Chef David Kinch (Photo: David Morganti)
Chef David Kinch (Photo: David Morganti)

Chef David Kinch

To kick off a year-long 15th anniversary celebration of his three-Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos, California, chef David Kinch packed up his staff last fall and headed for France. There, he delivered a series of dinners in collaboration with chefs from three host restaurants: Le Taillevent in Paris, L’Oustau de Baumanière in Provence, and Le Petite Nice in Marseille. Kinch talked to us about the experience and named several of his favorite dining establishments.

How do you stay true to your culinary philosophy while cooking overseas?

There’s a lot of crossover between California and the Mediterranean and Provence—the same gestalt in vegetables—so we cooked classics from both restaurants, with a few tweaks. Le Taillevent’s spelt risotto was made with ormeau [abalone], which is a classic California ingredient. It was game season in France, so we used duck: we worked with the breast, and [Le Taillevent’s team] did a dish with the legs.”

France has a lengthy culinary heritage. What did your team bring to the table?

In the U.S., I think because we don’t have this long tradition and have had waves of immigration, it’s been easy to assimilate newer ideas. That’s a big deal; that’s what we can contribute.

What are some of your favorite places to dine around the world?

In Paris, Arnaud Nicolas—known for charcuterie—is a recent discovery. He makes this chicken and duck pie with foie gras that he cooks seven times at different temperatures. I had the best meal I’ve had in a long time at Niko Romito’s place [Reale in Castel di Sangro, Italy]. He’s a three-star guy. Le Moût [in Taiwan] is another interesting restaurant with a fabulous chef, Lanshu Chen. She’s doing great things.