Wine Crush

COOK­WARE IN­NO­VA­TOR STAN­LEY CHENG AND HIS WIFE, HE­LEN, SHARE THEIR EN­THU­SI­ASM FOR GREAT WINE AT A FALL HAR­VEST DIN­NER

Traditional Home - - Contents - WRIT­TEN AND PRO­DUCED BY STEPHEN EXEL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY VIC­TO­RIA PEAR­SON

Win­ery owner and cook­ware in­no­va­tor Stan­ley Cheng and his wife, He­len, host a har­vest gath­er­ing to re­mem­ber in Napa.

Stan­ley Cheng changed your life. You prob­a­bly just don’t know it. Cheng was study­ing me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing at Ore­gon State in 1971 when in­spi­ra­tion struck. He re­turned to his na­tive Hong Kong, bach­e­lor’s de­gree in hand and ideas to rev­o­lu­tion­ize cook­ing in mind, and con­verted his fam­ily’s alu­minum man­u­fac­tur­ing plant to the pro­duc­tion of cook­ware. In 1985, he in­tro­duced the first line of hard-an­odized non­stick cook­ware on the mar­ket, Cir­cu­lon. A sec­ond line, Anolon, fol­lowed in 1989. Kitchens have never been the same.

To­day, his com­pany, Meyer Cor­po­ra­tion, U.S., and its brands, in­clud­ing Anolon, Cir­cu­lon, Ruf­foni, Far­ber­ware, Aye­sha Curry, Rachael Ray, and Bon­jour, cover the mar­ket with bake­ware, bar­ware, and ev­ery kind of cook­ware. Ever the in­no­va­tor, Stan­ley’s lat­est ven­tures in­clude the ti­ta­nium-based Hes­tan NanoBond

cook­ware and the app-driven Hes­tan Cue Smart Cook­ing Sys­tem. (Hes­tan, by the way, is a port­man­teau of He­len and Stan­ley.)

Of course, fine cook­ing is best com­ple­mented by fine wine, an­other long­time love of Stan­ley and his wife, He­len. In 1996, they pur­sued that love, pur­chas­ing an 80-acre cat­tle ranch in Napa, Cal­i­for­nia, and trans­form­ing it into the award-win­ning Hes­tan Vine­yards, spe­cial­iz­ing in va­ri­etals of the Bordeaux re­gion of France.

A cov­eted in­vi­ta­tion to din­ner at the Chengs’ Tus­can-in­spired home, which an­chors the prop­erty, re­sults in an evening of old­world charm, modern culi­nary tech­nol­ogy, art­ful ta­ble set­ting, and, of course, fine wine. At har­vest­time, din­ner is ex­tra spe­cial.

“This time of year at Hes­tan is warm and wel­com­ing. It’s quiet and com­fort­ing,” Stan­ley says. “When peo­ple come over, they re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty of the place.”

Plan­ning the meal starts with choos­ing the wine. “De­pend­ing on the com­pany, we’ll choose wines that are older and more del­i­cate and pair them with younger vintages,” Stan­ley says. “Then we’ll match that to the menu.”

Philip Tessier, Hes­tan Smart Cook­ing’s culi­nary di­rec­tor, as­sists in de­vel­op­ing the menu. “He’s very creative and has a won­der­ful palate,” He­len says. “The meal will not only be beau­ti­fully pre­sented, but also very tasty—which is my num­ber one con­cern, al­ways!”

Beau­ti­ful pre­sen­ta­tion is made much sim­pler when there’s gor­geous table­ware from which to choose. The Chengs’ col­lec­tion in­cludes del­i­cate Chi­nese porce­lain, clas­sic ster­ling flat­ware He­len likes to mix and match, and an en­vi­able stock­pile of “Flora Dan­ica” plates—a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted Dan­ish ser­vice pro­duced by Royal Copen­hagen. Its unique pat­terns are based on a botan­i­cal com­pen­dium cre­ated in the 1760s for King Fred­er­ick V.

He­len loves the thrill of scour­ing an­tiques stores for table­ware. She pur­chased the “Flora Dan­ica” plates at auc­tion. “Hav­ing beau­ti­ful serve­ware,” she says, “re­ally en­hances the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, no? More of­ten than not, it be­comes a con­ver­sa­tion piece.”

For this gath­er­ing, the ta­ble is set with thought­ful re­laxed for­mal­ity and fea­tures a so­phis­ti­cated com­bi­na­tion of tex­ture and quiet color. Linen ta­ble run­ners printed with a green-and-white pat­tern drape across the ta­ble to an­chor each place set­ting. Bleached wood-bead place­mats un­der­score am­ber glass charg­ers, which frame the “Flora Dan­ica” din­ner plates.

The evening starts in the liv­ing room with cham­pagne, skew­ers of grilled shrimp and Padrón pep­pers, and av­o­cado-and-grape br­uschetta. An amuse-bouche of caviar on corn cakes be­gins din­ner, fol­lowed by an en­dive and pear salad, brown-but­ter-laced pump­kin risotto, and a main course of coq au vin, Has­sel­back po­ta­toes, and glazed car­rots. A dense, de­li­cious ap­ple pie fin­ishes the meal.

Al­to­gether, it’s a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence made richer by ex­cel­lent wine and easy con­ver­sa­tion—a har­vest­time cel­e­bra­tion of na­ture, fam­ily, and friends.

Stan­ley and He­len Cheng toast the wine har­vest with Hes­tan Vine­yards Chardon­nay, which was served at the White House in 2011. Their sun-filled din­ing room boasts a can­dlelit crys­tal chan­de­lier once owned by opera leg­end Maria Cal­las. “Echo Lake” glass hur­ri­canes are from Si­mon Pearce.

Op­po­site The main course, coq au vin, is—ap­pro­priately—wine-based. Hand-painted din­ner plates rest on glass charg­ers from Villeroy & Boch and wood-bead place­mats from Kim Sey­bert. Gorham ster­ling flat­ware from Re­place­ments Inc. adds vin­tage lux­ury. Ta­ble run­ners are made of “Mon­trose Linen” from Lee Jofa’s Aerin col­lec­tion.Clock­wise from top left Din­ner starts with caviar on corn cakes. Culi­nary di­rec­tor Philip Tessier checks on Stan­ley’s progress pre­par­ing glazed car­rots with the Hes­tan Cue Smart Cook­ing Sys­tem, an app that in­te­grates in­duc­tion burner and pan, guid­ing the user through a recipe with easy in­struc­tions and videos. Re­fresh­ing av­o­cado-and-grape br­uschetta on Water­ford’s “Enis” tray.

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