16th Annual Signature Fundraising Event
Taste for a Cure
Friday, April 15, 2011
Beverly Wilshire Hotel
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The Painted Lady
Most 10-year old Boy Scouts use a campfire to toast s’mores. Young Scout Allen Routt, however, chose to roast Cornish game hens over the fire instead – an early hint of the spirit and focus that would drive Allen Routt into the kitchen and on to an adventurous career.
Routt grew up in Roanoke, VA and worked in a local Mexican restaurant before enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America when he was 19 years old. Routt had the curiosity, drive and discipline, and accepted an internship at San Francisco’s iconic farm fresh restaurant One Market under chef Bradley Ogden – now a one-star Michelin restaurant. “The quality and sheer variety of product Ogden was bringing into the kitchen each day boggled my mind,” says Routt. One Market’s fast paced environment, alliance with local farmers and attention to detail offered Routt a crash course in the value of incorporating a sense of place on the plate.
Upon graduating from the CIA in 1994, Routt moved to the East Coast where he honed his skills under acclaimed chef Patrick O’Connell, who many consider “the Pope of American cuisine” at his tiny Inn at Little Washington in Virginia. Routt spent more than one year with O’Connell and it was there that he fell in love with the idea of owning in a cozy restaurant with history like the Inn. Later he worked alongside French Chef Jean-Louis Palladin at Pesce and then Watergate Restaurant in Washington, DC. Routt refined his French technique under Palladin, and soon took off on a flavor journey throughout Europe.
After eating his way through France, Spain and Italy, Routt moved to bustling Miami Beach, Florida to open Mark’s South Beach restaurant with chef Mark Militello. Miami’s energy was intoxicating, and Routt soon mastered the balance of precise technique and beautiful plating.
While Routt ran Mark’s kitchen, he couldn’t help but notice the young Oregon native Jessica Bagley working on the line. They quickly fell in love over the stove and 2 years later, the two young chefs married and set their sights on California’s Napa Valley. Routt landed a position at Kendall-Jackson winery and shortly after Routt moved into the Executive Chef role at Brannan’s in Calistoga, a market driven restaurant where high quality farm fresh food and fine wine are inextricably linked.
Not long after moving to Napa, Routt and Bagley started envisioning their own restaurant - a place where each night’s menu would be built around seasonal ingredients dropped off by neighboring farmers, where they would pour local wines, and more than anything, develop lasting friendships with their vendors and customers. They wanted to join a community deeply rooted in food and wine. The location had to be in a lush valley, and Bagley’s native Oregon was perfect. After a stint in Las Vegas at Alex Stratta’s Renoir, their dream came true.
In May of 2005, Routt and Bagley put a down payment on a charming two-story Victorian home in Newberg, Oregon. The couple moved to the second floor of the nineteenth century home and tirelessly turned it into a restaurant in 3 months. On Memorial Day weekend in 2005, the wine-red front door opened for guests, making their dream of owning and operating a restaurant in wine country a reality.