Monday, December 27, 2010

12/27 - Jim Kimmel, Chef William Bloxsom-Carter.

Jim Kimmel - Owner - Kimmel Vineyards
Headed by matriarch Lillian and guided by her three sons Jim, Gary, and Dennis, all generations of the Kimmel Family have joined in our winemaking venture. Most often, you'll find Jim in Southern California, introducing our wine to notable chefs and sommeliers then heading back to Mendocino to taste and perfect the upcoming vintage. Closer to the ranch, Gary travels throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties, following up on the latest shipment of barrels or corks, checking in with Mark at the Vineyard. Dennis tries to keep them both on track with the reporting! Nieces and nephews have joined in the sales effort as well as guided our usage of green farming practices at the ranch. Needless- to-say, we all are thrilled to find yet another reason to gather around "Nana's" ranch table! For nearly fifty years, three generations of our family have enjoyed the natural beauty and diverse flora and fauna of Kimmel Ranch. It is a welcome place to gather and and even more stunning place to explore, no matter the season. Now, as we usher in a new era on the Ranch, we are working even harder to maintain a healthy ecological balance through sustainable farming practices. Our commitment to the land has carried us from cattle ranching to the vineyards. Our practices permeate every area of our operations out to the unplanted habitat acres and extending to the people who work in our vineyards. We continue to look for ways to improve our practices including solar, water, and wind power opportunities. All that we do and plan to do is with the sole purpose of producing the best possible grapes and absolutely delicious wine for you!

Chef William Bloxsom- Carter  - Executive Chef - Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
Chef Carter’s official title is Executive Chef, but at the Playboy Mansion West this is a position that defies definition, as it’s a one-of-a kind job that requires the artistic sensitivity of a symphony conductor as well a tax accountant’s acute sense of organization. The Mansion’s two kitchens support a private household, a private hotel, a fine dining room and is the central entertainment hub for most all promotional activities of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. on the west coast. Overnight guests of the company, usually business partners from around the globe, enjoy the same service offered by any five-star hotel that they might have chosen for their trip. Then there are the numerous promotional events, luncheons and dinners that we host here for our marketing partners. The Mansion grounds are also the setting of several celebrity-studded charity galas throughout the year that each take weeks of preparation. It’s a very busy place; keeping it all running in sync is the challenge that motivates me each day. It’s actually hard work that’s great fun,” Chef Carter said, with a surprising enthusiasm that belies his twenty three-year history at The Mansion. This man obviously loves what he does for a living and it shows in his easygoing approach to what seems like a daunting job. The chef supervises a crew of 18 chefs, plus support staff and interns, working around the clock to stay ahead of the calendar of events hosted by The Mansion as well as the daily menu to service the needs of residents and guests. Chef Carter is especially proud of the visiting intern program that he has developed in collaboration with some of the best culinary schools in the country.  "Our criteria for acceptance is quite rigid, but once accepted, the students enter a program that is focused on maximizing their talents in a non-intimidating, professional atmosphere. Because of the diverse culinary demands here, our interns are exposed to many levels of the hospitality industry. No matter the event or occasion, everything we do here is designed to instill a work ethic that accepts nothing short of excellence. It is that work ethic that I am hoping they take with them when they leave,” said the Chef.  While Chef Carter certainly has reason to think he has the perfect job, his ready smile and humor comes from something that many chefs working in a far less complicated kitchen make little time for, a balanced home life. At the end of each day, which at times may be very late in the evening, the chef makes a 50 mile trek along the famed Ventura Highway to his foothill home in a rural setting north of Los Angeles where he lives with wife Katherine, two sons and super dog, Sierra. This drive is a very necessary separation that gives Chef Carter the temperament and confidence to orchestrate such a large culinary challenge. At home, William Carter is a father and husband who makes the time to enjoy hiking, landscape photography, dining with friends and traveling. He also lends his expertise to one of his son’s high school culinary arts program as well as being in demand throughout California as a professional judge at wine competitions. Chef William Carter says it’s a very whole life and he is enjoying every single second of it, both at home and at his unique office.  So perhaps, besides a dazzling fruit salad, the chef provides us all with a second recipe that can be used outside the kitchen. His emphasis on maintaining a healthy balance of life outside the office, even one with 18 chefs in it, is a formula that serves as a main course for life. Melissa’s counts Chef Carter as one of our most exciting foodservice partners. Our staff works closely with him on each food challenge that he brings to us, large and small; it’s actually a very fun part of the relationship, and one that we hope to enjoy for many years to come.

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