After working several years at Chicago’s  iconic  Pump Room, Chef Jose Mejia yearned for the sunny skies of California. The Florida native, though proud of his work and trajectory in the Windy City, was tiring of the harsh winters, and he set his sights specifically on Napa Valley, where he hoped to  land a position with his idol, Chef Thomas Keller. Before he had even unpacked his bags, Mejia found  himself working in the kitchen at Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Yountville.  After two years, Mejia ventured to The Meritage Resort & Spa’s Olive & Hay restaurant, where he now leads the kitchen team as Executive Chef.

chef meja

“Those Chicago winters were really tough on this Florida boy,” laughed Mejia. “I knew I wanted a different quality of life, and I wanted to learn from someone at Chef Keller’s level. I wanted to study his philosophy and take-in everything I could. I was looking to branch out and grow on a different level.”

And he did. His attention to every detail paid off. Under  the  guidance  of The Meritage Resort’s Executive Chef  Vincent  Lesage,  Mejia success- fully launched Olive & Hay Restaurant in February 2020. His passion for curating and delivering an unparalleled dining experience for guests has made the restaurant a popular dining destination. The contemporary American/Italian restaurant combines the best of Italy and Napa Valley with an ever-changing menu featuring house-made, always from scratch items. Mejia uses the freshest, seasonal ingredients sourced from Napa, Sonoma, and Suisun City farmers with whom he has forged personal relationships.

olive and hay

Mejia received  his bachelor’s  degree in hotel and  restaurant  management from The Art Institute and also received his associate’s degree in culinary arts  from Le Cordon Bleu. At Chicago’s Pump Room, he served as sous chef, leading a team of eight. While at Michelin-starred Bouchon Bistro, he served  as  saucier- chef de partie and led a team  of  five.  It was these leadership skills that caught  the eye of The Meritage management. “Chef Jose is a fantastic culinarian and leader, bringing positive energy to the kitchen and front of the house,” said  David Ryan, The Meritage Resort & Spa Managing Director.

 


 

THE BIG ITALIAN SALAD

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

  • romaine
  • radicchio
  • corona beans
  • artichokes
  • salami
  • chickpeas
  • pepperoncini
  • optional additional seasonal Napa market vegetables

 

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

SET 1

  • 3 1/2 Tbs garlic
  • 2/3 cups red bell pepper
  • 2/3 cups shallot
  • 3 1/3 Tbs thyme-picked-no stems
  • 3 1/3 Tbs oregano-picked-no stems

SET 2

  • 1 ¾ cups O+H olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chardonnay vinegar
  • 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 2/3 Tbs salt
  • 1 2/3 Tbs sugar

INSTRUCTIONS: Take all of set 1 and rough chop, then place inside a food processor. Process a couple times, scraping down the sides as to ensure everything becomes the same size. Mix set 2 together in another container until incorporated, and then add half of it to the processor with set 1. Process for a few seconds, then add the rest of set 2. Process all for 30 seconds and dress your salad.

 

olive and hay logo

875 Bordeaux Way, Napa, CA 94558

707-251-1940