were evolving. I became very much of a
Francophile. I admired what these great
chefs in France were doing—how they were
creating these senses of place—and people
came to them. They had a certain amount of
freedom and creativity that I was drawn to.
I fell in love with Spanish food and the
way they ate there. It was something very
different and certainly off the map. For me,
it’s really about learning different things,
learning different cultures and just expanding
my repertoire more than anything else.
With Japan, the appeal was the importance
of service pieces being integrated into
the dish and how important it was just as
much as the food being pleasing to the eye.
And how they cook these incredibly delicious
dishes without a gratuitous amount
of fat—sometimes no fat at all. I found that
70 South Bay Accent
SBA: You’ve been developing a small food
empire, opening new operations like the third
ManresaBread location and two informal
restaurants. What’s been going on lately and
what can guests expect at your restaurants?
DK: We’ve opened up another retail bakery,
on Campbell Avenue. It has a beer and wine
license and we’ve expanded the concept just
a little bit and went from ManresaBread to
The Bywater (in Los Gatos) is a fun,
neighborhood place; it’s supposed to be casual
and fun and easy. There’s a great playlist
that’s probably played a little bit too loud.
For us to be recognized by Michelin with
a Bib Gourmand was a complete surprise
and made us very happy.
It’s the same thing with Manresa. It’s not
a cheap restaurant. It’s a special-occasion
restaurant, but we want people to come
in, have a great time. We want them to
dance out of the restaurant and not feel like
they’ve been killed with food. Even though
it’s cost them a fair amount of money, we
want them to say to themselves, “Man, I
can’t wait to go back and do that again.”
I’m very fortunate that the restaurant is
quite busy on a regular basis.
SBA: What about your newest place, which
will open this spring in Aptos?
DK: The name of the restaurant is Mentone,
which is the Italian name for the French
border town of Menton along the Riviera.
We feel the name evokes me and my partner’s
fundamentally French background and
will be our interpretation of a Riviera-style
cuisine. We hope to show our interpretation
of the Riviera, as represented by both
France and Italy between Genoa and Nice
in a casual and fun style.
ERIC WOLFINGER; OPPOSITE FROM LEFT: AUBRIE PICK, COURTESY OF THE BYWATER