Intriguing Executive Chef Who Gives Back

Paul Fields has a colorful history during his past 25 years living in Napa Valley. Trained as an ironworker, he helped build Oracle Park and the International Terminal at SFO. He also spent time as a correctional officer at San Quentin. While living in wine country, Paul developed a deep appreciation for quality food and wine and eventually pivoted his sights to embark on a culinary career. Over the years he developed a broad and comprehensive skill set working for Silverado Country Club, Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco, the Pebble Beach Company, and Oenotri, one of the Bay Areas’ Top 100 rated restaurants. When he was offered the opportunity to become Executive Chef at Napa’s award-winning Inn on Randolph, he found his niche creating interesting dishes using fresh, local ingredients.

In 2016 he decided to start his own business, Twenty-Below, a catering concept focused on creating multi-course food and wine menus served in intimate settings for twenty people or less. While in the throes of recognized success, Paul was approached to become the Executive Chef/Instructor to run the Napa Valley Salvation Army Culinary Training Academy, a program designed to help adults coming out of hardship, homelessness, and substance abuse by offering them a second-chance to re-enter the workforce. Inspired by the opportunity he would have to help make a difference, he didn’t think twice.

Paul trains the culinary students through a 15-week course teaching them everything from safe knife skills, sautéing, and planning menus. Graduates are offered jobs through partner- ships in the hospitality industry. The program is changing lives. Since its launch, 87% of the program graduates have entered the workforce in the culinary field. In 2019, Paul expanded the program with the opening of Provisions café in the Napa Commons Business Park to serve as both a training location and a source of funding for the Culinary Training Academy.

Paul’s busy career took another exciting turn this year when he was asked to become chef to Grammy award-winning artist Zach Williams during his 22 concert tour throughout the United States. The eight-week tour has Paul serving up delicious dinners for groups of 50 or more VIP’s for Zach’s “Meat and Greet” events before each show.

Paul’s passion for helping others, his focus on making food a foundational part of what life is all about, and the unwavering support from his wife Julie, inspire him to keep up the pace. Paul says “The work we put in is worth its rewards. Cooking and food are means to community, and a way to instantly make someone’s day.”

 

Article By: Laura Larson