2006 Annual Signature Fundraising Event
A Taste of Napa
Alex Wallau, Honoree | Presenting Chefs | Dinner Commitee | Supporters| In the Press| Photos
La Toque Restaurant
1140 Rutherford Cross Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
Telephone: (707) 963-9770
Ken Frank opened La Toque in 1998 to widespread critical acclaim. La Toque, located in Rutherford, California, in the heart of the Napa Valley, is a showcase for Chef Frank's modern French Cuisine and his passion for fine wine.
In 1972, Ken Frank's father moved his close-knit family from Pasadena, California, to Yvoire, a small 16th century walled village on the French side of Lake Geneva, for a year. During the year's sojourn, as an impressionable teenager, Frank discovered richly flavored country food - local fish, in particular; stews, roasts, sausages, local farm-fresh vegetables and artisan cheeses; crusty breads and intriguing desserts. It was during the time he worked in the village restaurant that young Frank, by now fluent in French, began to learn all the facets about cooking, food preparation and the mechanics of working a kitchen - the beginning of his lifetime pursuit. The young chef wore his tall white French toque with great pride. His destiny as a chef was born.
Frank, now 50, has been cooking for 34 years beginning with summer jobs in France at age 16. He was a pioneer "Young American Chef" on the West Coast, first achieving national acclaim when he was Chef of La Guillotine Restaurant at age 21 in 1977. He was the original Chef at Michael's in Santa Monica, considered the Los Angeles birthplace of "California Cuisine," which he left in 1979 to open the original La Toque on the Sunset Strip at age 23. After a 14-year run, Frank sold La Toque in 1994 and opened the award-winning Fenix at the Argyle before moving north to open the new La Toque in Napa Valley in 1998.
Over the years, La Toque continues to receive critical acclaim. It was named as one of the Top 20 Restaurants in America by Wine Spectator in 2000 for the magazine's "America's Best Restaurants" awards. In the 2006 Zagat Survey, La Toque took First Place for French Cuisine in "Top Food North of San Francisco."