A California native, Gary Jenanyan has been cooking and instructing in the Napa Valley for more than 30 years. A noted designer, restaurant consultant and chef instructor, Mr. Jenanyan has enjoyed the rare privilege of working with and being mentored by the most influential chefs of this era. As Executive Chef of the Great Chefs Program at Robert Mondavi Winery for 26 years from 1976 to 2003, he worked with the best of France’s 3-star chefs including Jean Troisgros, Paul Bocuse, Joel Robuchon, Marc Meneau, Alain Chapel, Georges Blanc and Pierre Gagnaire, as well as many noted American chefs. Mr. Jenanyan retired from the program in 2003.
Incorporating the sensibility and experience of a veteran working chef, his firm, Gary Jenanyan, Culinary Consulting & Design, designs restaurants, cruise ship galleys, hospital, winery and home kitchens. Additionally, he troubleshoots food service operations, develops menus and recipes and provides chef instruction to a variety of clients internationally.
In addition to his design and consulting firm, from 1998 to 2014 Gary was Executive Chef to the fleet for Lindblad Expeditions, partnered with National Geographic Expeditions, the internationally acclaimed, environmentally conscious, small-ship expedition cruise line. He was responsible for directing the wine and food operations on 5 ships worldwide.
His current position as Principal Investigator/Project Manager to the OPUS Clean Potato Project-Galapagos takes him to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands monthly. This project is focused on mitigating food borne invasive species coming from the mainland of Ecuador to the Galapagos. The project is funded by National Geographic, Lindblad Expeditions and the Helmsley Charitable Trust.
In 1994, he completed work as Executive Chef and chief food stylist on the 13-part PBS television series, “America’s Rising Star Chefs” and authored its companion cookbook. He served as the Culinary Chair for the Napa Valley Wine Auction, the largest event of its kind in the world, conceiving and managing all aspects of the sit down dinners for 2000 guests. This event has raised millions of dollars for local health care.
His culinary education started at a very early age, exposed to the seasonal cycles of local fruits and vegetables on his grandparents’ small farm in Sacramento, California. He vividly remembers learning to make the fire, then standing next to his grandfather, a great cook, while he barbecued lamb and home grown vegetables for family gatherings. He got his greatest inspiration to cook professionally from his mother, another great home cook.
Gary describes his evolved cooking style as refined, no-nonsense, balanced and full flavored. His cooking is grounded solidly in French technique with an emphasis on using sustainable local and regional products with a focus on flavors and preparations that are in harmony with the great wines of the world.
Aside from his first love of regional French countryside cuisines, he is particularly fond of Latin American cuisines, specifically the foods of Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.
Gary lives in Napa Valley, California. He is a licensed private pilot, an avid reader and world traveler and is relentlessly curious about new ingredients, flavors, textures and wines from around the globe.