Sunday April 20, 2014 4:22 AM
The Driskill Grill
Chef Jonathan Gelman has traveled
from one prestigious resort
and hotel to the next honing his
That journey has included stints as executive
chef for L’Auberge de Sedona, a AAA
four-diamond luxury resort and spa in Sedona,
Arizona; owner and executive chef of
Napa Gardens; executive chef of Michael’s at
The Citadel; executive chef at Monarch Bay
Resort; sous chef at the Hyatt Waikoloa; restaurant
chef at the Hyatt Newporter; and
sous chef of The Dining Room Restaurant at
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna-Niguel, California.
Each property and role has given
Gelman a different type of experience, which
is evidenced in the menu at the Driskill Grill,
where he now runs the culinary show.
He attended college in Long Beach,
California, and worked various culinary positions
at several Hyatt Hotel Corporation
properties in California and Hawaii, before
finally graduating magna cum laude from
the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
Then he apprenticed with the U.S. Culinary
Team and later became a member of
ACF Team California.
Following his time competing with the
U.S. Culinary team, Gelman moved to Napa
Valley to further develop his food and wine
“The style of my cuisine reflects exquisite
contemporary American cuisine
with French and Mediterranean influences.
I focus on locally grown products,
seasonal ingredients, impeccable
presentation and cutting-edge menu
choices, thus creating a truly memorable
dining experience,” says Gelman.
The Driskill’s menu reflects Gelman’s
love for fresh seasonal ingredients and
desire to present food in its most perfected
natural form. Mainstays on his
menu are always filet mignon, rack of
lamb, duck, venison, and seasonal fish
and seafood from Hawaii, California,
the east coast and Europe.
Gelman, when asked about his presentations,
says he prefers to let the
ingredients speak for themselves and
jokingly refers to himself as a farmer
trapped in a chef’s body.
Don’t let this humble description of
his love for simple freshness fool you.
The dishes he creates are complex combinations
of texture, flavor and color
based on the changing seasons.
Gelman presented a rack of lamb
iron skillet roasted with panko and Dijon
mustard served over a fall squash
ratatouille, Dauphinoise potato, and
braised spinach, when asked to identify
a dish that best represents him.
This dish reflects the changing of
the season from the sweltering summer
to the crisp fall months. The presentation
of the lamb is rather expected with
Frenched Lamb Rack trimmed for the
finest presentation: a quintessential
lamb cut and very dramatic.
An unexpected feature of the presentation
is pea tendrils creeping out
from beneath the spinach, adding a
playful aspect to the presentation,
which harkens back to Gelman’s affection
for farm freshness. The ingredients
have a very warm and comforting feel
This dish can only be described as
the ultimate comfort food, which may
best be enjoyed on a crisp evening.