If Medowood is first and foremost a luxury hotel complex with tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool and spa, and everything a wealthy vacation-goer desires, it is for its restaurant that we left San Francisco and made our way to the Nappa Valley. Since 2008, Christopher Kostow, 36, is at the helm of this three-starred temple of gastronomy simply named “The restaurant at Medowood”. A question comes to mind as soon as we cross the barrier that separates Medowood from the rest of the world: Can you truly create whatever kind of cuisine you want in such a setting? The chef, of a disconcerting simplicity, answers us with a franc and solid nod, and adds, “We don’t forbid ourselves anything.” As opposed to many chefs, Christopher Kostow sees himself staying at Medowood for a while. “The work of a chef takes a lifetime, it’s understanding a terroir, its produce, its suppliers. If you move around all the time from east to west, open 45 restaurants a year, you loose track of the initial essence of the business.” All the conditions needed to keep a chef happy are present: two gardens, warm weather all year-round, and an idyllic setting for those trying to escape the flat and dismal day-to-day. When you take a seat at “Medowood”, you slip right into this delightful bubble: the view gives out onto a golf course where the grass is definitely greener than anywhere else and the sun has come to set just for you. Absolute tranquility. Medowood’s greatest quality lies in the fact that it did not succumb to the usual frills of a restaurant of its stature. Christopher Kostow has made it into a place in tune with the times, where the vegetable maliciously steals the leading role from the meat, where the ingredient expresses itself without bluffing, where the space is not overflowing with white lace but rather becomes the vessel of a cuisine that is immaculate, and whole. We think back to the prawns wrapped in a hemerocallis flower a dipped in trout eggs, a sensuous dish that will remain engraved in our memories forever, and, not in any particular order, the abalones escorted by buckwheat and smoked pepper, the potato, cooked in beeswax and sorrel and the baby pigeon tea, the smoked jus without an ounce of fat, pure, followed by the baby pigeon, pot pourri, wild berries and radish. On that day in Medowood, we fell in love with a cuisine full of grace, transparent and exact. en vidéo:

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