Sonoma chef John McReynolds will discuss his new book, the “Stone Edge Farm Cookbook,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Readers’ Books in Sonoma.
McReynolds is the culinary director of the Sonoma wine estate Stone Edge Farm, a producer of Bordeaux-style red wines located on 16 acres of organically farmed grapevines and vegetables. In this, his first book, McReynolds relates how he sources and uses local and even foraged foods, demonstrating respect both for his ingredients and for the growers, farmers, and fishermen who provide them. The 372-page “Stone Edge Farm Cookbook” comprises 102 primary recipes and 300 color photographs of finished dishes and kitchen techniques. The book’s concluding chapter includes McReynolds in lively conversation with Stone Edge Farm’s winemaker, Jeff Baker, and its proprietor, Mac McQuown, about pairing food and wine.
Previously, he was the founding chef and co-owner for 10 years of Cafe La Haye, in downtown Sonoma. He has been cooking professionally since graduating, in 1982, from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he was awarded a scholarship sponsored by Julia and Paul Child. He has cooked in such far-flung locations as a dude ranch in Colorado, a remote hotel on a Norwegian fjord, a French restaurant on Lake Chiemsee in Germany, a yacht sailing the Mediterranean, and George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch.
In his first chapter, McReynolds contrasts cooking in a restaurant kitchen with cooking in the quieter, more private setting of a wine estate. “I am working on my last-minute prep for dinner in the outdoor kitchen at Stone Edge Farm. Cooking here is so different from standing in my old restaurant in Sonoma, Cafe La Haye, waiting for the rush of excitement when the buzz of diners would carry me away on a frothy wave of energy,” he said. “Here, in my kitchen under the stars, my task is not to interpret or dazzle, but to nurture and satisfy.”
McReynolds resides in Sonoma with his wife, the artist Brigitte McReynolds.