Given that Yountville has some of the greatest restaurants in the country, it was fitting when the Kelleher family sought a new chef for Brix Restaurant in late 2008 that it select an iconic chef like Anne Gingrass-Paik. Having begun her career with Wolfgang Puck at Spago in LA in the 1980’s and then as executive chef at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane in SF, Chef Gingrass-Paik has perfected the art of California Cuisine which focuses on the use of fresh, local ingredients and infusing them with international flavors. From bold and innovative in LA to refinement in SF, Chef Gingrass-Paik now embraces the essence of wine country cuisine – and simplicity.
Like all great chefs, Chef Gingrass-Paik continues to evolve the menu at Brix, taking inspiration from the local ingredients and purveyors. For her, “wine country cuisine” is not so much a style but a reflection of provenance. She sources much of her produce needs from the Brix gardens, the planting of which she oversees, but also buys from local farmers’ markets. Harking back to the past, Chef has a fondness for old-fashioned and basic vegetables such as salsify, kohlrabi, rutabaga, fennel, turnips and Jerusalem artichokes. Meats and poultry are sourced locally such as the Capay Valley pheasant. She also likes beans from Rancho Gordo which she uses as purees or composed in salads. Drawing not only on her vast culinary experience but also on memories of visiting her grandmother’s home as a youth, Chef not only grows most of her produce requirements, but also cans, preserves and stores them for future use. She and her staff also bake their own breads and make most of their foods from scratch such as pasta and jams. Partly out of necessity and partly savoir faire, and fully by inspiration from the local ingredients, Chef Gingrass-Paik has adapted from being the big city chef to the “artisanal chef” inside.
Brix Restaurant, 7377 St. Helena Hwy, Yountville CA 94558. Tel (707) 944-2749.