Sally Schmidt, the great lady of Californian cuisine, left behind her cooking instructions

Written by Marcia Gagliardi


Unless you’ve been living or dining at Wine Country since the ’70s or’ 80s, you may not recognize Sally Schmitt’s name, let alone know she was the founder of French Laundry in 1978.

When Schmidt opened the big-sounding restaurant, Don, Yountville was a very different place from the shoe city it is now. In the meantime, you can be a restaurateur for the first time and open a place with the help of your friends and family (and their equities), often put handwritten menus on the tables, and often have dignitaries from Napa Valley, such as Robert. Mondavi and Chuck Carby of Freemark Abbey advisor on your wine book. The guests had a table in the evening. Today, if you want to open a restaurant in these regions, you have more than a few million dollars, investors, an advertiser, a social media manager, a lawyer and an experienced team at home and at home that can transform your tables three times.

Sally Schmidt’s new cookbook and memoir, “Six Kitchens in California” (Chronicle Books), is the story of a self-taught cook, chef, wife, mother, entrepreneur and educator. It gives her humility as a pioneer of farm-to-table cuisine in California and one of the country’s greatest chefs. But it is also the story of Napa Valley and its thriving culinary and wine scene. “What was happening in the Yountville area in the 1970’s with Don and Sally was the beginning of the valley as we know it today,” said Mustards chef Cindy Paulsen, who is very inspired by Schmidt. . The book is full of stories about Sally and Don’s relationships with locals, vendors, wines and loved ones – from Martha May (of the famous Martha’s Vineyard in Oakville) to Francis Solis of the famous Bancha .

Schmidt was a Californian girl, born in 1932 and raised on a Roseville farm. She grew up learning to grow her own food, as well as growing vegetables and preserves, and making butter and ice cream. Seasonal flavors shaped her soul and palate from farm to table, and the time I grew up gave her a practical, earthy feel.

His writing style is also earthy and simple, with 90 years of wisdom, opinions, techniques and tips in cooking (don’t miss out on how to boil eggs). This cookbook is like a grandmother teaching you how to cook. But it’s not about green beans and grandma’s roast – Schmidt had a wide palate, a sesame seed roaster and a Japanese suribachi (grinding bowl) and a beloved salmon with a sauce sorrel. The cookbook reflects the seasonality and location in California, with Mexican dishes from local families, as well as a number of French culinary influences.

Organized in chronological order, “Six Kitchens in California” presents recipes and stories of six kitchens, which Schmidt understood in order to have a brilliant self-taught hobby, buying his mother’s kitchen and family recettes. In 1967, Schmidt moved to Yountville with her husband and children to take over and develop the mall (1870 vintage). She started cooking professionally at the Vintage Cafe (second kitchen), then opened Chutney Kitchen in 1970, a restaurant kitchen she designed. Best known for its closed-door Friday night dinner, it served a fixed-price seasonal menu with double wine. This menu format laid the groundwork for the French kitchen sink, which the couple opened in 1978 after renovating the dilapidated stone building for four years.

You can also find recipes from his time with Don and his family at Apple Farm in Philo, where they moved after selling French Laundry to Thomas Keller in 1994, and taught it to many students and visitors for 15 years. The sixth and last cuisine of his retirement years with Don in Elk, which began in 2008.

But it is a chance for us and her legacy that she has left this deep personal and historical memory. This is the kind of cookbook you will want to sit and read, maybe hosting two kitchens a day and labeling recipes as you go.

For example, the first recipe, Mustard Potatoes, will make you wonder why potatoes are never roasted in bacon fat and Dijon mustard. If you like soup, this cookbook is full of them. Get inspired by a recipe for green eggs and ham for brunch, from cherry vodka to your next cocktail, and be thrilled to try the curdled milk in your next milkshake (supposedly like a “liquid cheesecake”). ”As food critics Jen and Michael Stern said when Eating it at the Vintage Café). The book is full of sweet desserts with a playful touch, such as Cream Coffee Pots and Chocolate Chinchilla topped with cream sherry.

Since Schmidt and her husband had five copies and loved primesc, a number of dishes are better suited for large groups (six to eight), so next time you will need to cook for a party, here is your guide. Later, Schmidt was only with Don, so the recipes were scaled in half.

Something unique is the fel, which they list the ingredients in the recipe instructions, so instead of going back to your list of ingredients, you’ll find them there when you need them. Ann Sally Schmidt: So practical – but also decadent and delicious. It became quite clear why there were legions of fani ai bucătăriei. You are about to become one of the two.

Marcia Gagliardi is a freelance and chronicle writer of San Francisco-based restaurants, especially a 16-year-old pioneer. Rable the news.

Organized in chronological order, “Six Kitchens in California” presents recipes and stories of six kitchens that have made Sally Schmidt’s outstanding career in the culinary world. (Book of Chronicles)

Leave a Comment