Our ever-popular Live Music on the Patio is back! Click here for our fantastic line-up of local jazz, country, folk and world beat!
Darren joined the team in April 2009 after previously opening Sebastopol’s West County Grill in 2007, where he served as Chef and Operating Partner. Darren’s passion for cooking and commitment to organic farming, along with his broad background and exceptional management skills, have been huge assets to Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and will no doubt be a fundamental part of the culinary picture at the newly opened Cindy Pawlcyn's Wood Grill & Wine Bar (CP's).
He distinguishes himself as a chef by virtue of his passion and upbringing, despite not having formal culinary training. He says that he “somewhat fell into the restaurant business” and was perhaps inspired by the fact that he was encouraged as a child to eat a wide variety of foods. His parents challenged McRonald and his brothers to try new foods, offering a gold star at dinner to the boy who sampled the most new foods. So it is no surprise that he has become an open-minded eater.
Darren worked in restaurants all through high school and college, but it was at Table 29 in Napa Valley in 1991, as the Pastry Sous Chef, where he actually launched his cooking career. Darren then went to New York City to work at the famed Le Cirque. He moved on from there to Chez Panisse and spent four years fine-tuning his skills in all kitchen positions before moving back to the East Coast, where he was Chef de Cuisine at a number of notable Manhattan restaurants. He then spent six years as the Executive Chef and General Manager of the Tinhorn in Upstate New York. Darren completed his East Coast tenure as Chef de Cuisine at Bellavitae, one of New York Times “Best New Restaurants of the Year“ in 2005.
“I feel as if I am coming full circle,” observes Chef McRonald. “Napa Valley launched my culinary career and after all of those years on the East Coast, it is remarkable to find myself back in the very heart of the Napa wine country. Diners come to St. Helena to experience exceptional wine country and locally driven cuisine. I am deeply honored to have been selected by Chef Pawlcyn to join CP's and to use my skills and experience in such a coveted setting. This will be great fun – for me, for the staff and for all of our guests!”