facilities in Napa County, Sonoma County, and Santa Barbara County. During that time, Wayne was responsible for the winemaking, wine style development, and launch of three new successful wine brands: Starborough, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: Ghost Pines, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay from Napa and Sonoma: and Red Rock, a Merlot and Malbec from California.
With experience in many of the world’s finest wine growing regions including Champagne, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and California and knowledge of all aspects of he wine business, Wayne decided to expand his repertoire to launch his own winery consulting business. When he’s not making wine, Wayne enjoys cooking and mountain biking the rugged mountain trails of Napa Valley.