There's a sweet piece on Christopher Kostow in the Culture section of the December 10th issue of TIME magazine. The article is pay-walled online, so a key fact must be passed on: Kostow "is in talks to open a casual restaurant near Meadowood and has designs on a barbecue spot nearby." On the phone minutes ago, Kostow elaborated a bit, saying the concepts will be in Napa, local through-and-through, and an "extension of the ideas we're working on at Meadowood." That's about all he's ready to reveal at the moment, but do take time for more fun pullquotes from the piece below, including Michael Mina and Thomas Keller on Kostow, thoughts on the Meadowood community, and more.
On catering Meadowood's customized prix-fixe meals for each guest: "If they ate at the Laundry for lunch, I'll lighten it up...And I'll serve them different stuff than what's going out to tables nearby, to create a sense of'--he makes popping motions with his hands--'lively excitement.'"
On the career of a chef: "The first part of a chef's career is supernomadic...From a creative point of view, once you say, 'I'm going to cook from this place, I'm going to be as Napa-y as I can possibly be,' only then do we really become good."
On building an empire: "Kostow intends to build a food destination around himself in St. Helena—just as Keller did down the road in Yountville 20 years ago, going from one three-star restaurant to an upscale empire of eateries, cookbooks and community engagement. However localized and personalized Kostow's food may be, his ambitions are anything but small."
Michael Mina on Kostow: "I can't think of too many people who have done what he's done so early."
Thomas Keller's comments: "Chris is someone who exemplifies the progression of American cuisine, who has great skills, a wonderful knowledge of what he's doing and who he is."
Kostow, on where big chef's get lost: "If you don't have a relationship with that lowest guy, you're f---ed...That cook only knows of them through their media, the books and the TV. They don't really know the guy."
From his executive sous-chef Kim Floresca: "I've never worked at a restaurant where the chef takes everyone aside and asks, 'How are you doing?'"
On Napa Valley's reputation: "Kostow is impatient to transform the perception of the valley from elitist enclave to vibrant artisan haven cum locavore utopia: a city on a hill where Kostow is mayor and magistrate."
Closing tear-jerker about a young couple eating the $500 tasting menu: "Upon taking a bite, the woman burst into tears. 'It's just so beautiful,' she said...Kostow glanced at her plate, took the sauce from the cook who had served them, approached the chef's counter and spooned more onto their lamb. 'He was too stingy with this,' he explained, before high-fiving the crying woman and returning to his post."