James Beard-Award Winning Best Chef Christopher Kostow Shares 5 Non-Recipe Recipes You Need to Try Now

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Photo Credit: Kelly Puleio


In celebration of his pop-up dinner series in NYC on September 20 and 21 (see more below) with Williams Sonoma and Cadillac, we sat down with Chef Christopher Kostow, the James Beard-Award winning, three-Michelin starred executive chef of The Charter Oak and Meadowood in Napa Valley, California.


Kostow, who specializes in seasonality and harvesting daily from the nearby 3-acre farm in Napa Valley, shares his favorite 5 non-recipe recipes where simple, seasonal ingredients are combined to create satisfying, elegant, easy-to-put together dishes.

1. Little Gems Salad

“We take raw little gems, a combination of smoked and dried albacore that’s grated and cooked down with onions, then topped with an herb cream mostly consisting of lovage. It’s kind of like our version of a Caesar salad.” 

2. Perfectly Boiled Eggs and Olive Oil

“We make really nice, perfectly boiled eggs where the yolks are still bright orange, and then douse them in a bunch of olive oil and really nice sea salt. It makes for a perfect snack.” 

3. Buttermilk Grilled Chicken

“A riff on a classic that’s really hard to mess up, we take boned-out chicken quarters, brine them in buttermilk, and then grill them over a fire. They’re deceptively simple and easy to make at home, because the brining lends itself to grilling.”

6. Smoked Beef Ribs

“Our version of ribs the Napa way, we smoke them over cabernet barrels and then glaze them in saba.” Note: Saba is traditionally made from cooking down grape must, but Kostow likes to make saba with overripe stonefruit, which he then brushes over the ribs which are then cooked over an open fire. The ribs are served with roasted beets that are dried over the fire and then tossed in rendered beef fat and rosemary.  

4. Polenta with Creamed Corn

“We use dried corn from the prior year and then cook polenta the traditional way. Then we fold in a bunch of fresh creamed corn and add butter.”

5. Sliced Summer Sausage with Turnips and Mustard

“I’m from the Midwest where sliced summer sausage is a thing. An inspiration from that, we slice and serve with raw turnips and mustard and fresh bread.” 


Check out the first-ever East Coast pop-up of The Charter Oak on Thursday and Friday, September 20 and 21 in NYC with Chef Kostow at the Cadillac House New York. The event will feature a family-style dinner from The Charter Oak’s seasonal menu, paired with outstanding California wines. Sign up here for this very special dinner.

Photography courtesy of The Charter Oak & Kelly Puleio and Cadillac & Drew Altizer Photography.

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