Jen and Greg met while working together at the world-famous French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, CA. Greg was the wine sommelier; Jen did just about every job possible at the restaurant, before finally becoming director of special events for owner Thomas Keller’s California properties.
But when it came to choosing the location for their wedding, it was a no-brainer to ask Keller if they could have it at the place where it all started. French Laundry has hosted private events in the past, but this was its first wedding.
Jen and Greg were married in the French Laundry’s garden across the street from the restaurant. Keller and his fiancée Laura Cunningham were present, as well as the executive chef and several of the restaurant’s investors. After the ceremony, guests were treated to a 12-course lunch (the restaurant was closed to regular customers), with carefully chosen wine pairings.
Some of the courses included:
– Oysters and Pearls (pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar). This is one of French Laundry’s signature dishes.
– Japanese Ensui uni
– Calotte du boeuf grillée
– Brentwood corn agnolotti with black truffles
We were in the kitchen to photograph each dish as the finishing details were applied before presentation. With every emerging course, we couldn’t help but think to ourselves, “I hope these guests know how incredibly lucky they are to be at this wedding!” It was definitely a feast fit for a king, or rather, for two people who gave this legendary restaurant their heart and soul for almost a decade.
Once their bellies were full of some of the most amazing cuisine of their lives, plus a little wedding cake and port, everyone paraded down the street to local dive bar Pancha’s, where Jen and Greg and their co-workers used to hang out after work. Here, the celebration abandoned all formality and couth, as tequila shots were passed and billiard balls were racked. Jen even climbed on top of the bar to throw her bouquet.
Anyone driving by the bar, where guests were ordering burritos from the taco truck parked out back, would never have guessed this crew had just eaten a 12-course lunch at one of the most famous and most expensive restaurants in the country. But it was truly the perfect ending to this milestone of a day.
Jen and Greg got to have their haute cuisine and eat it too. Topped off by a few tequila shots and tacos.