Meet Silver Oak Winery Chef - Dominic Orsini

New Release! 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet


Meet Chef Dominic Orsini

He may have honed his culinary skills in New York and Napa Valley, but Winery Chef Dominic Orsini credits his grandmother for steering him toward a life in food: “She married an Italian and spent her life proving that she could cook just as well as her Italian sisters-in-law.” A childhood spent eating homegrown strawberries and handmade gnocchi heavily influenced Dominic’s cooking philosophy. “A meal should be a snapshot of a moment in time,” he says. “It should reflect the weather, the time of day, what’s fresh at the market and the mood of the guests attending.”

At Silver Oak, Dominic focuses on creating menus and recipes that “let the wine shine.” Describing his style as “soulful” Italian with “big-city appeal,” he also draws from French and Spanish culinary traditions. Many of his ingredients – such as olives and herbs – come from our organic garden and winery grounds, and several he produces himself, including prosciutto, ricotta and mozzarella.

Excluding a two-year stint as sous chef at the legendary Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, Dominic has spent his career almost exclusively in Wine Country. “Wine was such a big part of my culinary education,” he says. “And for a chef, Wine Country is the place to be.” After graduating from the American Culinary Institute, Dominic worked in a range of highly regarded Napa Valley kitchens, including Brannan’s Grill and Bar Vino in Calistoga. The Meritage Resort in Napa, where he was banquet chef de cuisine; and at the Roux Restaurant in St. Helena from 2002-2003, which was named one of the “Top 50 Restaurants 2002” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dominic lives in Napa with his pastry-chef wife, Penelope, and their two sons.

Our Kitchen and Garden

Photo of Garden

When we were designing the Oakville winery, we wanted to create a place where visitors would use all of their senses to experience our wines. That’s why we offer guests the opportunity to taste our wines with foods which is ultimately the way they’re meant to be enjoyed.

Features of our kitchen and garden:

  • The Chef’s Kitchen is stocked with state-of-the-art equipment as well as Chef Dominic’s house-cured meats, cheeses, breads and hand-ground spices.
  • Our organic gardens produce seasonal herbs and vegetables for many of the dishes Chef Dominic prepares.
  • A Mugnaini Wood-Burning oven is where Chef makes his perfectly crusted homemade pizzas, breads, paellas and more.