Raised in the Alsace region of France, chef Yvon Goetz brings a classic French sensibility to The Winery kitchen. His emphasis—quality ingredients and making everything from scratch—was brought on by his early years, which taught him that fresh and homemade is always better. bask caught up with Goetz to chat about his favorite after-school snack turned standout menu item and his go-to wine for celebrations.
How is The Winery’s menu influenced by your upbringing in France?
From an early age, I was taught to respect fruits and vegetables, and to grow my own at home. Today, I use the best possible quality ingredients, especially fruits and vegetables. I also learned to make everything from scratch—jams, canned fruits, Cornichons, crème fraiche, fromage blanc, homemade schnapps, charcuterie, breads, pastries, the list goes on and on and on. Today, I take great pride in running a scratch kitchen that focuses on making those ingredients that are unique to The Winery.
Talk a little more about how your early years cooking with your grandmother in Alsace influenced your cooking style.
My style is classically French, which is a direct result of my early ‘apprenticeship’ with my grandmother! She made everything from scratch the classic way, from sauces and stews, to homemade pastas! And everything was always so delicious. That’s where the love of cooking started.
What is the most popular item on the menu, and why do you think diners are drawn to it?
Guests love the Zinfandel-braised bone-in Short Ribs on our menu! I think it’s the type of gourmet ‘comfort food’ diners are drawn to because of how rich and warming it can be. It has been on our menu since day one and I don’t think it will ever come off!
What is your personal favorite menu item?
YG’s Alsatian Pizza, by far. It’s a dish I grew up with in Alsace—my grandparents made it for me as a snack after school. It’s unique in flavor and my guests will agree, it’s a must-try dish at The Winery.
What do you think is the most exciting new culinary trend?
I really like that chefs are growing their own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. It’s nice to be able to source hyper-locally and foods just taste better with fresh ingredients.
What distinguishes the Newport and Tustin restaurants, and how do you decide which menu items are best suited to each?
The menus are very similar at each location, but with our Newport Beach location on the waterfront, I put a little more emphasis on seafood. We take our guests’ lead when making decisions on menu offerings and it seems that the location influences tastes.
How does the restaurant industry differ from Europe in the states?
I believe the main difference is the professionalism, the passion, and respect for the industry. It comes from years of tradition in the kitchen and front of the house. Not only in a restaurant, but also at home. When attending Culinary School in Strasbourg, the rules were very strict—similar to being in the military!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your cooking career?
Make it nice, or make it twice!
What do you look for when going out to eat?
Eating out is part of my job. I love to try different places and see what’s new and where the trends are headed.
What ingredient can you not live without?
It’s hard to pick one. Of course, salt and pepper, but as a fresh ingredient I would say mushrooms. When I was younger, I would pick my own Chanterelle, morels, black trumpets, and oyster mushroom in the forests of Alsace.
What is your favorite wine for special occasions?
I am a Champagne guy! Bubbles go with everything and at any time. Veuve Clicquot Rose is one of my favorites.
What do you have planned for your future with The Winery?
We are always looking to expand our footprint and enter into new markets that make sense for our brand. I am confident that we have built a brand that is exciting and appealing to a wide variety of tastes, so don’t be surprised if you hear about plans for The Winery number three soon!
The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar
The District 2647 Park Ave., Tustin, CA 92782 ~ 949.258.7600 | 3131 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663 ~ 949.999.6622 | TheWineryRestaurant.net