A Press Democrat Blog

Meet the Chefs

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

Chef Catherine Venturini


Catherine Venturini Chef/Owner Olive & Vine At seventeen, Chef Catherine was fortunate enough to get her start in the kitchen during the era of Alice Waters and experience the California food revolution. Learning to cook with local, organic, and seasonal produce, Catherine incorporated her Italian family’s love of bringing friends and strangers together to become family through exquisite and thoughtful cuisine. In 1985 Catherine moved to St. Croix, Virgin Islands and opened her own restaurant Indie’s in Christiansted. In 1998… Read More »

Chef Andrea Koweek & Chef Moaya Scheiman

Andrea Koweek & Moaya Scheiman Crisp Bakeshop Moaya Scheiman is a chef, culinary instructor and food historian who has been strongly influenced by his extensive years of world travel. Moaya opened the “Junk Company” for the Woodstock Entertainment Group in Bangkok Thailand in 1989. He came to the Bay area in 1991 and worked as chef d’ cuisine for Café Sanchez in San Francisco, Export Sous chef for Kimball Jones at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, Opened Tropix Caribbean Café in… Read More »

Chef Dustin Valette

Dustin Valette, Chef de Cuisine Dry Creek Kitchen Dustin Valette began his culinary career at Chateau Sourverain, a Francis Ford Coppola Estate in Geyserville, California where he apprenticed under Executive Chef Martin Courtman. Now, more than 15 years later, Valette finds himself back in Northern California’s wine country as chef de cuisine at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen.

Valette honed his craft in some of the most celebrated restaurants on the West Coast, including the Michelin-starred Aqua in San Francisco and… 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 Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson, Chef Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar at The Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma I began my career in San Francisco where I attended culinary school and cooked for a decade. I have worked under three James Beard award-winning chefs in Charleston, Chicago, NYC, and Palm Beach. Accolades include Top 5 Places to Eat Napa/Sonoma from Food Republic, and Best Chefs America 2013 & 2014 editions. Chef Andrew Wilson’s Corn Soup Yield 1 gallon 12 Ears of Corn, removed from… Read More »

Chef Ari Weiswasser

Ari Weiswasser, Chef/Proprietor Glen Ellen Star After working at fine dining institutions such as New York’s Restaurant Daniel, Paul Liebrandt’s Corton and The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, Glen Ellen Star creates a casual and inviting, neighborhood-friendly restaurant that consistently exceeds expectations. When not in the restaurant, my time is spent in the gardens at Benziger Family Winery or with my wife and three daughters. Early Girl Tomato Gazpacho 1 kilo early girl tomatoes 100 g cucumber peeled 100 g… Read More »

Chef Douglas MacFarland

Douglas MacFarland, Executive Chef Ramekins Culinary School and Events I was born and raised outside Seattle Washington. I moved to Arizona for College and majored in Aerospace Engineering. While attending school I found work at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess where I worked as a prep cook. I worked there for 3 years then moved to San Diego and worked at the Lodge at Torrey Pines where I also met my wife. We then moved to Portland Oregon where I worked… Read More »

Chef Ari Rosen

Ari Rosen, chef/owner campo fina restaurant Ari Rosen is a restaurateur and chef who creates fresh, local and flavorful Italian cuisine. In 2008 Chef Ari Rosen and his wife Dawnelise Rosen opened Scopa, a popular Italian restaurant in Healdsburg, California. The restaurant has received enormous praise for its comforting, delicious and authentic dishes. In 2012 the couple opened Campo Fina, a casual restaurant located near Scopa. It has bocce ball court on the patio, serves rustic Italian dishes and has… Read More »

Sondra Bernstein/John Toulze

Sondra Bernstein, Proprietor John Toulze, Executive Chef the girl & the fig Proprietor Sondra Bernstein quietly opened the girl & the fig in 1997 in Glen Ellen, California. Slowly people began to discover the rustic French food and the unique way of marketing and presenting it. In 2000, she relocated the restaurant into more upscale quarters on the northwest corner of the square in Sonoma in the historic Sonoma Hotel. Over the past sixteen years the girl & the fig… Read More »

Chef John Toulze

John Toulze Executive Chef the girl & the fig John is a native of Northern California from a third generation French family. Cooking was and continues to be a strong passion in his family life. John started his career in hospitality at Viansa Winery in Sonoma in 1994. After several years of cooking and wine sales John left Viansa winery in 1997 to help Sondra Bernstein open the girl & the fig restaurant in Glen Ellen. At the girl &… Read More »