'Top Chef' Alums Reunite for Kosta Browne Cook-Off

Six contestants from season 16 packed into the winery's kitchen to create a heady feast for Pinot Noir, and we were on the scene

'Top Chef' Alums Reunite for Kosta Browne Cook-Off
Chef Brian Young makes a palate palette in the KB kitchen. (Shaunte' Dittmar Photography, c/o Kosta Browne Winery)
Nov 21, 2019

Friday was a big night for 50 lovers of Pinot Noir and reality TV. Season 16 cast members from one of Unfiltered’s favorite reality cooking competitions, Bravo’s Top Chef, teamed with Top Winery Kosta Browne for a special reunion dinner in the barrel cellar. In the Sonoma winery's tiny kitchen, young chefs David Viana, Eddie Konrad, Brandon Rosen, Michelle Minori, Caitlin Steininger and Brian Young, all alums of the most recent season, prepared passed appetizers and entrées as part of a six-course meal paired with rare Kosta Browne wines.

Top Chefs at Kosta Browne
Everyone's a winner! (Shaunte' Dittmar Photography, c/o Kosta Browne Winery)

The story of Top Chef and Kosta Browne started with good food, good wine and good people. And french fries. Winery reps first met the chefs by chance before an event in Chicago and shared bottles of Champagne and Kosta Browne Pinot Noir—and Shake Shack burgers and fries; a more formal pairing event in June followed. “It’s been a wonderful, whirlwind relationship that started in Chicago, and has found its way here to the winery,” Viana said at the event.

The gaggle of chefs quickly occupied every inch of the kitchen's counter space with plates, mise en place and wineglasses filled with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and then it was showtime. For Unfiltered, a highlight from the evening’s menu was Michelle Minori’s chewy yet fluffy squid ink strozzapreti with lobster, pine nuts, crunchy potato crumble and pimenton paired with the 2016 Russian River Valley Treehouse Vineyard Pinot. Minori made the pasta from freshly milled Desert King durum wheat from the San Joaquin Valley, near her hometown of Lodi, Calif. When Unfiltered asked her about cooking in wine country, she admitted that her first time in Napa and Sonoma surprised her. “I was confused by these tiny twigs that they called vines,” she laughed, referencing Lodi’s reputation for gnarled old vines.

Top Chefs at Kosta Browne
No one to pack their knives and go this time: Eddie Konrad and Michelle Minori in the kitchen (Shaunte' Dittmar Photography, c/o Kosta Browne Winery)

For its part, KB has been regularly bringing in star chefs for a few years now as part of its Chef Series. “We are forever pursuing increasing the quality of our wines, and we felt that it is right to partner with those in the culinary world who share the same obsession,” Kosta Browne’s director of hospitality Damon Wong told us.


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Unfiltered Actors California Sonoma

You Might Also Like

Make It So: How a Not-So-French Vineyard Got Cast as Star Trek's 'Château Picard'

Make It So: How a Not-So-French Vineyard Got Cast as Star Trek's 'Château Picard'

We discovered the winery that plays Captain Picard's "Burgundy" retreat—and went behind the …

Jan 24, 2020
Lead in His Red: Wine Killed Beethoven, Suggests Provocative New Research

Lead in His Red: Wine Killed Beethoven, Suggests Provocative New Research

A professor in Belgium has composed a case for the true cause of the virtuoso's death. Did …

Jan 23, 2020
Is this the World's Smallest Vineyard?

Is this the World's Smallest Vineyard?

A British lawyer and cottage-keeper has registered his two-vine, er, "parcel" for commercia…

Jan 16, 2020
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Château Miraval to Premiere Rosé Champagne

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Château Miraval to Premiere Rosé Champagne

The Provence pink powerhouse is teaming with one of the top grower Champagne producers. …

Jan 14, 2020
Unfiltered Predictions for 2020

Unfiltered Predictions for 2020

Gen Z torments winemakers into seeking even weirder flavors, Aubert de Villaine's a "Bad …

Jan 9, 2020
Best Unfiltered Stories of the Decade

Best Unfiltered Stories of the Decade

From the Summer of Winecrime to the Royal Wedding(s), the 2010s were a wild ride for wine …

Jan 3, 2020
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search