Director: Lucy Royse
A Provençal-style manor hidden in the woods of the Sierra Nevada, a domain of pines, oaks and elders, of flower beds and murmuring fountains…
"I believe that every dish needs to have that special component that reaches deep down and touches your soul - it's what intrigues and satisfies, what seduces the palate."
Chef James Overbaugh spent childhood summers in the vast gardens of his grandfather, a horticulturist who believed that vegetables are not fresh unless picked just before reaching the table. Today he continues to exhibit a passion for the freshest ingredients, together with an approach to cooking that draws on his travel experience, culinary curiosity and nineteen years of manning the stove.
His career began with an after school job at a local restaurant kitchen at the age of 15. He knew he had found his calling. Upon graduation from high school, he entered the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After receiving his diploma in 1989, he remained in Massachusetts to continue his training under three immigrant chefs. By 1992, he was awarded the position of Executive Sous Chef of the Stonehedge Inn in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, and in November of that year became the property's youngest ever Executive Chef. Three years later, he was invited to join a renowned California restaurant, Erna's Elderberry House, a Relais & Châteaux property. Under his direction, the Elderberry House kitchen maintained the AAA 5-Diamond award and was honored by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.
His food was termed "absolutely amazing" and Condé Nast reader's poll gave his kitchen a perfect score of 100 in the January 2001 edition. With over 750 hours of instruction under his toque, Chef Overbaugh is also an accomplished teacher. In February 2001, the Travel Channel's "Best Of" series featured the classes he taught at the Elderberry House as the seventh best way to live out your fantasy vacation.
In April 2001, James accepted an offer to become Executive Chef at New Orleans' 324- room Windsor Court Hotel. Under his leadership the hotel's famous Grill Room Restaurant received many accolades, including New Orleans Where magazine's designation as the city's best fine-dining restaurant. He has twice been a featured chef at the James Beard House in New York.
An unexpected opportunity for both Chef James Overbaugh and Erna Kubin-Clanin and her restaurant led to a reunion of their relationship. In January 2003, after two years at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, James Overbaugh returned to the Estate which earned its Relais Gourmands designation.
James' food is truly stupendous. The dishes of his nightly changing six-course menu burst with flavors and creativity, much to the delight of the guests and owner Erna Kubin-Clanin.
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