Napa Valley Chef of the Year
Mustard Recipe Competition Winning Chefs for 2009
The Recipe Competition was held at The Awards ~ A Spicy Soirée on March 13, 2009 at Black Stallion Winery, Napa. While patrons sipped Napa Valley's finest vintages and tasted their way through
the most creative mustard recipes of the year (entries in the Festival's Napa
Valley Chef's Mustard Recipe Competition), the Critic's Choice Recipe Judging,
headed by Gene Burns of KGO Newstalk AM810, took place behind closed doors. The
judges chose Summer Sebastiani's Asparagus Soup with Mustard Greens & House Made
Cheddar Mustard Seed Crackers as this year's winner. Patrons had the chance to
compare their taste buds with those of the professionals as they cast their
ballots for People's Choice Chef of the Year, and chose Richard Jensen's Asian
Pork with Chinese Mustard & Napa Slaw as their favorite .
2009 Napa Valley Mustard Festival CRITICS' Choice Chef of the Year:
Summer Sebastiani, Pastry Chef, All Seasons Bistro & Catering
Summer Sebastiani was raised in North West Sonoma County on her family's ranch in a town of about 300 residents. Among her first jobs was working in the kitchen at the local YMCA Camp. This was her first experience working in a commercial kitchen and her jobs were dishwashing and prep cook. By the end of the first season she could roll 400 two fisted dinner rolls in 20 minutes.
While still in high school, she took a job at a local bakery 23 miles away. She would come in at 4:00 am and assist the baker with muffins, steaming bread and folding Danish dough. At 7:30 she would work the cash register serving the customers and helping fill special orders. When her shift was over she would drive the 34 miles to her YMCA job and worked till 9:00 pm
Summer fell in love with photography in high school and it is still a hobby of hers. She attended Santa Rosa Junior College, taking general education and photography courses for one year. Still enchanted by the culinary arts, she enrolled at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. At CCA she took the two-year AOS program, and did her externship at Apple Wood in Guerneville. After graduation from CCA in January 2000, she worked at the Country Club in Oakmont, CA, and was part of the opening team. Looking for more experience and an opportunity to use her talents she joined Brannan's Grill in Calistoga as an Assistant Pastry Chef. She eventually took over the job of Pastry Chef and Kitchen Manager and stayed there for three years.
Wanting to expand her skills and talents, she accepted the position of Pastry Chef at All Seasons in Calistoga. She has continued to take on more responsibilities and is now in charge of pastry production, plus the kitchen and catering departments for All Seasons and their sister restaurant, Hydro Grill. Her hobbies are photography, making professional style DVD's, scrapbooking, riding her motorcycle, caring for her four pugs, and landscaping her home in Santa Rosa where she lives with her husband Todd.
2009 Napa Valley Mustard Festival PEOPLE'S Choice Chef of the Year:
Richard Jensen, Chef de Cuisine, The Grill at Meadowood
Currently Chef de Cuisine of The Grill at Meadowood, as well as Meadowood Banquet Sous Chef for two years, Richard has vast experience working in fine dinning restaurants in the East Bay and San Francisco prior to his career at Meadowood Napa Valley.
Richard has always had a passion for food and cooking. As a young boy in North Carolina, he would cook breakfast for his family while assisting his mother with confections and breads she baked for the entire family.
In college, Richard worked as a dishwasher in a small restaurant in Belligham, WA. After graduating from Western Washington University, he traveled to Europe experiencing the cuisine in several countries and absorbing the exciting cultures each country introduces to their food. This experience enhanced his deep passion for the culinary arts.
Returning to the Unites States, he attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and worked in restaurants such as Aqua, Redwood Park and Ondines. He then stepped into his first sous chef role at Blackhawk Grille in Danville, CA under Chef Daniel Amaya, where he was able to develop his own style of cooking.
Following Blackhawk Grille, Richard assisted German Master Chef Michael Rech at the Culinary Academy where he honed his management skills and discovered the art of Garde Manager and received his Garde Manager Accreditation to teach in the school.
Richard has volunteered for several charity events in Napa Valley, and looked forward to his role and participation in the Mustard Festival this year.
Critics' Choice Judges:
(left to right)
Margo True, Sunset Food Writer; Karola Saekel, Food Writer, a long-time staff member and now contributor to S.F. Chronicle Food and Wine Departments; Gene Burns of KGO Newstalk AM 810's Dining Around with Gene Burns; and Sandy Gluck, Co-Host Martha Stewart Living Radio's Every Day Food
The judges (left to right): Margo True, Sunset Food Writer; Sandy Gluck, Co-Host Martha Stewart Living Radio's Every Day Food; Gene Burns of KGO Newstalk AM 810's Dining Around with Gene Burns; and Karola Saekel, Food Writer, a long-time staff member and now contributor to S.F. Chronicle Food and Wine Departments.