Michael Weiss

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Cakebread American Harvest Workshop Day 2

We start day two of Cakebread’s American Harvest Workshop at Suscol Springs Vineyard ranch in south east Napa, where there are vineyards as far as the eye can see.  I’ve never had breakfast in a vineyard and this one is a treat – a Mexican breakfast, huevos with red sauce and tortillas.  Day one was a great introduction and I can’t wait to see what today brings. Mark McDowell, the  chef from Hawaii, brought a gift with him – fresh strawberry papaya – yum!  With full tummies we set off into the vineyards with Bruce Cakebread, who was at one time the head winemaker.  He talks to us about Napa Valley – what makes it unique as a wine growing region, thanks to the soils and climate. Bruce Cakebread. Courtesy Cakebread Cellars Hard to believe this ranch was a cattle grazing pasture up until 2007 when the Cakebreads planted Cabernet…

Cakebread American Harvest Workshop Day 1

Right in the middle of harvest, the busiest time at any winery, Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley invites five chefs from around the world, a group of local artisan food producers and food and wine enthusiasts to take part in the American Harvest Workshop, a five day intensive on food and wine. It’s a hands-on program, with the chefs and other participants literally getting their hands dirty, picking grapes, harvesting veggies from Cakebread’s winery garden, and creating and cooking two five-course dinners for 65 people. As we gather on day one for orientation and a tour of the garden, I can’t help thinking this feels a little like Top Chef. No, it’s not a competition, but the five chefs will be working together as a team, and this is the first time they’ve met each other. Culinary Director Brian Streeter, who is our leader for the workshop, has them choose…