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The Queen of Cuisine



Caterer Elaine Bell celebrates 25 years of serving savory, delectable, mouthwatering creations Clues into Elaine Bell’s destiny as a culinary superstar came early. As a five-year-old, she was transfixed by Julia Child’s cooking show. By age eight, she was experimenting in the kitchen herself. “My mother started giving me $100 a month to make whatever I wanted—one big meal or several dishes throughout the month,” Bell remembers. “It was so fun and exciting.” Today, Elaine Bell Catering Company and its offshoots host 900 events a year, serving 90,000 guests some of the most savory creations ever to hit their taste buds. This year, she celebrates her 25th year in business—and a career that many say helped revolutionize Wine Country cuisine. After training at the CIA in New York, Bell worked for renowned chef Philippe Jeanty at Domain Chandon before striking out on her own. “I really didn’t know anything about catering,” she admits. “But my husband was in the wine business, and his friends and colleagues started calling me to cater events at their wineries.” Just 25 years old, Bell would load her trusty Kenmore stove into her VW Vanagon and drive right into the vineyard, becoming the first local caterer to offer on-site cooking. “At that time, the vines were planted 12 feet apart, so we could put a long table in between them,” she says. “We added big brocade linens and candelabras and fancy chairs to create these incredible dining rooms.” Over the years, clients have marveled at Bell’s seemingly limitless range. Trained in numerous cuisines, her talent is matched only by her resourcefulness. (If a client requests duck testicles, she can find them—and has.) After years of catering for others, Bell’s anniversary offered the perfect excuse to throw a no-holds-barred celebration of her own at her new, 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Napa. But as she modestly says, “I’m just thrilled to have been doing this for 25 years with such great support.”

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Auction Napa Valley

Kathryn Hall Release and Book Launch Party

During this big bash at Hall St. Helena, wine aficionados and renowned winemakers celebrated the latest wine release and the launch of A Perfect Score, a book by vintners Craig and Kathryn Hall that has since become a New York Times best-seller.

Golden Gate Salmon Association Dinner

Hamm-Egan Wedding Celebration

Jamie Hamm and Kerry Egan tied the knot at an intimate ceremony for 28 guests at his family’s estate in Stag’s Leap.

Hall St. Helena Grand Opening

Kathryn and Craig Hall hosted a celebratory soiree for the who’s who of Wine Country to showcase Hall Wines’ new winery and state-of-the-art Visitor Center.

Transcendence Theatre Opening 2016

Sonoma’s Transcendence Theatre Company kicked off its 2016 season with This Magic Moment during Broadway Under the Stars at Jack London State Historic Park.

Napa Valley Film Festival 2017

V Foundation Wine Celebration

Garnering $9.2 million, with a performance by Oscar and Grammy Award–winning singer Melissa Etheridge highlighting the evening

Carneros Wine Alliance 30th Anniversary

New Wine Country Eats

What’s for dinner? reservations, at these tasty new Spots.

Gay Wine Weekend 2016

Di Rosa Art Auction

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