It was the image seen in the world of food. Long before there was some sort of official confirmation, a photo taken by journalist Adam Housley made the rounds of social media. He showed the restaurant in Meadowood (also known as TRAM), a three-Michelin-starred dining destination at the Meadowood resort in St. Helena, in flames. The caption said “I just went away … they couldn’t save him”.
Meadowood’s management had been evacuated as the Glass Incident Fire, a fire that had ignited at the Napa / Sonoma border just the day before, approached. They urged people not to jump to conclusions and said they would know more the next day. But based on Housley̵
By the end of Monday, September 28, the media had photos of what was left of the restaurant building (it also housed the Meadowood Grill and a small golf shop) on hand. It’s a total waste of space. But while Brett Anderson, a spokesperson for the owners, says the TRAM will be rebuilt, some of the restaurant’s top members are still taking a break to mourn what is lost.
Christopher Kostow, chef at Meadowood for over 10 years, wrote in part that “We are all torn apart. Praise is deserved and will be given in due course.” His words were also quoted in the official TRAM report.
Aziza and Mourad founder and chef Mourad Lahlou posted the original photo of Housley, writing in part that “my heart is broken. Another icon has fallen. So many dreams. So much work.”
Nicholas Elmi, a Top Chef Philadelphia contender and restaurateur, wrote “The tragedy unfolding on the West Coast is heartbreaking because we have just lost one of, if not the best restaurants in America.”
Kyle Connaughton, the co-owner of Meadowood Napa’s neighboring SingleThread, wrote that he was “devastated by the news of the tragic loss” and called Kostow for “all the work he has done on relief in recent years”, such as “he and the TRAMily have offered themselves incredibly useful in times of need of others “.
Daniel Patterson. of Coi and High Fame, wrote “So horrible. So unimaginable. “
Fabian von Hauske, the chef / co-owner of the New York restaurants Contra and Wildair, writes: “I have no doubt you will be back on top my dear friend, but I just wanted to thank you and everyone for making us part of your family.”
Katianna Hong, the former chef de cuisine at TRAM, wrote “Lost for words and a broken heart”.
Not a chef, but a leading figure in food regardless: Chris Ying, co-founder of the seminal magazine on eating, Lucky Peach, wrote: “I have spent some of the best and most memorable moments of my life in this restaurant. I can’t stand to see the photos burn. “
Celebrity chef Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn, etc.) used the moment to discuss the climate crisis with his 316,000 followers. “Let’s get up,” he wrote next to Housley’s photo. “Climate change is real … the planet is burning … we need leaders and community leaders who will bring humanity back.” Many of his followers have contested his politicization of the fire, but that’s the way social media is.
To read more restaurant giveaways, simply click the restaurant location tag on Instagram from Monday afternoon. Hundreds of giveaways have been posted, many of which recall engagements, birthdays and other happy occasions spent in his dining room.
But for all the sadness and frustration – all justified – there is also the good news that what was lost was a building and such. Speaking to the Bay Area News Group, Anderson puts the loss into perspective, saying that although the loss of property was “distressing … Meadowood has always been about the people.” And of this social media response is an indication, those people are ready to do whatever it takes to help TRAM resurrect.