In May 2014, we gathered among redwood trees in our favorite food and wine region of California. Together we built wood-fired ovens, experimented with flavor extractions, made chocolate from cacao and learned the wondrous workings of honey bee hives.
People in the culinary world speak a special language, and we are all connected through food. We each leave our own mark in the world, but together we are a powerful force in helping to determine what we eat now, and what we will eat in the future.
Emilia Juocys, Eat Retreat alumni & chef
For a taste of the regional food culture, Eat Retreaters ventured into Mendocino County to spend a morning with local producers.
Ansley Coale walked Eat Retreaters through the distillation process and a tasting of the award-winning brandy, Germain-Robin, made in Ukiah, California.
The Apple Farm is a working farm with a focus on education in Philo, California. Eat Retreaters were invited to observe the slaughter process as Sophia Bates and Brittany Davis harvested lambs.
Eat Retreaters enjoyed a vineyard tour and barrel tasting with Fred Buonanno and Heather McKelvey, the vintners, winemakers and founders of Philo Ridge Vineyards.
Doug Mosel and John Gramke led a tour of Mendocino Grain Project’s fields and granary where they raise, harvest and mill a diverse crop of ancient, heirloom and landrace grains.
When I followed my instinct to cooking school, I had a vision of being a part of something bigger. Something was happening in the food world and I wanted to be part of it. Here’s a secret: it’s all about the people. The people that grow it, butcher it, ferment it, cook it, teach it, photograph it and, of course, eat it. Eat Retreat reminded me why I joined the ranks.
Clare Langan, Eat Retreat alumni, chef & culinary instructor
James Collier is a story-driven photographer, writer, and a creative strategist. He shoots a mix of commercial, editorial and fine art projects.
Kathryn Tomajan is an olive miller who has made award-winning olive oil in California and Australia. She is a certified olive oil taster and serves on the Board of Directors for the California Olive Oil Council. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.
Heather Marold Thomason is a whole-animal butcher dedicated to sustainable meat production. She has raised pastured livestock, established local supply chains and developed retail and wholesale programs to improve market access. In 2016 she founded Primal Supply Meats in Philadelphia, PA.
Nate Keller has cooked in the kitchens of Google, founded his own catering company, and organized events for the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. He’s now the executive chef at Sprig, a dinner delivery start-up in San Francisco, CA.
Passion abounds in the food universe, but informed, coherent, level-headed and effective passion is a rare constellation… and Eat Retreat was the Milky Way.
Jonathan S. White, Eat Retreat alumni, grass farmer & cheese maker