Boris Portnoy is the Pastry Chef of The Restaurant, a sophisticated yet playful dining experience in the upscale Meadowood Resort. Known for his innovative pastry style, elegant execution of dishes and collaborative approach in the kitchen, Portnoy has settled down in the heart of Napa Valley, the place that inspires him the most, to share his talent. Prior to The Restaurant he worked at San Francisco’s Campton Place where his unique and inventive techniques catapulted him to widespread recognition.
I am always looking for new ingredients to put into the creative fold, but generally speaking we are looking to showcase Napa Valley through the food at The Restaurant.
How did you begin your career in the culinary field?
When I was a little kid, I always wanted to grow up to be a chef much like kids wanted to be policemen or firefighters. I began cooking by mimicking recipes and pictures from culinary coffee table books; I just couldn’t stay away. I preferred working on the sweet side of food because if offered me more freedom from “protein” and allowed me to create food that is more “vague” and focused on the sublime.
What restaurants did you work at prior to this one?
Prior to Meadowood, I was working as a recipe developer and a pastry consultant. Some of my clients included The California Walnut Board, teaching classes on western style desserts to professional pastry chefs in Asia and helping open two bakeries in Moscow and one in Chicago. Before that, I was the Pastry Chef at Campton Place in SF.
What appetizer, entrée and dessert is The Restaurant most known for?
We have a menu that constantly changes depending on what is currently in season and freshest in the area – we are not committed to a dish, but rather we are committed to ingredient driven, culturally current and creatively modern cuisine.
Are you a globe trotter? If so, do you get inspiration for your dishes from places you travel to?
I am always looking for new ingredients to put into the creative fold, but generally speaking we are looking to showcase Napa Valley through the food at The Restaurant. So not surprisingly, Napa Valley is the area that most excites and inspires me to cook.
When you’re not cooking up creations in The Restaurant, where can we find you dining?
At The Alembic on Haight Street in San Francisco – the great food is matched with great cocktails. I also enjoy places that are off the beaten path.
What’s your favorite drink?
At The Restaurant, we make a great rye and honey mead. It is very low in alcohol and transforms me back to my childhood where it was sold virtually on every corner in summertime.
What’s your favorite past time?
Building and racing mopeds.