The Napa Valley Wine Train Appoints New Culinary Executives
Donald Young Named Executive Chef; Michael Kowalski Takes Lead as Food & Beverage Director
The Napa Valley Wine Train, one of the few active historic passenger railroads remaining in the U.S., has announced two additions to its talented culinary team with Donald Young becoming the new executive chef and Michael Kowalski as the new director of food and beverage. Young and Kowalski possess strong, diverse backgrounds, ideal for this unique dining experience.
“We are thrilled to have Chef Young join our incredible culinary team and bring a fresh perspective to our daily menus,” said Pat Colee, Chairman and Founder of Noble House Hotels & Resorts. “We are sure he will wow guests and take the experience aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train to new heights.”
Donald Young has worked and thrived in many facets of the restaurant industry. Before joining the wine train, Young spent three years as an executive chef at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach, Florida, where he oversaw a kitchen staff of 75 cooks, five chefs and 90 stewards in a venue that included several dining rooms and served as host to one of the largest golf tournaments in the U.S. After working at PGA National Resort and Spa, Young spent a year consulting in Curitiba, Brazil where he helped spearhead the Madero Restaurant Group’s first international venture in South Beach, Miami. Young also owned his own restaurant in Lake Park, Florida and held high-level positions such as executive sous chef at The Boca Raton Resort and Club, executive chef at Gulf Stream Bath and Tennis Club and banquet chef for The Four Seasons Ocean Grand Hotel in Palm Beach.
“We are also very excited to announce the appointment of Michael Kowalski as our new food and beverage director,” said Colee. “We have a lot of new changes happening and we’re confident in Michael’s ability to lead us into the Napa Valley Wine Train’s next chapter.”
Michael Kowalski began his career in the restaurant industry as a server at a local tapas restaurant and wine bar. During that time, Kowalski discovered an interest in learning about obscure wines and interesting food pairings. In 2012, Kowalski decided to fully immerse himself in the hospitality industry, making the move to St. Helena to enter the Accelerated Wine and Beverage Program at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, led by Master Sommelier Bob Bath and Advanced Sommelier Christie Dufault. Following his graduation, Kowalski remained at the CIA where he specialized in large-scale event management and helped oversee events such as Flavor! Napa Valley, Premiere Napa Valley and Worlds of Flavor. Before joining the Napa Valley Wine Train, Kowalski worked for culinary great Charlie Palmer as director of food and beverage for the Harvest Inn, overseeing all epicurean aspects for the hotel and opening its Napa Valley-inspired restaurant, Harvest Table.
About the Napa Valley Wine Train
One of the few active historic passenger railroads in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers an engaging and memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, with fine dining service, multi-course meals cooked to order, Napa Valley scenery and ultimate relaxation aboard exquisitely restored antique rail cars. The Napa Valley Wine Train features vintage Pullman rail cars faithfully restored with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions and luxurious armchairs that evoke the spirit of luxury rail travel at the beginning of the 20th century. Conveniently located in downtown Napa and easily accessible, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers a car-free transportation option that bring guests from San Francisco to Napa Valley via the San Francisco Bay Ferry.
About Noble House Hotels & Resorts
A privately held company for more than 30 years, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. was founded in 1979 by owner Patrick R. Colee as a commercial property development group, transitioning in 1994 to a hotel ownership management company. Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., the corporation owns and manages an upscale portfolio of 18 distinct and visually captivating properties spanning the U.S. From luxury resorts in Seattle, Wash. to Jackson Hole, Wyo. and the Florida Keys, each property maximizes and showcases its physical setting. Noble House is continuously growing, operating 45 hotel restaurants, bars and lounges, showcasing local culture and inspiration from local surroundings. With a philosophy that emphasizes “location, distinction and soul,” Noble House Hotels & Resorts exemplifies individuality, dedicating itself to creating and managing exceptional properties that contribute to their communities, staying true to local history, culture and ambiance.