Bringing together Wine Country’s greatest chefs and restaurants — from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon to Morimoto — BottleRock Napa Valley has set a new standard for festival food (praise be) and backstage, it’s no different. For the third straight year, Napa Italian eatery Oenotri is in charge of the festival’s artist catering, sourcing the freshest, local ingredients to help power this year’s talent, like headliners Muse, The Killers, and Bruno Mars, through their sets.
Oenotri owner Tyler Rodde said this year’s artist culinary tent will serve up a whopping 2,400 meals a day out of two festival kitchens. BottleRock performers can load up on meat from whole pigs and chickens roasted on the spit, three types of paella, slow-braised short rib, and fully-customizable, wood-fired pizzas (Rodde estimates they’ll churn out roughly 1,200 pies over the three days). Many artists opt for lighter fare before they hit the stage, so there will also be a build-your-own salad bar, steamed halibut, and a fresh-pressed juice bar. For dessert, Oenotri pastry chef Jen Archer has made upwards of 4,000 pastries, cookies, and push-pops.
Ingredients are sourced right from Oenotri’s three culinary gardens, plus local farmers’ markets and farms. “The comment I keep hearing is, ‘I’ve never had so much fresh food at a concert,’” said Rodde, adding that Snoop Dogg once called his custom, BottleRock fruit plate, “the best ever.”
But the food is the easy part. Most of Rodde’s job is far from glamorous, consisting of months of planning (they start the day after BottleRock for the next year), logistics, and a lot of over-complicated math. He needs to accurately calculate everything from power and sewage demands to how large of a dishwasher tank they’ll need; last year they underestimated the latter significantly, resulting in minor flooding. “The key to all of it is to make sure you’re super well organized and get way ahead. You don’t know what’s going to happen. With festivals, it’s similar to building restaurants, but there’s always something that could change,” said Rodde.
A self proclaimed workaholic and adrenaline junky, who even purchased the closest house to his restaurant, Rodde appears to thrive on the madness. He’s assembled a staff of 118 for the weekend, as opposed to the restaurant’s usual 55, asfor they will also be managing food for the festival’s VIP suites.
With all hands on deck, he’s closing the restaurant for six days. “I like building things; that’s my nature,” he said. “You take a piece of raw earth that has nothing, literally nothing redeeming about it. It’s next to a gate at a fairgrounds that has no power, no water, and you say, ‘Okay, let’s feed 1,000 people, three days in a row. Let’s figure out how to do this, and let’s make sure we’re bringing Napa Valley quality product to those people.’”