Meet the chefs who make music in the kitchen
When having a leisurely lunch in wine country, you may find the salad or dessert is simply the best you’ve ever tasted. While there are many reasons, you’re about to meet two of them here. These FFWS Executive Chefs have been chosen not only for their unique vision and technique, but because they are true luminaries in their field.
Meet Larry Forgione, Culinary Director & Executive Chef
Chef Larry Forgione is known in the culinary world as ‘The Godfather of American Cuisine.’ He earned this honorable title by changing the way Americans eat today, and for his role in beginning the Farm-to-Table movement. Chef Forgione has built a reputation based on sourcing the freshest foods available, and his expertise in the arena is the perfect complement to our Foley Food & Wine Society Culinary team, which was founded on the premise that the best wines should be paired with the freshest Farm-to-Table foods.
Chef Forgione was born and raised in Long Island, and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1974. After graduation, he spent two years working with French Chef Michel Bourdin at the famed Connaught Hotel. While at The Connaught, Chef Forgione became the first American chef to be awarded a Mention of Honor from Prix Pierre Tattinger in Paris, and was also a silver medalist in the British Culinary Olympics. During this time of growth, Chef Forgione gained immense amounts of knowledge and experience, but most importantly he came to identify a very stark difference between European and American cuisine; farmers and producers in Europe produced for both for restaurants and at home cooks alike, whereas in America, everybody was producing for the masses, and the chefs also had to use what was produced. While this may seem like a simple revelation today, at that time it was truly the beginning of an American Culinary Revolution.
Chef Forgione took this knowledge and experience back to New York City in 1977, where he held Executive Chef Positions at Club El Morocco, Regine’s and at The River Café. It was at The River Café where Chef Forgione began to really cultivate what is now known as Farm-to-Table cuisine. There he forged numerous relationships with sustainable farmers, and ultimately began purchasing all of his meat and produce from unique and sustainable specialty farmers. While this was much more work than ordering from a single supplier, it was all well worth it, for the quality of the food at The River Café was well ahead of its time, and truly next to none in comparison. The River Café also became the first restaurant to name the farm and the region of their ingredients on their menu, further earning its Farm-to-Table birthplace rights. Chef Forgione is also to thank for the inception and popularization of Free-Range Chicken, which spawned a desire for more Free-Range meats, thus giving way to the wide array of Free-Range meats we see and eat today.
In 1983, after four influential years at the River Café, Forgione went on to open his very own Upper East Side restaurant, An American Place, which took American made cuisine to an entirely new level. The New York Times gave Forgione’s An American Place 3 stars, the same number of stars he had earned at the River Café. Ten years after opening An American Place, Chef Forgione was named Chef of the Year by the CIA, and America’s Best Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Three years later in 1996, Chef Forgione’s An American Place cookbook won a James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook. That same year he was also named one of the 50 Most Influential Baby Boomers by Life Magazine, supported by his influential role as one of the first chefs who believed in the American bounty and championed the use of locally grown products.
In the years since these grand accolades, Chef Forgione has worked with a variety of restaurants, hotels and retail outlets to improve and amplify their culinary departments. He has also filled his time with many philanthropic endeavors, and is a founding trustee of multiple organizations, including the James Beard Foundation, the CIA’s externship program, Fresh Start, City Meals-On-Wheels, and the Annual American Chefs Tribute to James Beard.
Most recently, Chef Forgione was co-founder and director of the CIA’s American Food Studies: Farm-to-Table Department at The Conservatory at Greystone, a student-led restaurant open to the public.
Chef Forgione became the Culinary Director/Executive Chef for our Foley Food & Wine Society Culinary Team in August of 2017, and has been adding his expertise to all of our culinary endeavors since. Farm-to-Table fresh has been our mission since the inception of our culinary program, and we could not have asked for a better leader than ‘The Godfather of American Cuisine.’ Attend one of our fantastic winery events, or enjoy a Culinary Tour at Chalk Hill Estate to taste some of the fruits of Chef Larry Forgione’s labor.
Meet Shane McAnelly, Executive Chef
Known for his eclectic, inventive, yet approachable dishes, Shane McAnelly has a culinary approach distinctly focused on ingredients and seasonality. Growing up in the tight-knit community of Oakley, CA, Shane spent time as a child baking with his mother and grandmother, mastering the art of cheesecake at the age of 13. His first restaurant job after high school was at nearby Danville’s Blackhawk Grille, where he immediately took to kitchen culture, moved quickly up the line, and decided to make cooking a career.
Shane received a degree in Culinary Arts at the Diablo Valley College in 2002, and continued on at Blackhawk Grille as Senior Sous Chef. In 2005, he took a Sous Chef position at Garibaldi’s restaurant in Oakland, developing the menu to reflect Bay Area seasonality and building relationships with local farmers and purveyors. After three years, Shane was promoted to Chef de Cuisine, and continued his work forging relationships with farms and seeking out the best local ingredients he could find. Rounding out his experience with a position in San Francisco, he took an Executive Sous Chef post with the opening team at Zero Zero under Bruce Hill in July 2010, managing the team and developing the ingredient-driven pizza and pasta-focused menu. Throughout his career and to this day, pasta remains one of his favorite foods to cook—he has always been drawn to the limitless variety of shapes and ingredient combinations—and loves introducing diners to lesser-known types of pastas.
In April 2011, Shane took on his first Executive Chef position at Va de Vi restaurant in Walnut Creek, named a Bay Area Top 100 restaurant by the San Francisco Chronicle, and which remained on the list for the duration of his time there. After two years, he set his sights north, relocating with his wife and baby in 2013 to open Chalkboard restaurant in Hotel Les Mars in downtown Healdsburg. Joining the town’s vibrant—and growing—culinary community as Executive Chef at the restaurant, Shane has been involved in every aspect of bringing Chalkboard to life: creating a bright, modern space for diners, collaborating with a gardener on a dedicated restaurant garden, and developing a menu that’s reflective of his years invested in cooking the best ingredients that the Bay Area has to offer. In 2014, Shane opened a special weekends-only, prix fixe dining experience in the Hotel Les Mars library, dubbed the Library at Chalkboard, where he offers a modern, playful chef’s tasting menu.
Shane lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs and a cat near Healdsburg.