Manresa: David Kinch
I met this spectacular Chef at the NYC Wine and Food Festival 2013
Last week, as part of New York City Wine and Food Festival 2013, I had the rare pleasure of attending an intimate dinner hosted by Chef David Kinch. He is the Proprieter-Chef of Manresa, a restaurant in Los Gatos, California, and one of the most talked about chefs in the world. I have to admit, I pinched myself all evening-long just to make sure I was not dreaming!
The introduction to Kinch's website begins, “David Kinch’s singular style of American cooking has placed him on the world culinary map, and assured his legacy in the advancement of California cuisine in the 21st century. His philosophy is fostered by the terroir or “sense of place” of the California Coast." Does that not say it all?
Manresa has won two Michelin stars for five years in a row! Needless to say that I have been all starrry-eyed about this newsmaker.
Upon meeting David Kinch and getting a chance to know him, I realized that Chef Kinch is not only talented (in a genius sort of a way), but he is also very humble, generous and instantly-likable. This man, who has reached the pinnacle, is so easy to talk to and so very passionate about the food he creates.
According to Eric Ripert, David Kinch does not chase fame...fame chased him. For many years, chef Kinch had been cooking with his head down, full of pure passion and utmost respect for nature’s bounty. He has been on a constant quest to experiment and excel — all the while humbly hoping that people may like his point of view and visit Manresa one day. Well! his amazing talent quickly caught the attention of people, and that is how Eric Ripert first heard about him. What happened after that is history.
This master of haute cuisine, made me understand the true meaning of terms like “perfect balance of flavors” and “harmonious dish” and “Umami”. One of the dishes he served that night was called Early Autumn Tidal Pool, and it was Umami-personified. I have never ever tasted anything so complex yet so delicate. So many flavor nuances managed to come through in each mouthful. In here were the most creamy and succulent oysters and mussels as well as a piece of absolute melt-in-your-mouth foie gras! The textures and delicate skill required in handling such ingredients is indeed the essence of this chef’s supreme talent.
David Kinch is all about locally sourced ingredients. He has very close connection with nearby Love Apple Farms in California. The relationship is so close that David and Cynthia, the owner of the farm, share google docs with up to date information of what is being planted, what is growing and what is ready to be picked. According to Chef Kinch, he no longer tells Cynthia what he wants (based on the menu he designs). Instead, he designs the menu based on what is growing and getting ready to be picked. Manresa, according to David Kinch, is a taste of Los Gatos. And so proud of it is he, that for the dinner in NYC, he flew in each and every ingredient from this farm — bringing us a taste of Los Gatos in each bite.
David’s vision for the world, is one where, instead of importing exotic ingredients to make the menu sound fancy, each restaurant celebrates its local bounty and in turn becomes an inherently unique experience. I for one, would love to be a part of that world.