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Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire

The Bay Area chef is raising the bar with a new restaurant and book

With his popular cooking shows, restaurants, cookbooks and NapaStyle stores, Napa Valley chef  Michael Chiarello always has multiple irons in the fire. Now his newest ventures are Coqueta, meaning “flirt,” a Spanish restaurant on Pier 5 in the Embarcadero, and a cookbook, Live Fire, both coming soon. Inspired by years of trips to Spain, the chef is tackling regional dishes from Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country and bringing them to the Bay Area. Architects Alberto Rivera and Michael Guthrie outfitted the new waterfront eatery with a glass-enclosed terrace so that tapas may be savored with the stunning views.                                                          

At Chiarello Family Vineyards in Napa, the chef hosts a beloved tradition every spring: a live-fire party, where he slow-cooks a young lamb or kid goat on an iron cross. Having grown up with “meatless” Fridays, Chiarello also relishes preparing tiella, a vegetable casserole roasted until it’s caramelized, bubbly and succulent. The father of four thinks a vineyard is the perfect place to raise a family. “I try to live as a vintner,” he says. “Growing grapes lets you observe the cycle of life, and my children and I get to watch our ecosystem at work.”