Director: Patrick Skovran
A Youthful Passion
Gary Danko was reared in the small town of Massena in upstate New York. He credits his parents for his strong work ethic. Cooking was learned at his mother's knee. A Louisiana native, she deftly balanced flavors through the judicious use of simple seasonings, and focused on farm-fresh ingredients. Those lessons guide him to this day. His father, an architect and builder, launched Danko's interest in restaurants when he undertook the remodeling of The Village Inn, a local eatery. Danko, then only fourteen years old, worked his way through high school at that restaurant, and had worked in all facets of the business by the time he graduated in 1975.
Danko's successes can be attributed to his many years of study and hard work, combined with an innate ability to create dishes of both elegance and depth that evoke the simple pleasures and warmth of home cooking.
Fine Local Products, Refined Global Flavors
Danko combines classical training with focuses on French, Mediterranean, and regional American cooking. He incorporates influential culinary traditions from around the world into his own work, adding seasonings and techniques drawn from Asia and India. He infuses precise technique with creative flair and adventuresome spirit to create a cuisine of great finesse and balanced flavors. Danko is dedicated to using seasonal, locally grown and raised foods. He forged close relationships with artisan cheese, meat, and produce suppliers long before other chefs discovered the virtues of this approach. He has recently acquired property in the Napa Valley that will be developed as a small farm to grow produce and herbs for the restaurant. "We're constantly burnishing and upgrading here. This will ensure us greater control over the ingredients we use," says Danko. "We're organic in the true sense of the word," he laughs.
"My cooking is not cutting edge," insists Danko. "I won't serve guinea pig food. We do not experiment on the guests!" Signature dishes of roast lobster, foie gras, and lamb loin are served year round, and accompaniments reflect the changes in season. For example, seared foie gras, paired with Bing cherries in late spring, appears with roast figs in early fall.
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