What is wine without food? Here are the chefs featured at the 19th Annual World of Pinot Noir.
With more than twenty years of culinary experience, spanning the continents, Chef Umit’s passion for culinary arts has taken him to many Michelin-rated kitchens around the world: The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, Castel on the Hudson in New York City, La Colombe Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa, and Savoy Hotel in London. His most recent journey brings him far from his origins in Cape Town, South Africa to the golden coast of California at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. As Executive Chef, Kaygusuz oversees the entire culinary operation for the seventy-eight acre resort.
Fostering the belief that “life is simple, keep it simple,” Chef Umit creates his menus as a foundation to build on. “I am inspired by Mediterranean and French cuisine since they have played a strong role in my background. I love to experiment and combine this cuisine with elements of North African, Indian, and Asian cooking styles” says chef Kaygusuz.
Coupled with his Grand Diploma from Cordons Bleus, his degree in architecture combines to make Kaygusuz an artist in constructing dishes to delight any palate. Inspired by his beloved grandmother, who is also a chef, Umit plays tribute to her work ethic he learned alongside her in the kitchen, and creates every dish with love, respect, and knowledge. When Umit is not in the kitchen, you can find him traveling to the Far East and African countries. Keeping to his beliefs of simplicity, he enjoys tasting wine with different types of cheeses and cured meats.
Chef/Partner, The Bear and Star, Los Olivos, California
Known for his acclaimed ventures in micro-regional cuisine, Chef John Cox earned accolades for his work
at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and La Bicyclette in Carmel before concepting and launching
The Bear and Star in Los Olivos, California, alongside the Fess Parker family in 2017. At The Bear and
Star, Chef Cox presents “refined ranch cuisine,” inspired by Texan family recipes and a California
sensibility. On any given day, guests dining at the restaurant will experience the bounty of the Parker
family’s home ranch – co-located with their 30-year old vineyard in Foxen Canyon – including
responsibly raised Wagyu beef, pork, rabbits, quail, chicken, honey, and organically grown vegetables,
herbs and fruits.
Chef Cox has appeared on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, featured on BBQ Master Steven Raichlen’s
Project Fire on PBS and participated in multiple epicurean events, including the Pebble Beach Food &
Wine Festival, Taste of Yosemite, Santa Barbara Wine Auction, Slow Food Nation in Denver, Eggfest and
the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Follow his adventures on Instagram @chefjohncox.