N HIS BOOK Cooked: A Natural History of
Transformation, Michael Pollan writes,
“For is there any practice less selfish, any
labor less alienated, any time less wasted,
than preparing something delicious and
nourishing for people you love?” To which we’d
add this footnote: Especially during the holidays?
If food is love, then it was warmth all around
on a rainy night last November when chef Todd
Shoberg assembled a crowd of chefs, farmers,
cattle ranchers and foodies to celebrate the winter harvest and the imminent opening of his Mill
Valley restaurant, Molina. It was a small taste, if
you’ll forgive the pun, of things to come. Molina,
a 42-seat restaurant that opened in March, has
since become known for its creative seasonal
dishes, garnering raves from the San Francisco
Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine.
Last winter, though, Shoberg was simply
cooking for a group of friends, many of whom
arrived bearing gifts. Jesse Kuhn of Marin
Roots Farm came with freshly picked greens.
Emila Heller and her daughter brought pea
shoots and onions from Green Gulch Farm.
Loren and Lisa Poncia, of Stemple Creek Ranch,
provided a mouthwatering cut of grass-fed beef.
They were joined by people like Ged Robertson,
former owner of Small Shed Flatbreads (where
Molina now stands), chef/restaurateur Gordon
Drysdale, chef Chris Fernandez, who preceded
Shoberg as culinary director at Moana Group, and
Sebastian Lowrey, who took over for Shoberg at
Piatti Ristorante and Bar Mill Valley. It was a veritable who’s who of the Marin foodie scene.
The group gathered in a modernist Kent-Woodlands home, the center of which was a long
table adorned with gold chargers, white plates
and simple silver holiday decorations from the
newly opened West Elm in Strawberry Village. To
complement the rustic feel, drinks were served in
Lagunitas Brewing Company mason jars.