Peter Brown has the easy air and big open heart of his hometown of Honolulu. Though raised as a vegan from the age of 4, Peter found his first professional cooking gig at a neighborhood deli. Later he managed a vegetarian kitchen before leaving Hawaii for New York to attend the Natural Gourmet Cookery School, at the time the only accredited natural foods culinary program in the country that taught cooking from a perspective of sustainability, whole foods and healing cuisine, drawing from both western and eastern traditions.
During this time, he interned at Hawaiian chef Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurant in Manhattan, where was introduced to a fast-paced, fine dining kitchen. Peter stayed in New York for the next four years, cooking for private clients with special dietary needs, as well as catering thorughout Manhattan, often with the renowned Mood Food Catering Company. He left NY for a change of scenery in California, one week before September 11, 2001.
On the West Coast, he got his first taste of California Wine Country, stumbled into Santi Restaurant, then in Geyserville, resume in hand. Within minutes, he had a new job and a new place to call home.
Peter worked under Jordan Winery chefs Tom Odin and Franco Dunn but felt the pull to return home and, after a year, went back to Hawaii where he worked with Chef Hiroshi Fukui, at L’Uraku restaurant. There he honed his chops in a grueling, 6 nights a week lead line cook position. Later, he was hired as a private chef and nutritious for famed Irish dancer Michael Flatley. Starting in Barbados for 2 months this job took him around the world-cooking and foraging for food from Las Vegas to Sardinia and beyond.
But always in the back of his mind was Sonoma County, which represented the seasonal, healthy, uncomplicated food that defined his cooking. And it had the pull of his other passions – foraging for mushrooms, cycling and songwriting. So, after a year of nearly continuous travel, Peter found himself once again in Healdsburg, first as a caterer, then as the chef at the Les Mars Hotel, as well as working crush with award winning winemaker Fred Scherrer and then in 2007, Peter became the full time chef at Jimtown Store.
“Healdsburg is the only place I ever moved back to,” he says.
Peter continues to spend his days working, improving on his mountain bike times throughout the mountains and back roads of Sonoma County, writing songs and playing music and cooking and eating with friends. His food is beautifully prepared yet simple served with a wry sense of humor and a searing, dry wit.
And yes, he now eats meat.
(learn more about Peter & Jimtown Store here – http://www.jimtown.com/home/)
Chef Peter Brown’s Boulder Lamb Two Ways
1 4–5-lb. boneless leg of Colorado lamb
Kosher salt, to taste
8 cloves garlic
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Aleppo pepper
15 sprigs fresh rosemary
1. Put lamb in a roasting pan and make 3 incisions in lamb, spaced about 3″ apart, down to the bone. Season lamb generously with salt; set aside. Put garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced. Add oil, lemon juice, mustard, and Aleppo pepper and purée. Rub mixture all over lamb and let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Build a medium-hot fire on one side of a charcoal grill. Tuck rosemary underneath lamb. Put roasting pan on grill so that it cooks over indirect heat (or into oven, reducing heat to 350˚ after 20 minutes) and cook, lid down, turning once and basting occasionally with the juices in the pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 135˚ (for medium), about 1 hour. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let cool for 20 minutes. Carve lamb and serve.
SERVES 6 – 8