About Our Chefs
Greg Cole, Chef/Owner
Greg Cole is the executive chef and owner of Celadon and Cole's Chop House, both located in historic downtown Napa. His love of food and wine has created two of the most highly respected restaurants in the Napa Valley. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, he came to the Napa Valley in 1985 to work with Chef Philippe Jeanty in the kitchen of Domaine Chandon. He went on to chef positions at Pasta Prego and Ristorante Piatti. In 1990 Greg’s passion for wine led him to join the winemaking team of Robert Sinskey Vineyards. At Sinskey, Greg worked with respected winemakers Joe Cafaro and Jeff Virnig. In addition to cellar work, he promoted wine sales throughout the country. He cooked and hosted dinners pairing food and wine in top restaurants and cooking schools nationwide.
In September of 1996 Greg and his wife and business partner, Beth Fairbairn, opened the award-winning Celadon restaurant in downtown Napa. Celadon pioneered the fine dining scene in the city of Napa with Chef Cole’s style of 'Global Comfort Food'. Local and national acclaim followed and in 1998 Greg was selected as one of the 24 "hottest young chefs" in America by the Wine Spectator. Celadon received a three star rating in the San Francisco Examiner and four stars in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. USA TODAY selected Celadon as one of the 'ten great places to dine at the bar'. Celadon has received the Zagat Survey "Award of Distinction" and has been a Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" recipient for its innovative and food-friendly wine list since 1997. In the summer of 2002 Celadon moved to a larger location in the Historic Napa Mill, one of downtown’s restored riverfront jewels.
Cole's Chop House opened in March of 2000. Serving 'Classic American Steak House' cuisine, Cole's Chop House was an immediate favorite of locals and visitors. A Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" and Wine Enthusiast Magazine “Award of Unique Distinction” wine program features Cabernet Sauvignon from the area’s finest small producers. Cole's Chop House has been selected as San Francisco's top rated Steakhouse in the Zagat Survey for the last three years and named 'one of the top five steak houses' in the Best of Bay Area Dining by San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. Cole’s Chop House has been featured in Gourmet, Food Arts, Bon Appetit and Sunset magazines.
Greg is the host of "Today in the Wine Country", a local radio show covering food trends in the wine country and beyond. The show airs Tuesday mornings from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Napa’s KVON 1440AM. Chef Cole won KVON’s 2006 Best of Napa and Sonoma Valley award for ‘Best Local Chef’. He is a guest chef on Karen MacNeil's new PBS series Wine, Food and Friends. The nationally syndicated program features Chef Cole preparing dishes paired with wines chosen by MacNeil, Culinary Institute of America at Greystone wine educator and author of The Wine Bible. Greg and Beth were honored with the Napa Chamber of Commerce 2005 Business of the Year Award for Celadon and Cole’s Chop House.
Greg’s commitment to the community is evidenced by his support of many local charity events. Cole’s Chop House was one of ten local restaurants chosen to prepare dinner for Wine Auction Napa Valley 2005. The event was one of the most successful in its history. Other causes supported by Chef Cole’s establishments are: American Red Cross, Jewish Home of San Francisco, American Cancer Society, Queen of the Valley Hospital, Community Health Clinic Olé, Children’s Hospital Oakland, Boys & Girls Club, and numerous local public and private schools.
Greg resides with Beth and their two children in downtown Napa.
Jesús Méndez, Chef De Cuisine
Jesús Méndez is the Chef De Cuisine of Cole's Chop House. A native of the state of Jalisco in central Mexico, Chef Méndez arrived in California in 1985 to work with Greg Cole at Pasta Prego, an authentic Italian Trattoria inspired and designed by noted San Francisco restaurateur Carlo Middione in the city of Napa. His next position took him to Silverado Country Club in Napa where he cooked in both the Royal Oak Steak House and Vintner's Court Restaurant.
went on to cook at Fusilli Ristorante in Fairfield CA, working his way up to chef. While at Fusilli, he worked with Chef Mark Allen Catrambone currently chef de cuisine of The Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston. He left Fusili in 1997 to work for Robert Sinskey Vineyards in both the cellar and kitchen where he worked with wine maker Jeff Virnig and chef Maria Helm. While working with Maria Helm, Chef Méndez had the opportunity to assist in the Culinary Program at RSV and work with a group of notable chefs including Charles Dale of Renaissance in Aspen, James Ormsby of Red Herring in San Francisco, Michael Schloss of Cafe Louis in Boston, Donia Bijan of L'Amie Donia and Jesse Cool of Flea Street Cafe both of Palo Alto.
For two years prior to the opening of Cole's Chop House, Chef Méndez worked in the kitchen of Celadon with Chefs Greg Cole and Zolian Ruiz.
Rodney Morris, Sous Chef