*Presenting an American feast
A Michelin-starred chef before the age of 30, Christopher Kostow takes a thoughtful approach to food that belies his age. Masterfully blending contemporary French cuisine with the farm-to-table tradition, Christopher creates a transcendent experience for diners every night at The Restaurant at Meadowood. “I embrace food memories — traditional combinations that work together — and then distill those flavors into something that is very much different, and very much stands on its own.” The result is a changing menu of confident and creative constructions like squab topped with shavings of dark chocolate and Wagyu short ribs prepared sous-vide and glazed in black truffles.
Choosing to forge his own educational path, Christopher credits the support and teaching of such renowned chefs as Trey Foshee and Daniel Humm with giving him the freedom and opportunity to hone his craft. Since arriving at Meadowood in February 2008, Christopher has introduced dishes that draw on the bounty of the seasons while taking a disciplined approach to modern French fare. Guided by the pure flavors of the highest-quality ingredients, Christopher also leaves room for inspired spontaneity. Strawberries partner with foie gras, olive oil ice cream complements Spanish mackerel cured in citrus, and fava leaves and green garlic velouté enhance ham hock with potato espuma. Christopher recently introduced a garden tasting menu, which showcases his culinary creativity and captures the vibrancy of Meadowood's gardens.
Though Christopher has always had a passion for food, this Chicago native passed much of his youth cooking for friends and brushing off suggestions he pursue a serious career as a chef. It was only after earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Hamilton College in New York that Christopher knew his calling.
Relocating to San Diego in 1999, he set out to enter the rarified world of fine dining and caught the eye of the area's foremost chef, Trey Foshee, named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in 1998. After just a few months at the acclaimed George's at the Cove, Chef Foshee gave Christopher the opportunity to create his own dishes when he was only 22. The intensity and discipline of the kitchen was a welcome challenge for Christopher, who worked his way up the ranks during a TK-year tenure.
Always one to push the envelope and gain more experience, Christopher left his position at George's and took off on a whirlwind trip through France. He landed in kitchens far and wide, from a Paris bistro to Michelin-starred Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier to the village of Salon-de-Provence, where he manned the stove at a former monk’s abbey dating to the 14th century.
After returning to the States, Christopher he moved to San Francisco where he worked as sous chef under the auspices of Daniel Humm at the award-winning Campton Place Restaurant. From there, he became top toque at Chez TJ in Mountain View for two years, garnering the restaurant many accolades including two Michelin stars and a coveted spot on Food & Wine's list of Top Ten Dishes of the Year in 2007 and the San Francisco Chronicle named Christopher a 2008 Rising Star Chef.
Throughout his career, Christopher has always been inspired by the pleasure guests experience when they taste something new and unexpected. Meadowood's commitment to service and excellence, along with its talented team of experts and artisans, provides the perfect environment to create truly memorable dishes. "Meadowood gives me the freedom and resources to approach food in a creative way. It is a large kitchen with many skilled cooks, so I can take time to craft the dishes and put a lot of thought into my food."
Christopher enjoys working closely with Meadowood's resident sommeliers to explore the dynamic between food and wine. When not in the restaurant, he can be found in Meadowood's garden, conceptualizing his ever-evolving menu based on what’s fresh and ripe.
And, to complement the local bounty, he sources artisan products from the world's top purveyors both at home and abroad. Olive oil comes from organic producers in Chile and California as well as Provençal olive oil from the oldest functioning olive grove in France. Bigfin squid is flown in direct from Japan.
Christopher's attention to technical detail is evident in every bite, but perhaps even more integral to the cuisine is his perpetual curiosity. "I'm always learning new things. There's a thin line between being creative and experimenting, and being disciplined and thoughtful about food. I’m walking that line, and I'm going to make my food taste as good as it can possibly taste."
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