Chef's fantastic feasts for foodies

Sonoma resident Vance Rose's fascination with food and wine started when he was 18 years old.

After the Texas native was asked to pick a wine for dinner, he went into his father's cellar and chose a French Burgundy from his birthday year, 1959.

"Back then, I thought there were four kinds of wine -#8212; white, red, pink and bubbly," he recalled. "This wine was amazing. I had never tasted anything like it."

Vance Rose's Underground Dinners


When he got to college, Rose wanted to enjoy his wine with food, but in 1978 in Texas, BYOB wasn't allowed in restaurants. So he called his mom and asked for advice.

"She told me to buy 'The Joy of Cooking,'" he recalled, and eat at home. "I found a used copy for $1.51, and I cooked out of it for eight days in a row... After eight days, I was dangerous."

During college, the self-taught chef began to throw elaborate dinner parties on New Year's Eve to celebrate his birthday. Then, after he married his wife, Kelly, he began to cook in earnest, spending entire weekends creating multi-course dinners, paired with wine, for friends.

About four years ago, the idea of hosting an underground restaurant -#8212; also known as a supper club or "guestaurant" -#8212; took root.

"A dear college friend told me, 'You need to start charging for this,'" he said. "She said to call it underground dining."

So Rose came up with a website, got the word out and launched Du Jour Dining, a pop-up dinner he throws about 30 times a year in his home and other private venues.

"Somehow, people came, and they keep coming," he said. "In the foodie world, people want to be on the cutting edge. I can provide a unique experience. You can sit at the table for the entire night, talk to me, and find out as much as you want."

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