Tag Archives: Hilary Newsom Callan

Conversations with Hilary: Executive Chef Howard Ko

This month I sat down with new friend and member of the PlumpJack family, Chef Howard Ko. We are so excited to have him on board as Executive Chef of Balboa Cafe Mill Valley. In his career to date, Howard has already worked at some of the most well-respected establishments – The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow, The French Laundry with Thomas Keller and in the kitchens of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and Daniel in New York.

Howard lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey. If you haven’t experienced Chef Ko’s food yet, you’re in for a treat. Howard takes bistro classics and adds his own modern twist. Locally sourcing his ingredients, and sometimes even foraging for them in the wilderness.

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Asking my fiancé Wendy to marry me. I never thought in a million years someone as wonderfully strong as her would agree to put up with my antics and this crazy adventure with me. We are getting married in August at San Francisco City Hall and am so excited!

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think that I am understanding but stern at the same time. People know that I am fair and I think people are drawn to my work ethic, but also my sense of humor and lightheartedness.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I would own a barbershop. I spent a lot of my childhood at barbershops and I can do a killer fade. That was my side gig during my youth.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
Making people happy. I never got into cooking just to feed people. I got into this career to create memories.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the snooze button – ha, just kidding. Make it to CrossFit. I have to take care of my body due to the demands of the business. I either CrossFit, go to the gym or for a run, and I am getting into cycling now.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
I’ve been working on Friday nights ever since I can remember but on the rare occasion I do have one off I like to try out a new restaurant and probably watch a movie.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
To get better at my craft. Cooking was something I knew I was going to do since I was in the 6th grade. I’ve been trying to perfect it ever since.

What are you passionate about now?
I’ve been cooking for 10 years now homing in on the things I don’t understand and researching them. Not knowing how to do something really bothers me when it comes to cooking. I want to know everything there is to know about it. My cookbook collection is getting rather extensive.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Spring! It’s when everything starts to come back to life. All the vegetables and fruits are so beautiful. They really add so much to dishes.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Jameson neat. Nothing fancy. It’s a cook thing. Oh and chase it with a Chimay.

What’s the #1 most played song on your music rotation?
Right now it’s Billie Jean by Michael Jackson.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandma who passed a while ago. At a young age she was the one who raised me and I felt I never appreciated that enough. I’d like to talk to her and get to know her and thank her.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Sacrifice

Do you have any regrets?
I think everyone does to some extent. I have a lot. I could have been better, I could have loved more, I could have worked harder, but then I could have sacrificed less and spent more time with family. It’s the nature of what I do and I do it because I love it.

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Define Freedom.
Being able to cook the food I love and want, and to have the support of every guest that comes into my establishment.

What are your personal core values?
To always be kind and genuine. I will help anyone out who needs it and I want to leave a legacy. Like the memories that I am trying to create, something that outlives me, my restaurant, our company.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
My fiancé Wendy, our dog Whiskey and some beers. I am a simple man with simple needs.

Conversations with Hilary: Hilary Newsom

decided to start the Conversations with Hilary series so I could feature incredibly interesting people that inspire me and who thought were making a positive impact in the community. The extraordinary people that I have been lucky enough to interview range from NFL superstars to actors, artists, musicians and philanthropists. After almost two years of this series and thousands of page views on the PlumpJack Blog, I feel honored with the response I have received from the audience. My favorite part is getting to know my friends a lot better as they thoughtfully consider the answers to my questions. It was only recently that it occurred to me that I had never done the exercise of answering the questions myself. If you know me, I am mostly an open book, but for those of you who want to know a little bit more about who I am and what I am passionate about, well then, here it is, my version of Conversations with Hilary, featuring ME!air max 90 premium

11118854_1400187450309965_4507302405805553387_nWhat do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
My daughters Talitha and Siena – they are growing into compassionate young ladies, who care about others in a genuine way. This is all I could ever hope for as a parent! And I am proud of my strong marriage to my husband Geoff Callan, one of the most loving and hilarious people I have ever known.new balance 996

Do you have a prized possession?
I have a Cartier “love bracelet” that belonged to my mom. She gave it to me to borrow when she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. One of the best days for me was when I gave it back to her when she was in remission. Sadly, I have the bracelet back on, for good, since loosing my mom to cancer in 2002.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think people would say I am loyal and (mostly) kind! I think I am occasionally funny, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.womens nike free run

Hilary and Gavin

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Philanthropy brings me great joy, so I would love to eventually run the PlumpJack Foundation. This will happen, I just need more time!
nike free one
What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I am in the business of making people happy. When I came to PlumpJack to work for my brother Gavin, I never imagined I would be here 19 years later and still having so much fun! What is there not to like about the world of hospitality.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Reflect on how many times my two toy poodles woke me during the night! Then revisit the very vivid dreams I had.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Have dinner at my best friend Lori Puccinelli Stern’s house. She is a great cook and throws a great dinner party!

new balance 990

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Making people happy. My youngest daughter says that to me now- that she only wants to make people happy. I think that is something that has stayed with me over the years, my desire to be a people-pleaser.

What are you passionate about now?
Helping people, even if it’s one person at a time. Raising my daughters to be good citizens, loving my family and friends.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I love the fall. I love the cooler weather (I have great coats!) and that the holidays are right around the corner.

mens air jordan shoes

Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Can we consider my husband Geoff, and my daughters Tali and Siena items? Probably not, so I would take pallet of Teas’ Tea in Golden Oolong flavor, my iPhone for audiobooks and a really big solar light, as I am afraid of the dark!

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Hilary Gin and Tonic, that you can currently order at Forgery – although I mainly drink Cade Sauvignon Blanc and PlumpJack and Cade Cab’s.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? Anything performed by Eoin Harrington, I especially love his rendition of “Hallelujah.” I’m also a big  fan Pat Monahan of Train!

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Well considering Hillary Clinton was just in SF having “Conversations with Hillary” I was a little hurt she didn’t invite me, so looks like I will have to invite her!

new balance u410

” Hilary and her mother


brand air jordan
 

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
“Chaordic”, the story of a happy life filled with organized Chaos. My husband would suggest, “Wonder Woman: The Unauthorized Biography of Hilary Newsom.”

Do you have any regrets?
That all I tried to do for my mom, it was not enough.

Define Freedom.
Physically: Feeling safe in your home, in your city, in your country.

What are your personal core values?
I value loyalty, approachability, and being compassionateabove all.