Packed Every Night …
What would be a very nice problem for a new restaurant to have? To be packed every night! And that’s what Dustin Valette, the chef/owner of the Matheson in Healdsburg told the Insider has been happening since he recently opened his three-story eatery on Matheson Ave in Healdsburg.
“Hey, I’m not complaining,” Dustin said with a mild chuckle. “But man, ever since the doors have opened all three levels have been packed. The bar on the main floor has been a zoo and we’ve got people lined up to get onto the rooftop patio. It’s been overwhelming. But we love it.”
The Insider had always wanted to chat with chef Dustin, but he has been so maniacally busy setting up the Matheson that we had missed each other a few times in trying to connect. But now he had a chance to take a breath. Plus, he’s also hosting two special events on Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1st for the Sonoma Epicurean where proceeds go towards cancer research by the V Foundation. The Edible Forage event takes place April 1 will be an exploration of award-winning wines paired with locally grown and foraged produce from Sonoma. And the Epic After Party Roof 106 event takes place March 31 with adventurous cocktails and delicious small plates from a wood fire oven. More motivation to promote the event, get in touch with Dustin and do the NSI quiz. Cheers and enjoy.
What was last night’s dinner? I cooked for two years in Hawaii at the Mandarin Oriental so a lot of Asian influences slip into my cooking, therefore I had grilled sushi with avocado chips and it was delicious.
What’s your favorite music? That’s a toughie, the wife and kids are always playing their music when I’m at home, but if I got a quiet moment at the end of the night, I like a little country.
What’s your favorite drink? That’s another toughie. I mean, I love to pair a well-balanced Cab with a steak, but if I want to relax at the end of a long night on the line, I like a good bourbon like Weller on the rocks.
What’s your favorite place to dine in Sonoma besides yours? Oh, there’s so many good ones, depends on my mood, but if I have to choose one, it’s Single Thread.
What makes a great restaurant? In a word, passion. You got to be dedicated but if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, you care about the nuances and the subtle textures of a meal that can just make it sing and wow the diner.
Favorite thing about living and working in Sonoma? That’s easy, to live in Healdsburg, which I think is one of the finest dining spots in the U.S. if not the world. Just such a bounty of incredible home-grown food, that you’d have to be an idiot to not appreciate it.
Any brush with celebrity? Oh tons, but not a lot I can talk about, but I did get to cook for Joe Montana and sip some wine with him which was very cool.
Any wine, restaurant or trip on your bucket list? I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo and just dine everywhere. I find the culture, the food and the people very intriguing.
Final thoughts? Just to say, what an honor and joy it is to cook for and host events for the V Foundation. My grandmothers and mother-in-law have been affected and I’m proud of the contributions we have made. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way and it’s such a joy to help something that is way bigger than me.