Kinch, who already has an Emmy Award for his work on the PBS series Spirit of a leader, says he was intrigued by how food was so ingrained in French culture, and thought that connection was missing in America. “I was fascinated by it,” Kinch told Unfiltered. “I wanted my young cooks to experience this, to be also immersed in… what made me fall in love with cooking is something I wanted to share with them. ”
The pop-up tour kicked off in Paris at the Grand Prix Le Taillevent, which houses one of the largest wine cellars in France. Manresa Wines Director Jim Rollston collaborated with Taillevent Antoine Petrus select French wines for Californian dishes and West Coast wines for the French. Among the Californian Cabernets selected by Rollston were a magnum of Ridge Monte Bello and a bottle of Mount Eden Vineyards from 2002, when Manresa opened. Kinch was focused on food, but says his passion for wine started at a young age; he worked in a wine store and did two harvests in Mount Eden, in 1988 and 1994, and eventually started making his own house wine.
A Chef’s Voyage then follows the Manresa team south to the Oustau de Baumanière, winner of the Best of Award of Excellence, at Baux de Provence, where Kinch and Rollston visit local vineyards before joining the chef de la Baumanière Glenn Much for dinner service.
The trip (and film) ends in Marseille, where Kinch and chef Gerald Passédat du Petit Nice collaborate for a Mediterranean-style meal. Le Petit Nice was also celebrating an anniversary – 100 years – so Passédat opened a Château le Puy in 1917 with Kinch and the cellar owners (the bottle was one of six bottles of the wine still known, the rest can be found in the cellar of Petit Nice).
“The wine was super healthy,” Kinch recalls. “It was very lipidic, very delicate, very aromatic. There was no fruit in it, but it wasn’t really tired in the first 20 minutes it was opened. It was a real joy.
The liberation of A Chef’s Voyage has been a bright spot this year for Kinch, who has been unable to accommodate guests in Manresa during the COVID-19 pandemic. He wants viewers to see how this trip gave his Manresa family fond memories that will one day resemble a version of his youth in France. “I think it’s safe to say we held on,” Kinch said of his team’s time in French kitchens. “I think it ultimately shows that American cuisine has come a long way. It’s like the end of a circle, where I started practicing… going around the loop and being able to do it was very personally satisfying. ”
A Chef’s Voyage is now streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.
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