Chef David Kinch of Manresa - Biography

Los Gatos, CA

August 2010
David Kinch is a chef’s chef. He doesn’t have a TV show or a collection of restaurants; there isn’t an anthology of cookbooks with his name on book store shelves. Instead, his sole, 68-seat restaurant, Manresa, is tucked away on a residential street in the small Silicon Valley town of Los Gatos. Here, Kinch works magic with his hand-picked ingredients, coaxing out flavor and texture in things that in other hands would be merely ordinary.

Kinch’s terroir-driven cuisine and expert technique stems from years of study, practice, and travel. He graduated Johnson & Whales in 1981 and worked in New York City for several years, with a stint under Marc Chevillot at the Hotel de la Poste in Beaune, France in between. The young chef spent two formative years of training at the Quilted Giraffe when the restaurant was at its peak, introducing Americans to a new style of intricate modern cooking. He opened a restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan and helmed the kitchens of San Francisco’s Silks and later Ernie’s Restaurant. Kinch spent two more years in Europe, at Schweizer Stuben in Germany, L’Esperance with Marc Meneau in France, and Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre in Spain. Back in the US, he opened Sent Sovi in Saratoga in 1995 and sold it in 2001.

Since opening Manresa in 2002, Kinch has developed a singular style of American cooking that has won over critics, gourmands, and renowned chefs alike. In 2010, Manresa was awarded two Michelin stars for the fourth consecutive year, and Kinch won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific. The restaurant has been named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants by Restaurant Magazine, was in America’s Top 50 Restaurants by Gourmet magazine, and has received four stars from The San Francisco Chronicle.

But such flattery doesn’t distract Kinch from his focus on finding the most flavorful, pristine ingredients from his surroundings. His philosophy is fostered by the terroir or “sense of place” of the California coast, and the kind of ingredient-driven cooking and modern technique he studied in France, Spain, Germany, Japan, and the US. In 2006, he formed an exclusive partnership with Love Apple Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which supplies Manresa with biodynamic-grown vegetables and provisions year-around.