A Press Democrat Blog

Meet the Chefs

Profiles on chefs participating in Sonoma County's Wine Country Weekend

Duskie Estes & John Stewart


Duskie Estes & John Stewart Chef & Salumist Zazu Kitchen + Farm / Black pig Meat Co. Duskie Estes was voted City Search’s Seattle Best Chef in 2000. Under her leadership, Palace Kitchen was rated by Gourmet magazine in the top five Seattle restaurants in 2000 and in the nation’s top 50 restaurants in 2001. She coauthored Tom Douglas’s Seattle Kitchen, which received the James Beard Award, 2001. Duskie was a fierce competitor on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef,… Read More »

John Franchetti

John Franchetti, chef Rosticceria+Eventi I was born and raised in Santa Rosa and 
graduated from Cardinal Newman High School in 1985. 

Growing up in wine country, it was easy to want to become a chef and put the food and wine and beer together. So basically living the dream in the area where people meca too for food, wine and beer. The principle of knowing where your ingredients come from is and will always be important to me. Education: University… Read More »

Ari Weiswasser

Ari Weiswasser, Chef/Proprietor Glen Ellen Star Ari Weiswasser, a Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef 2015, spent his formidable culinary years in numerous fine-dining establishments in New York City and Philadelphia, mastering the fundamentals of elevated cuisine and service before moving to California and deciding to do things differently. Glen Ellen Star—which he operates with his wife, Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser, in the Wine Country town of Glen Ellen, CA—utilizes his acutely honed culinary expertise in an inviting, rustic farmhouse-style environment.… Read More »

Chef Armando G. Navarro

Armando G. Navarro, Executive Chef El Dorado Kitchen Executive Chef, Armando Navarro, has had a noteworthy resume packed with top restaurants along both coasts. After five plus years as Executive Sous Chef at Auberge du Soleil, Armando went to New York where he trained under some of the best chefs at Le Bernardin, Jean Georges and Daniel Boulud. He returned to California and worked at Jardiniere and Masa’s before relocating to Redd in Yountville as the Chef de Cuisine. Prior… Read More »

Chef Dustin Valette

Dustin Valette, Chef/Owner Valette Dustin Valette began his culinary career at 13 at Catelli’s in Geyserville. Two years later he took an apprenticeship at Chateau Souverain under Martin Courtman. Now, 20 years later, Valette finds himself back in Northern California’s wine country continuing the dream that started 22 years ago. Valette honed his craft in some of the most celebrated restaurants on the West Coast, including Aqua in San Francisco, Napa Valley’s Bouchon and VOX in Henderson, Nevada. For the… Read More »