Chef David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA, California, Where to eat in California, Love Apple Farms, Best Restaurants in California, Chef Recommendations, Where the chefs eat, Purveyor recommendations, Where to drink, Where to shop, California, Japan, Tokyo, New York, NY, New Orleans, LA, Louisiana, Cookbooks, Products, The Bay Area

Q & A


Los Gatos

Contemporary American / French / Spanish

320 Village Lane

Los Gatos, CA 95030

T: 408.354.4330 (make a reservation)



Wed - Sun: 5:30pm - close




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Manresa - Los Gatos, CA

Q & A with Chef David Kinch

Q. Chef Sean Brock told us his first meal at Manresa changed him saying, “David Kinch is such a brilliant chef, basically it’s vegetables and seafood. There is very little meat. You just taste purity and honesty. He is really creative, but he’s mature enough not to let that get the best of him.”

A. He’s right about the menu, it’s vegetable oriented. It’s about fish and shellfish. We serve meat, but very little bit, it’s kind of like a secondary element, it takes a back seat. I see our food evolving more in that direction.

Q. How important is the Michelin recognition for you?

A. To be recognized by a prestigious organization and by your peers is always great. But it is not and can not be the ultimate goal that we shoot for. It has to be the byproduct of what we try to shoot for. We try to cook the best food we can in a really convivial atmosphere and offer a lot of pleasure to our guests. We want them to leave happy. More importantly, we want them to come back.

Q. If you had to pick the honors of James Beard or Michelin or the recommendation from another chef, which would it be?

A. The recommendation from another chef, absolutely. Chefs eat differently from other people, we dive in deep. At least the ones that are curious. I think we have sort of a calibration and if you find a chef that you certainly agree with and have recommendations from, I trust that.

Q. You have taken vegetables to an art form and almost a science. What was the exploration for you to take it beyond what is expected?

A. It was a challenge. It was a little bit outside the norm, especially where fine dining had been for the past 15 to 20 years, where it was always about luxury ingredients -- rich proteins that would be soft in texture, because that was the taste of elegance and luxury.

Photograph courtesy of Manresa

Vegetables are different. Each one has a different character. They also have a lot of different textures that are the antithesis of that elegance and luxury mindset. What I also found out is that it’s not cheaper cooking vegetables. There is a tremendous amount of work from cleaning, cutting and prepping, just as much as with meat or fish.

Q. It seems that people have a preconceived notion about what a meal using vegetables should cost. Do you find that to be true?

A. You have no idea. I get asked all the time, ‘you grow your own vegetables, you must be saving money.’ We are spending three times more money than if we were shopping at farmers markets and picking up the phone and calling a produce company.


Tips / Advice on Vegetables


Q. What do you think is the most under-rated vegetable?

A. I really like root vegetables because they’re lowly. They’re not regal items like foie gras, caviar, or truffles.

Things like rutabagas, turnips, kohlrabi and cabbage, they’re incredibly versatile. They develop really deep, deep flavors and touch all the sensors on the tongue, because of their sugar and salt. They have this really nice bitterness.

Bitterness is really important, I think bitterness is misunderstood a lot in cooking. So, that is what I like about root vegetables.

[See David’s recipe for Root Vegetable Choucroute.]

Q. What is essential with vegetables?

A. Seasonality. It’s a cliche, but it can’t be over emphasized. There are two things for the home cook:

1) you get the product at its peak

2) you also get it at its cheapest.

You’re not importing it in, it’s not some big footprint to getting it. So, it’s a win-win situation.

I think a lot of lip service is paid to seasonality. You can go to a lot of famous chefs extolling the virtues of seasonality, but then you get a hamburger with a tomato on top in January and February. That, to me, is wrong. The artistic part of our craft is making that burger work without the tomato in January.


Photo Credit: Mark Holthusen

Recommended By

- Chef Sean Brock (Husk and McCrady Restaurants in Charleston, SC)

- Chef Fergus Henderson (St. John Restaurant in London, UK)


David Kinch’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Spain and Tokyo.


FIND | Cookbooks

The Chez Panisse Vegetables Cookbook

It’s very good, not only for the recipes, but for an introduction to the varietals and flavor profiles. It’s pretty in-depth and pretty amazing.

[See details.]

FIND | Markets

Pinotxo at Boqueria in Barcelona | Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink. | Flirting With Light [flickr]

San Francisco Area

The Marin County Farmer’s Markets in Corte Madera or Mill Valley

It’s just as diverse and incredible as the Ferry Building market, but it’s not the tourist scene or the tourist prices that you find there.

[See details.]

Barcelona | Spain


For the market and to eat there -- at Pinotxo. You get two fried eggs covered with these little squid that they cook right on the plancha.

[See details.]

Tokyo | Japan

Tsukiji Market

The market is unbelievable and really leaves an impression. People associate it with the fish market, but there is a huge vegetable complex in there too. It’s the outer market that surrounds it with cookware, knives and great bookshops.

[See details.]


Eat | Restaurants

Benu in San Francisco | Kajitsu in New York

Photographs Courtesy of Benu and Kajitsu

San Francisco Area


I like it because after many, many years of people not opening up an ambitious restaurant, [chef] Corey Lee has. He has taken a big step towards offering people really fine dining and I think the food is really good.

Off The Beaten Track | Carnitas Trejos

It’s really cheap and the food is pretty astonishing. All the Mexican guys I have working with me say it doesn’t get any better, even in Mexico.

[See details.]

New York City | Manhattan

Del Posto

My friend at Roberta’s, Carlo [Chef Carlo Mirarchi] told me you have to go to Del Posto. He said that chef Mark Ladner is cooking the best Italian food in New York and nobody realizes it. He’s right. Sensational, great quality ingredients, really simply prepared dishes. It has a nice sense of style to it. It’s really contemporary and it’s still Italian. Very impressive effort.

Eleven Madison Park

[Chef] Daniel Humm is really hitting his stride now.


It’s awesome. Might be my favorite place in New York.

[See details.]

New York City | Brooklyn


For [chef] Carlo’s cooking.

[See details.]

New Orleans

Coquette -- it’s quite good. I recommend Mandina’s and also Parkway Bakery for po-boys.

[See details.]

Japan | Tokyo


It might be the greatest restaurant in the world. It’s amazing how good the food is, it’s very simple with super high quality ingredients. The guy cooks the food in front of you and hands the food to you and really cares about your well being.

He’s included in the Michelin Guide and he’s one of these guys who is really happy to be in it because it has allowed foreigners to come to his restaurant. He says that because foreigners come to his restaurant, he continues to learn new things that he would never experience outside of Japan.

[See details.]


Drink | Vermouth

What Are You Drinking Right Now | Carpano Antica Formula

I really like it.

[See details.]

Drink | Cocktail Bars

Rickhouse & The House Of Shields in San Francisco

Photographs Courtesy of Rickhouse and The House Of Shields

San Francisco


It’s really dark inside, but I really like the quality drinks.

The House of Shields

Go for the cocktails.

[See details.]

New York City

Avery Glasser of Bittermens & Amor y Amargo | Pegu Club

Photo Credit: Noah Fecks | Find. Eat. Drink. LLC

Amor y Amargo [see also Bittermens Bitters]

Sensational -- they are kind of nerdy the way they make their drinks. They are obsessed with what they do. They make their own vermouth. For a chef, it’s fascinating to see all the different flavor profiles.

Pegu Club

I think they do a wonderful job with cocktails.

[See details.]


Details of David Kinch’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Spain and Tokyo.


- Root Vegetable Choucroute