Nick's Picks: Redd
Redd, Reddington’s former Napa Valley restaurant, held a Michelin Star from 2008-2013. For those not entirely in tune with culinary lingo, this achievement makes Reddington a very big deal.
In 1900, in an effort to increase the demand for automobiles, the French tire company Michelin published a guide book that highlighted the best hotels and most exceptional restaurants throughout France. Since then, the yearly Michelin guide has expanded to include more than twenty countries and a team of 200 anonymous judges who decide if a restaurant is Michelin worthy. While receiving even one star is an unbelievable accomplishment, the world’s very best eateries can earn up to three. The quest for a Michelin star is quite literally life and death for some chefs. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay famously cried when one of his stateside restaurants lost two stars and the 2003 suicide of groundbreaking French chef Bernard Loiseau was linked to rumors that his restaurant, La Cote d’ Or, was in jeopardy of losing a star. Allusions to chasing this recognition are even immortalized in pop culture via cooking films like Burnt and Ratatouille. Michelin currently publishes restaurant guides for four U.S cities including New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and in Redd’s case, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.
Michelin, as well as dozens of other dining publications, lauded Redd for its innovative but accessible cuisine, modern, stylish atmosphere, and vast wine and cocktail list. Some of Redd’s signature dishes were pork belly bao, hamachi sashimi with soy-lime ginger dressing, and scallops on a bed of cauliflower purée. After thirteen years of operation, Redd closed permanently this October, in part for Reddington to spend more time in New York. Redd leaves behind a legacy as a restaurant that forever shaped the Napa Valley culinary space.
In the coming years, Reddington plans to split time between coasts, monitoring Redd Wood, his fast-casual Italian restaurant also in Napa, and his Rochester project, which will carry the Redd name and serve wood-fired pizza as well a diverse menu made with local ingredients.
Reddington’s decision to open in Rochester may be an anomaly, simply a superstar chef who happened to be from our area and wanted to be closer to his family. However, this could also indicate a seismic shift in the local restaurant business. The addition of a Michelin star chef to Rochester could encourage talented local chefs to stay in the area, rather than leaving for bigger markets like New York City or Los Angeles. With an already impressive scene that features new restaurant openings every month, cuisine from almost every corner of the globe including Yemen, Iran, Mexico, Korea, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Ethiopia, and Ghana, and an insatiable dining crowd, Rochester may even turn into a desirable destination for chefs from around the country looking for a new city to call home.
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Featured image by Chris Chen via Flickr.