A New Jersey native, Chris Morina traces his passion for food and cooking to the time spent in his mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens and his parent’s insistence when it came to food that he and his brother “just try it”. In middle school he moved to London, England where he lived for four years. Having access to a wide array of cultures and cuisines, food quickly became the pathway for him to explore England and much of Europe. As with many chefs of his generation the travels and stories of Anthony Bourdain also left an indelible impression and showed how food, as a universal language, can create bonds across peoples and cultures.
While attending Auburn University’s Hospitality Management program, Chris worked at The Auburn Hotel and Conference center, and spent a summer working for Rob McDaniel at Springhouse. After his graduation, Chris moved to Atlanta to work for southern food icon Linton Hopkins at Restaurant Eugene. His time with Hopkins crystallized his love of southern ingredients and foodways.
Although reluctant to leave his adopted southland, Chris next set his sights on the food mecca that is San Francisco. He spent three years there working at multiple Michelin- starred restaurants, most prominently Mourad. When an opportunity presented itself to move to Napa Valley, Chris accepted a position as Events Chef for Farmstead, a combined restaurant, winery, ranch and working farm in St. Helena. While there, Chris expanded his knowledge and appreciation for a broad range of ingredients and techniques, be it vegetables from his backyard garden or the use of spices from distant lands.
Not all of Chris’ food experience derives from time in the kitchen. In 2016 he interned at Long Hungry Creek Farm in northern Tennessee where he worked closely with well-known biodynamic farmer Jeff Poppen. With a daily workload that could include saving seeds, harvesting vegetables, moving cattle, shucking beans, or foraging mushrooms, Morina continued his education in southern foodways, in a very hands-on way.
When not in the kitchen, Chris, an avid cyclist can be found racking up the miles on his road bike or mountain bike. Gardening, canning, reading and foraging are other passions that fill his free time.
Carrots with Fresh Cheese - Springhouse
- 1 qt cleaned baby carrots, cut into 1 in pieces
- 1 qt carrot juice
- 1 c honey
- 1 zest orange
- 1 zest lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- .5 c cider vinegar
- 1 c olive oil
- Reserved/reduced cooking liquid
- 1 c fresh cheese, such as chevre
- 2 tbsp golden raisins
- 2 tbsp toasted chopped almonds
- fresh mint, carrot tops and sunflower sprouts, if possible
- In a medium sized pot, cook carrots in the liquid until just tender, over medium high heat.
- Once cooked, strain off and cool carrots, making sure to reserve liquid. Reduce the cooking liquid by 3/4.
- In a blender combine cider vinegar and reduced cooking liquid. Blend on medium, slowly pour in olive oil until combined. Season with salt.
- To assemble: Make sure everything is room temp. In four bowls divide the cheese evenly, pile up slightly. Divide carrots over top of the cheese.
- Dress liberally with dressing. Sprinkle both golden raisins and chopped almonds over your carrots. Top all your fresh herbs.