Award Winning Chefs
With a passion for cuisine, appreciation of simplicity and technical skill gained through years of experience, these chefs take great pleasure in showcasing the very best of fresh local ingredients through the most unique and exotic dishes. Try your hand at their Favorite Recipes for an at-home gourmet meal.
Chef Cory Smith
Inspired by the diversity of local seasonal harvest, Chef Cory Smith maintains the belief that where passion lies within, pleasure abounds. He has been influence by Restaurant 301 Master Chefs since he first joined the Inn in 2001. With a "done simple, done right" outlook on cuisine, Chef Smith favours wholesome ingredients including micro-greens, quinoa, barley and lentils.
Chef Maurizio Paparo
In 1993, Maurizio purchased the Excelsior Café and reopened as the Excelsior Inn Ristorante Italiano. Maurizio's culinary career spans 30 years, beginning his culinary education at the young age of 14 apprenticing at a hospitality school in Florence, Italy. With recipes published in Gourmet Magazine among others, Maurizio prepares meals using the freshest of local, organic ingredients, just like he did in Florence. "I have always understood food to be the nourishment of life. Besides preserving the nutritional value, you want to take time to enjoy your meal and find a nice wine to pair with it."
Chef Laura Danieli
Chef Danieli was 13 years old when she worked at a bakery; she walked to her job after class in junior high. Her mother and grandmother taught her to bake when she was very young - and Laura still loves baking to this day! Graduating from the Santa Rosa JC Culinary Arts Program in Baking and Pastry Arts, she enjoys working with great flour and seasonal fruits and vegetables. "Keep it simple, neat, clean. Don't complicate the food or cover it up with heavy sauces. Good food can stand alone."
Chef Mark Linback
Chef Linback has been working in restuarants since the age of 15, graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Standing here next to the garden planted behind the Blue Wing restaurant, Chef Linback loves to infuse dishes with fresh herbs. Taking inspiration from the Slow Food Movement, he enjoys introducing creative seasonal specialties using local ingredients. "I like the challenge involved in making the familiar exceptional."