Twenty five years. 9,125 days. 300 full moons. A thousand and one sleepless nights (not in Seattle). One dissolved partnership/ marriage. A few employees. A lot of guests…a LOT of friends made. Births, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, bar/ bat mitzvahs, christenings, deaths…I have been a part of many.
I am Rancho Pinot and Rancho Pinot is me. I still look out on the dining room and can’t believe it’s mine. Somehow, I made this thing! Most of the time I don’t think of it as anything special. It’s a place I go nearly every day. A means to an end. Because I began so long ago, I never really took the time to examine or analyze why or how. At the beginning, I was terrified, unsure and scared as hell. Perhaps magical forces and timing aligned and helped me succeed.
All I know is one day I looked up and I was still here!
People ask me my “secret” to success. Consistency. Pure and simple.
The greatest compliment I can receive is when a guest tells me they have been coming for years and “it’s just as good as I remember!” I have never been a fan of change for the sake of change. Maybe that puts me in the un-trendy category, but whatever. I can only cook the things I like and enjoy. And I have ALWAYS believed that it isn’t all about the food. It’s about hospitality. I could never do what I do without the support and talent of all the people who work with me. When you come to Rancho, you are coming to my “home.” I want you to feel good, feel taken care of, to have a civilized dining experience. I can’t do it alone. I count on my people – my family – to make it all
To me, it sounds so cliché to say I am “fortunate,” “blessed,” and “lucky” to still be able to serve you. But those are the words! I have always appreciated the support I receive from you nearly every day. And I am very grateful. As with any long-lived endeavor, I sometimes worry that I am jaded, that I have “lost the love.“ But then I unlock the doors and remind myself that yes, this is it.
Enough of the mushy stuff! I am very excited to share with you some truly special dinners I have planned for November 2018, our “official” 25 year anniversary. I am honored that the chefs/ mentors/ inspirations/ friends in my life have happily agreed to help me celebrate. So without further ado, here is the rough outline of festivities:
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1, 2018
A dinner featuring several of the women who have worked with me at Rancho over the years…
- Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale
- Sacha Levine formerly of Ocotillo Restaurant, Phoenix, soon to open her own place!
- Michelle Mango of Mango Cakes in Phoenix
- Shannon Plowman of La Vie in Pinetop
- Wendy Lair, personal chef in Northern California
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 8, 2018
There are 149 Master Sommeliers in the United States, and two of them worked with me at Rancho! A fun night as MS Bobby Stuckey and MS Christopher Tanghe work the floor and pour some special bottles to pair with a special menu.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 15, 2018
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DAYS
My mentor and inspiration, Nancy Silverton – currently Mozza and Chi Spaca in LA – formerly of Campanile and La Brea Bakery, joins friend (and my former co-worker at Campanile) Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant in LA, to remember my time working in Los Angeles in 1990 with a fun and collaborative menu.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2018
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA DAYS
I worked at one place while I lived in Napa Valley in 1991-92: Terra Restaurant. Chef Hiro Sone was a patient, kind teacher. His sous chef, Jim Neal, taught me how to cook on the mesquite grill and we enjoy a friendship to this day. I look forward to cooking with them again this evening!
Lots of details to come, so share this with your friends so they can sign up for our email newsletter on our website to get all the details throughout 2018.
All I can add is THANK YOU for 25 amazing years!