Chef Michael Chiarello ’82, Napa Valley Tastemaker

Michael Chiarello '82, Founder of Napa Style
Michael Chiarello ’82, Founder of Napa Style

CIA Alumni Bio

Michael Chiarello is the tastemaker behind NapaStyle and Chiarello Family Vineyards. He was chef/owner of the former Tra Vigne Restaurant, and is now the successful owner of the Bottega Restaurant in Yountville, CA and the recently opened Coqueta on Pier Five in San Francisco. In addition, he is an Emmy-winning Food Network and Fine Living Network personality and cookbook author.

Over his 30+-year career, Michael has drawn on his Southern Italian roots and Napa Valley way of life to pioneer culinary and lifestyle innovations that inspire friends and family to gather around the table to create meaningful traditions in their own lives.

His Childhood Dream

Born in 1962 and raised in the central California community of Turlock, Michael followed his childhood dream of becoming a world-class chef. He began apprenticing in restaurants at age 14 and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, in 1982. Following attendance at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, he began his professional career opening acclaimed restaurant, Toby’s, in Miami, FL.

Restaurateur and Author

After immediate acclaim and rapid success, in 1986 he moved back to his roots to open the Tra Vigne (among the vines) Restaurant in Napa Valley, where he acted as Executive Chef/partner for it and seven other restaurants until creating NapaStyle in 2000. The author of eight cookbooks, Michael is no stranger to accolades. His Bottega Restaurant has been named Best Newcomer by Zagat, Top 10 by Forbes magazine,  Top 20 by Esquire, and Top 100 Bay Area by Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle. Coqueta restaurant (meaning flirt or infatuation in Spanish) focusing on regional dishes from Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque Country and beyond. The menu features Chiarello’s interpretation of traditional Spanish cuisine and, as has always been his tradition, will highlight the bounty of fresh, local ingredients from land and sea.

Michael incorporates his personal passion for living seasonally and sustainably into all of his businesses—from the products he designs, handpicks and tests for NapaStyle to the earth-friendly farming practices he employs at Chiarello Family Vineyards.

Chef Michael Chiarello majored in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He is an executive chef, vintner, author, television personality and restaurateur in San Francisco, CA.