Chef Kyle Connaughton in the kitchen of Single Thread, the restaurant-farm-inn he and his wife have dreamed for years of creating.
Healdsburg’s Single Thread is an ambitious, high-end restaurant. It is an organic, sustainable farm. And it is a luxurious inn.
It is also the most hotly anticipated opening of the year.
Above all, it is a labor of love and dedication by husband-and-wife team Chef Kyle Connaughton and farmer Katina Connaughton.
After two long years of construction, it finally opened its doors to the public last Friday. I had a chance to check it all out at a media dinner held just a few days before that.
Connaughton’s impressive credentials include cooking at Heston Blumenthal’s the Fat Duck in the United Kingdom and Michel Bras’ Toya Japon in Hokkaido. Katina learned the tenets of sustainability while working on a strawberry farm in Japan.
It was under construction for two years.
Just a few steps off the square.
Together, that ethos of serene Eastern hospitality and utmost respect for the land imbue the restaurant, which they built almost from the ground up. The former post office right off the square was supposed to be a tasting room with lodging for Seghesio Vineyards. But when the winery was sold to Crimson Wine Group, the property became available. And the Connaughtons pounced on it for their dream restaurant.
You wouldn’t normally expect to find trendy, liquid nitrogen-molecular gastronomy cooking going on inside an 1881-era Victorian mansion.
But at Madrona Manor in Healdsburg, that’s just what you’ll enjoy at the acclaimed Michelin one-star restaurant on the premises of this 22-room historic inn nestled in the hills above the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County.
Recently, I was invited to be a guest of the inn, which is charmingly decorated with period antiques and art pieces, including hand-painted wooden dolls and a framed Victorian lace wedding gown. The rooms feature fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are left by the bedside to welcome you.
Executive Chef Jesse Mallgren has cooked alongside some of the biggest names in the industry, including Jeremiah Tower and Gary Danko.
He draws inspiration from local ingredients, including the 3/4-acre organic garden on the premises, where he harvests tomatoes, herbs, greens and fruit that show up in many dishes on the menu.