Home News Meet the Michelin chef who runs culinary events at Sonoma’s Jordan Winery

Meet the Michelin chef who runs culinary events at Sonoma’s Jordan Winery

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Healdsburg’s Jordan Vineyard & Winery is among the royalty of Sonoma wine producers, with a French-style chateau nestled among 1,200 wild acres and vineyards that produce award-winning chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. And last year, it bagged a chef worthy of its reputation: Jesse Mallgren, who for nearly 25 years ran the one Michelin-starred kitchen at Healdsburg’s Madrona Manor (now The Madrona hotel).

Mallgren started in the restaurant business as a mohawked teenager, he says, that “no one else would hire,” washing dishes before rising through the ranks to Michelin greatness. He left The Madrona seeking a better work-life balance for his family – that’s hard to accomplish when working 12-hour days, every day – and now runs the celebrated culinary programs at Jordan, which include elaborate picnics, Parisian-themed feasts and fall harvest lunches. All of these are available to the public by reservation, and they come with plentiful opportunities to sample Jordan’s wine and estate-grown olive oil.

Mallgren recently took the time to chat about what culinary events Jordan has planned this year, the joys of cooking in Sonoma and also shared a recipe for a springtime chilled green-garlic bisque.

Q: Was food a big deal for you growing up?

A: My mother is a very good cook. She is a professional storyteller – she researches stories that were passed down verbally, like old Native American or Russian tales. When she would delve into the story she was learning, she would get into (the cuisine aspect). We would eat lots of Russian food when she was learning Russian stories, for example. She was always experimenting on us.

Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg makes award-winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and runs a robust culinary program under the supervision of Jesse Mallgren, a chef with Michelin cred. (Courtesy of Jordan Vineyard & Winery)
Healdsburg’s Jordan Vineyard & Winery makes award-winning chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon and runs a robust culinary program under the supervision of Jesse Mallgren, a chef with Michelin cred. Among the events are winery picnics with tasty fare served in jars. (Courtesy of Jordan Vineyard & Winery) 

Q: What’s your cooking philosophy?

A: I really want the flavors of the food to speak for themselves. It starts with what’s coming out of the garden, and then I want as few flavors as I can put on the dish to really highlight it but still make it really fun and exciting.



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