Big Changes at Applewood Inn: New Chef, Management

Big name chef coming to a revamped concept at the Applewood Inn

Hold onto your plates, cause things are about to get really interesting out in West County.

BiteClub just found out that Chef Ben Spiegel has been named as the new chef at the Applewood Inn, as they prepare to open “Revival”, a new restaurant concept at the luxury spa and inn. It’s also been announced that the inn’s management has been turned over to EpiSoul, under the direction of Ric Pielstick. The restaurant is slated to open in mid-July.

Spiegel is a big name in food, hailing from Canada and making at name at Willows in on Lummi Island, then moving to NYC’s Skal (an Icelandic-inspired restaurant). He’s been working in Sonoma County recently on an event and dinner project called Whitefish. According to his bio, Spiegel has also has worked in restaurants across Europe including time spent at noma and AOC in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition, he has interned in Kyoto, Japan,  France’s Loire Valley, Reykjavik, Iceland and London, England. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Ben grew up cooking in some of the city’s top restaurants before moving abroad. He is passionate about local food issues, sustainable agriculture and foraging wild foods.

Details are still a bit sketchy on the direction of the new restaurant, as well as menus, but Spiegel has been posting for front and back of house positions for the new restaurant.

Chef Ben Spiegel, courtesy of Facebook
Chef Ben Spiegel, courtesy of Facebook

The restaurant at Applewood shuttered last year just eight months after Sonoma chef Jamil Peden took over the historic kitchens. Biteclub documented his efforts to restore the kitchen to some of its former glory, and Peden did receive critical acclaim during his stint.

The once-stellar Michelin-starred restaurant had been an incubator for a number of outstanding young chefs including SF Chef Brian Gerritsen, David Frakes (Lynmar), Brian Anderson (Bistro 29) Bruce Frieseke (County Bench), Ty Taube (forageSF) and Shelly Cerneant (Sonoma Country Day School) .

Frieseke captured a Michelin star for the restaurant in 2011 and co-executive chefs Taube and Cerneant received a star in 2012. Cerneant was one of only ten women chefs in the world to earn a Michelin star in 2012.

The restaurant’s former management had planned a casual dining concept for May 2016, which never materialized.