Posts From November 2009

Bocanova's dining room designed by Michael Guthrie and Company. Photo by Ashley Teplin

November 30, 2009

Bocanova: The Birth of a Restaurant

Bocanova, created by Michael Guthrie and Company Architects, inhabits a 6,500 sq. ft corner of an historical 1920’s ice warehouse in an ideal waterfront location; a space with tons of character as they say, which means both flaws and charm, an empty concrete shell with the beauty of the bygone industrial era it evoked. It became immediately clear that the rough grey texture and massive scale of the columns and ceiling would be something to highlight instead of hide. The columns became the divining rod and focus of the design.

Bocanova's Pan American kitchen provided a perfect palette for interior designer Andrea Wade of Michael Guthrie and Company. On her sojourn to South America the year before, Andrea was truly inspired by both the architecture and the food. The one thing that is quite prominent in South American arts and architecture is the embracing of simple forms in warm and vibrant palettes. Both new and old exist together in their interiors, combining indigenous with contemporary seamlessly. The conception of our core vision came to life quickly: a blend of old and new, traditional and innovative.

At Michael Guthrie & Company, function is always the first consideration when embarking on a project. So after the initial inspiration, a floorplan was designed that was ideal for both chef and guest. One of the main components is an almost market-stall counter that allows the kitchen to have an open interface the entire length of the dining room. Visual and physical divisions divide and define smaller more intimate areas without sacrificing the over-all feeling of spaciousness. The intent was to create several dining experiences that allow the guests to experience Bocanova in different ways on different occasions. There is counter dining where guests can watch and talk to the chefs, intimate two person booths, long communal tables and shaded outdoor seating over-looking the Jack London Marina to the Oakland Estuary beyond.

The simple shapes and palette evoke South American monastic spaces, both clean and rustic, with earthy warmth. The furnishings were selected to be comfort able and imbue the ambiance with a familial and convivial quality.

Whenever possible, the fabricators used at Bocanova were local and the furniture and fixtures were created using sustainable methods. Our wall plaster is a custom formula created by the Santa Rosa husband and wife team at Tobias Stucco. Details International in Napa sourced our reclaimed wood from local barns. The tables came from Wooden Duck in Berkeley and their bases were custom fabricated by Pearce Schmidt Construction in Emeryville, with the exception of the tall communal table in the bar area. The wonderful crew at Eclipse Design in Petaluma fabricated that concrete top and recycled wood base was created by Artefact in Sonoma. All of the custom steel. The wall tiles are from Heath Tile in Sausalito with the exception of the warm golden tiles at the cookline, which are a recycled product from Fireclay Tiles in San Jose. Our custom concrete counters, footrails, and sinks are from Concreteworks in Oakland. B&L Seating in San Francisco expertly crafted the banquettes. Magnolia Lane in South San Francisco to give our space warmth and human scale fabricated the draped column sconce shades. The rugs, although imported from India, are fair trade and made with natural dyes and were purchased from Emmett Eiland Oriental Rug Company, which has been doing business in Berkeley since 1969. Terra Nova Industries General Contractors of Walnut Creek built the restaurant.

The high level of involvement of the entire Bocanova team; owner to landlord to architect to builder resulted in the creation of a well-built, cost-effective and stunning space for Bocanova.

Posted by Pamela at 3:00 PM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook |


Nigel Kinsman, Winemaker Krupp Brothers (Photo by Seymour & McIntosh)

November 24, 2009

Krupp Brothers’ Winemaker Rises to New Heights

2009 marks Nigel Kinsman’s 15th vintage as a winemaker. For a 34 year-old who received his enology degree just six years ago, Kinsman’s logged more hours – with some of the most famous winemakers and wineries – than at first seems possible. He learned technical expertise alongside Peter Leske and got to the heart of organic and biodynamic farming at Cullen Winery.

Upon graduating, Kinsman hopped a plane to Chianti to work the 2003 harvest as a “poor struggling student winemaker.” Four planes and a train ride later, he was welcomed into Tolaini’s Tuscan cellars as the full-time winemaker. Because he didn’t speak a word of Italian, he learned to lead by example. And when Michel Rolland showed up as consulting winemaker, he learned the art of blending alongside the man he considers to possess one of the wine world’s most formidable palates.

No, Kinsman’s trajectory has been anything but traditional. It has, however, been 100% intentional, and it all began on the day he was almost fired from South Australia’s premier wine shop, Baily and Baily. At the time, Kinsman was studying classical music at the University of Adelaide, majoring in solo performance on the double bass.

The gig at Baily and Baily was meant to keep his wallet lightly padded, and he had little expectations of doing more than hauling cases of beer and stocking shelves, two things at which the six-foot two-inch Kinsman excelled. When the store manager told him they were going to have to let him go only six months into the position, the only question Nigel could ask was “How do I change your mind?”

The manager sent him home with three wines, three glasses and told him to turn in a report next shift. For twelve weeks, they repeated the exercise. “Suddenly I was fascinated with these unique regions, with new winemakers, with everything that went into the glass.” Nigel had fallen in love with wine, but he wasn’t initially convinced he could make a career out of it.
When he approached the head of the enology department about two years into his classical music degree, they weren’t convinced either. He had neither the sciences nor the science entry score to get into the department, which at the time was as competitive as the physiotherapy program.

Again, he asked, “What do I have to do to change your mind?” A faculty manager finally conceded that if he entered a straight science field and blitzed the class, he might have a chance. Nigel took a year off from his other classes, enrolled in Chemistry I and scored a 97 in the first year. The department allowed the transfer…”but it took a lot of pushing and shoving.”

When he wasn’t studying, Nigel spent his time at the wine shop honing his sensory skills and tasting every new wine he could get his hands on. “I will always maintain that people in wine retail get to taste a lot more wine than those who make it,” he says, and at his peak at Baily and Baily, Nigel was tasting some 300 wines a week.

After he transitioned into the enology program, Nigel left the wine shop and approached Nepenthe Winery winemaker Peter Leske. He told Leske he didn’t want to start his degree without any experience in the field. Leske brought him on for the 1997 harvest, and Nigel spent the hours of 6 pm to 4 am doing pump-overs and cleaning tanks and his daylight hours in the classroom. Hooked on the buzz of the physical labor, he stayed on at Nepenthe for five more harvests, all while studying. When he finished near top of his class every year, Kinsman credited the work with helping him see and engage in the entire winemaking process.

Continue reading "Krupp Brothers’ Winemaker Rises to New Heights"

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Bocanova's Sweet Potato & Chipotle Gratin from Executive Chef Rick Hackett.

November 18, 2009

Bocanova's Bounty

The celebration of Thanksgiving with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie is uniquely American. However, the tradition of giving thanks and celebrating the bounty of harvest spans all cultures. In countries and cities around the globe, groups gather together in the form of festivals, family gatherings and celebrations to toast the fruits of their labors.

This week, Bocanova’s Pan American kitchen offered a dozen happy guests a delicious glimpse of winter holiday bounty specials. Featuring produce from All Star Organics, a few Bocanova harvest highlights were the Braised Shortribs with Argentine primitive pumpkin, Chicory Salad with pomegranate & cocoa nib vinaigrette, Sweet Potato & Chipotle Gratin and an organic Dickenson Pumpkin Pound Cake with Eggnog Ice Cream & Pecan Macaroons.  


Executive Pastry Chef Paul Conte’s Pumpkin Poundcake stole the evening limelight. Perfect for baking, the Dickenson pumpkin made for a powdered sugar-dusted cake that was all sweetness and light – more ounce than pound. Partnered with a carrot reduction sauce and an egg nog ice cream that carried pleasantly little weight, it was the perfect conclusion to an evening rich with fresh, new flavor combinations and equally fresh new friendships.

Click here to view the Flickr Link of all the Harvest Images:

Sweet Potato & Chipotle Gratin Recipe
Bocanova Restaurant                                                                                        
Executive Chef, Rick Hackett                                                      

Amount:                         Ingredients:                                           Prep Notes:
5 ea                                Sweet Potatoes                                        Slice 1/8"
1 ½ Cups                         Heavy Cream
2 T                                  Garlic                                                      Minced
2 T                                  Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce              Puree
To taste                           Salt                                                         Salt      

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F
2.) Combine cream, garlic, chipotle and salt.  The mixture should be slightly on the salty side as the potatoes have not been seasoned.
3.) Peel and thinly slice potatoes (1/8 Inch) and add directly to cream mixture.
4.) Layer potatoes into a gratin dish and pour cream mixture over.  The cream should come slightly over the top of the potatoes
5.) Place gratin in a water bath. The water should come half way up the side of the gratin dish.  This will prevent burning on the bottom.
6.) Bake at 350 F for about an hour.  The potatoes should be tender and the top golden brown.
7.) Rest for 30 min allowing the gratin to set up.  This will prevent the gratin from falling apart when cut.

Yields: 6 portions


Posted by Pamela at 6:12 PM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Bocanova, Organic


Krupp Brothers Winemaker, Nigel Kinsman supervises the final picking at Stagecoach Vineyards the last week of October.

November 2, 2009

Krupp Choreographs Thousand-Acre Wine Grape Harvest, 95 Stagecoach Vineyard Designate Wines Will Benefit

It takes a small village to harvest Stagecoach Vineyard

“If you have ever seen that scene in ‘Apocalypse Now’ where they are trying to establish a beach head camp so that they can surf, that is what harvest is like at Stagecoach Vineyard,” consulting winemaker Aaron Pott says of picking fruit at Krupp Brothers’ legendary Atlas Peak and Pritchard Hill vineyard.

“The vineyard becomes a good size town replete with 50 or so 1970s era vans and an old Ken Kesey-esque school bus - all in various stages of decay – roaming the vineyard roads.”

While Pott jokes that Dr. Jan Krupp, former internist and founder of Stagecoach and Krupp Brothers, should just build a small village at Stagecoach with a company store, it is true that at harvest, the Krupp Brothers team is master of its own 1,000-plus acre domain. Jan moves across the vineyard radio in hand, shouting instructions to vineyard managers Esteban Llamas and viticulturist Jason Cole. The vineyard has its own trucking fleet to haul picks directly to their crush facility, and in any given season, Stagecoach has 120 full-time employees, with an additional 160 contracted on an as needed basis.


From a hawk’s eye view (of which there are several rare breeds on the mountain vineyard), harvest might appear to be chaos. After all, harvest workers are pulling in fruit for not one but 60 different wine producers in the valley. To put it another way, in 2008 there were over 95 wines with a Stagecoach Vineyard designate.

Krupp Brothers Winemaker Nigel Kinsman, however, says harvest may move at a frenzied pace but every step is controlled and choreographed. Up until the point where they deliver fruit to the wineries, Stagecoach Vineyard is self-sufficient. They may pick for more than 60 clients in a six week time period, but they handle all the picking. They schedule clients on a first come, first served basis. Sure, Paul Hobbs checks in frequently, but according to Nigel, even he confidently relinquishes control to the Stagecoach team.

Nigel believes that’s in large part due to Dr. Jan Krupp, the vineyard’s most passionate advocate. “Jan knows every clone and where every clone is planted. How many vineyard owners do you know who could literally know every inch of their 700-acre vineyard?” Nigel says.

Vineyard Manager, Esteban Llamas, worked alongside Jan to plant every single row. Viticulturist, Jason Cole, possesses incredible farming acumen and with both of their expertise come picking time, the vineyard is in prime form. For the past two months, Jason and Nigel have been setting the stage with aggressive crop thinning. Because last year’s crop load was so light, Nigel was ready for the vines’ 2009 balancing act. “We were expecting the vines to respond by producing more fruit, so our guys have worked hard all year to maintain the appropriate levels.”

They’ve also taken pains to thin fruit and position the shoots to ensure clusters are evenly spaced and receiving equal shares of light. Nigel says you have to be an active advocate to grow such premium fruit. By the time harvest rolls around, Nigel is intimate with every single block going into Krupp Brothers’ wines; he sources fruit from every part of the vineyard, he knows every soil subset, and once crush is upon them, Nigel walks the vineyard every single day.


As for the pick dates? Nigel says they’re not here to be raisin farmers. He looks at resolution and tannin profile in order to judge harvest times. Once he sees ripe tannins with moderate sugar levels, the Krupps’ own grapes get top picking priority. Nigel doesn’t see this as a conflict; he feels the crews give the entire vineyard impeccable attention. Every client gets top quality fruit, but this is first come, first served after all. And Jan Krupp was here first.

Enjoy a few photos from this years harvest:
Krupp Brothers winemaking 2009
Krupp Brothers winemaker Nigel Kinsman and consulting winemaker Aaron Pott test out the fermenting wine.
October 2009- Photos by Ashley Teplin

Stagecoach Vineyard Harvest 2009
Krupp Brothers winemaker Nigel Kinsman in the vineyards for the last pick of harvest.
October 2009- Photos by Ashley Teplin

Posted by Pamela at 1:54 PM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Wines