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Review: Twist Eatery - The Chef Speaks

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Review: Twist Eatery - The Chef Speaks

by Vesta Copestakes

Twist logoJeff Young, the Chef/Owner and Toni Echols, the Decorator/Owner of Twist Eatery located at 6536 Front Street, Forestville started a new journey in 2012 when they converted what was formally known as a deli to what is now known as a restaurant.  A very good restaurant I might add. They began looking for a restaurant space in 2011 and kept coming back to Forestville. In 2012, having the opportunity of 3 locations, they decided on the quaintest of them. They wanted a small eatery and began the conversion of the deli to Twist. Lots and lots of scrubbing, paint and new equipment and a hand crafted L-shaped bar using salvaged woods from Hawaii gave them the West County ambience they were looking for. The name of the restaurant came from a journalist who interviewed Jeff years ago and made the comment, “you put a twist to all your food.”  While trying to think of a name Toni came across the article and the rest is history. This venture was created by the excitement of blending a restaurant with their catering business. However, the restaurant has become successful to the point that the catering has taken a back seat. They still cater to a select group of wineries that seek out Jeff’s expertise at food and wine pairing, along with a limited amount of other caterings. 

Jeff and ToniJeff started cooking when he was ten.  His sister taught him how to bake.  By the time he was 17, his family and friends encouraged him to pursue a cooking career. In the early 80’s, he attended the Cañada College 2 year Culinary Program, and hit the ground running.  He moved to Sonoma County to pursue his love of food and wine. He worked in a variety of great restaurants, the likes of Chateau Souverain, Plaza Grill and Tre Scalini. He then followed his passion for food and wine pairing to Cuivaison Winery as there chef, followed by a 2 year stint as the Executive Chef at the Farmhouse Inn. He was then offered a position as the first Culinary Director at Alexander Valley Vineyards, where for the next 11 years he created some of the counties finest food and wine pairings. Entertaining, distributors, dignitaries and friends of the Wetzel family. The 2 acre vegetable garden on site was his source for the produce to create outstanding meals. He has longed sourced products from local growers and providers to accomplish his goal of serving real food to his customers.  As Jeff likes to say, “World cuisine, locally sourced.”  The sensation of food is something he wants to share with everyone.  Food makes him happy.  

He left Alexander Valley Vineyards in 2009 to become a full time caterer together with his then partner, now wife, Toni.  Jeff gives great praise to Toni for decorating Twist, going from the old deli counter to a welcoming restaurant.  The ambience is just lovely.  In addition to the bar style seating on the inside, the outside has been improved with plants and flowers, an enclosed shaded patio, new tables, benches and an umbrella for additional shade.  Toni likes to greet you with the daily specials board and a warm welcome to the restaurant.  Full service hospitality is on the menu. Toni’s background makes this easy as she was formerly the owner of Jacob Horner, a restaurant in Healdsburg in the mid 80’s, and then Director of Hospitality at such renowned wineries as Simi, Lancaster Estate and Alexander Valley Vineyards.  

Speaking of the menu, Jeff puts out some amazing flavors like his orange raspberry dressing.  His chicken salad is some of the best I have ever had.  It’s clear that his food is local, fresh and tasty. At this printing, their seasonal OMG BLT is back on the menu, and will remain until Heirlooms are done for the season. Jeff starts with the basic product and the creative side kicks in.

Jeff and Toni live in Healdsburg, and he points out that the price for local fresh organic supplies are the same throughout the County.  It’s great for some of us that we only have to travel to downtown Forestville.

For further information about the restaurant and their catering business, you can call Twist at 707-820-8443 or check out their website at: www.twisteatery.com.