About Chef Willie

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My Training

started at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School with teachers Catherine Alford, Nick Malgieri, Paul Grimes and Peter Kump himself, and visiting chefs and food authorities of the time.

That was when Peter Kump’s was an un-air-conditioned four floor-walk up on 92nd street on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Day one was knife sharpening and knife skills. I remember executing a pile of perfectly cut mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions as the guy next to me sliced the end of his finger off. Day two was egg day. I ate 14 eggs in various preparations and loved every minute of it.

I excelled at cooking school. I made my mother’s vinaigrette, and blew my teachers away. I baked baguettes to die for. I aced my final.

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From Pastry to Poultry, I do it all!

I graduated in 1990, when nouvelle cuisine was the next big thing. I apprenticed in New York City and worked for Jean-Francois Taquet, then a top chef in Philadelphia. I worked for Taquet for three years and for Taquet’s mentors, French chefs Jean-Louis Le Palladin and George Perrier. I not only cooked with them, I cooked for them. I served Belon oysters and fruites de mer to Jean Louis and fois gras to George, and they both congratulated me. Those guys were like rock stars before celebrity chefs appeared on television.

In my 20-plus year restaurant career, I worked for many chefs as the food movement really kicked off through the 90’s and always maintained high standards in my cooking. I have been a chef garde-manger, a grill guy, a fish station guy and a pastry chef. I have cooked it all.
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In mid-career I worked for five years as chef-garde manger at Tosca in Hingham, Mass., a renowned, Best of Boston award-winning Northern Italian trattoria with a wood-burning pizza oven and huge wood grill, where I oversaw the antipasti dishes, many of which
incorporated grilled vegetables and lean proteins kissed on the grill for added flavor.

Since 2004, I’ve been private cheffing in Sonoma, cooking fantastic food for friends and clients for their private parties, birthdays or special occasions and wine dinners.

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How I Cook For You

I make, bake, butcher, peel, slice, dice and prepare everything from scratch in your kitchen. I use eggs from my own chickens in many preparations – something as simple as a poached egg on a salad of greens from the garden, or a tarragon and chive mayonnaise, or a super-rich vanilla ice cream served with a slice of good old-fashioned apple pie.

To make natural, real food that is both nutritious and tasty is what I do. I shop like a Frenchman, getting what’s good at the market that day. Almost everything I make for you comes from local farms and growers in Napa and Sonoma counties.

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