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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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Napa Gras 2015

The CIA at Copia Keeps It Classy

It’s springtime and the cooking is easy with the help of the CIA at Copia.

Canvasing the Field

Blue Oak School Auction

Parents and patrons of Blue Oak School in downtown Napa raised their paddles high to bid on one-of-a-kind trips and treasures.

Peter Michael Foundation Stars

The Peter Michael Foundation hosted Stars 2013

Napa Valley Film Festival

Hailed as one of the most exciting and ambitious American film festival launches since Tribeca, the Napa Valley Film Festival showcases the best of new independent cinema along with the Napa Valley’s finest food, wine, and hospitality.

Wonder Women

From gardening and winemaking to fundraising and philanthropy, these women are blazing trails in Wine Country. How do they do it?

Wine Country Cooking Classes

Learn something new at one of these classes.

Yountville Live

Chart-topping musical acts such as the Goo Goo Dolls, Mayer Hawthorne, and Plain White T’s performed semi-acoustic acts at the second annual Yountville Live

Four New Wine Country Restaurants

These restaurants are bound to delight your taste buds.

Savor Sonoma Valley June 2016

Rudd Center 10th Anniversary

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone toasted 10 years of world-class wine education for industry notables and program alumni at the state-of-the-art Rudd Center, which has attracted more than 15,000 wine enthusiasts over the past decade
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