Chef Christopher Kostow is not your average chef. One of the youngest chefs to ever receive three Michelin stars, he helms the acclaimed Napa Valley Restaurant at Meadowood, as well as a more casual eatery The Charter Oak, which opened earlier this year. In 2009, he was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs, and he holds a Best Chef award from the James Beard Foundation. To say he is highly sought-after would be the understatement of the year.
His latest venture, Road to Table, a partnership with Cadillac and Goop, where for a casual $1300, you get a brand-new Cadillac delivered to your home for a day trip to the Hamptons, complete with a private tour of Amber Waves Farm, led by Chef Kostow and Lauren Bush, and dinner for two prepared by the 3-Michelin-star chef himself. The best part? Each ticket purchased provides 50 meals for American families through FEED’s ongoing campaign to fight hunger in America, so you can feel good about indulging a little.
We chatted with the chef about his recipes for success, his favorite in-season ingredients, and the mistakes he always notices people making in the kitchen. Get a quick culinary master class from one of America’s most prolific chefs, and improve your cooking skills in just a few minutes.
On the Recipe for Success
MYDOMAINE: As one of the youngest chefs to receive three Michelin stars, what is your secret to success?
CHRISTOPHER KOSTOW: To be successful, it is imperative to work with great people, always strive for quality, communicate well with the team, and never be afraid to collaborate.
MD: What is the philosophy behind the food at The Restaurant at Meadowood?
CK: The Restaurant at Meadowood showcases the finest products we can procure cooked simply, presenting that which we have here in the Napa Valley—all with a bit of whimsy, a sense of humor, and a nod toward lightness.
On Living a Busy Lifestyle
MD: What do you eat for breakfast? Do you have a go-to dish?
CK: I don’t eat much—just a bite of whatever I prepare for my daughters and a lot of coffee.
MD: What do you cook when you need to make something quick?
CK: Pasta with whatever vegetables we have from the farm.
On Seasonal Cooking
MD: What are your favorite in-season ingredients in September?CK: Okra, corn, Summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers—it’s the end of summer now, and it's the last time we will be able to see these products for another year.
MD: What is your favorite meal to cook and eat right now?CK: We tend to cook mostly vegetables, especially in the summertime. Summer squash finished with mustard oil, grilled cucumbers. I just love a very simple, light, summery fare.
On Pantry Essentials
MD: What are the things that everyone should have in their pantry to be able to whip up a quick meal?
CK: Good salt, fresh olive oil, dry pasta, quality soy sauce, your rice of choice, and a sharp knife.
MD: What are some unexpected ingredient pairings that you’re loving right now?
CK: At The Charter Oak, we’re serving grilled corn on the cob with dried yeast, salt, and cultured butter—it’s delicious, very umami.
On Staying Healthy
MD: You must constantly be exposed to amazing food—how do you keep a healthy diet?
CK: I stay active with the family and try not to eat too late at night.
MD: What is the mistake you see most people make in the kitchen?
CK: People try to do too much. Instead, they should spend that time buying nice products and prepare them simply.
Next up: The one cooking hack Mario Batali swears by for next-level pasta.