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New Cooks in the Kitchen at Jordan Winery: Bring Your Appetite

New cooks, Andrew Cooper and Griselda Lopez, pose outside of Jordan Winery's barn.

There are some new faces in the Jordan Winery kitchen, and we want you to know a little more about the passionate culinary team that cooks the food pairings for our daily wine tastings and vineyard tours, as well as all the delicious hors d’oeuvres, entrees, salads, sides and desserts we serve at our winery dinner parties, private lunches and other meals. Executive Chef Todd Knoll is excited to welcome two new cooks to Jordan, both of whom already feel at home—thanks to their past freelance work at Jordan events.

Andy Cooper New Cook at Jordan Winery
Andrew Cooper near the Jordan Winery kitchen.

Meet Andrew Cooper, Jordan Winery Cook

Born and raised on the North Carolina coast, Andrew Cooper grew up surfing and fishing. After graduating from high school, he moved to Healdsburg for a summer to pursue his passion in the culinary arts, and the rest is history. He will assist our executive chef with Jordan Winery culinary events, private dinners and lunches, and other food and wine experiences at Jordan Estate.

Have you always enjoyed cooking?

Always—ever since I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon and stir the buttermilk in my Grandma’s biscuits.

Is there one a-ha moment where you realized you wanted to be a chef?

Yes. The first time I cooked dinner for my mother, and I smelled the onions browning in the butter, I knew I wanted to cook for a living.

Where else have you cooked?

I’ve worked in a few different places in wine country honing my skills, including Jackson Family Wine Center, Oakville Grocery, Dean & Deluca and Bohemian Grove.

What do you love most about cooking in wine country?

Access to the most diverse and fresh ingredients.

What’s your favorite dish to make?

Buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken. Or Southeastern-style BBQ.

If you could only have one ingredient, what would it be and why?

Salt, so food tastes like it should.

What are your two favorite dishes at Healdsburg restaurants?

Well, it’s a little outside of Healdsburg, but the Sonya pizza at Diavola in Geyserville is a must! Inside city limits, I would say the Molcajete at El Farolito.

How did you hear about the new culinary position at Jordan?

I helped out at Jordan culinary events many years ago, and Nitsa Knoll contacted me to see if I was interested in coming back.

Why did you decide to take the job at Jordan?

There is an amazing family vibe that is heartwarming and contagious. Also, the ability to learn and grow seems to be endless.

What are you most looking forward to about working in the Jordan kitchen?

Meeting all the staff and providing some of the best dishes in Sonoma County

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Fun things with my kiddos, from hiking, surfing and snowboarding to date nights at nice restaurants with my wife.

Any other skills we should know about?

After cooking for many years, I switched careers to winemaking in 2009. I worked for Paul Hobbs, Kunde and the Pisoni family crafting high-end wines.

Anything else you’d like our fans to know?

I recently took a couple years off work, so my wife could focus on her career, and I could spend some quality time with my children. It was the best and hardest thing I have ever done. This allowed my wife to earn a director of marketing position for Kendall-Jackson, and now, I am excited to be back in the kitchen full time.

Griselda Lopez, Jordan Winery Cook
Griselda Lopez in the Jordan Winery garden.

Meet Griselda Lopez, Jordan Winery Cook

Born and raised in Sonoma County wine country, Griselda Lopez joined Jordan full-time in July. She’ll be assisting our executive chef with prep at Jordan Winery dinners, lunches and other meals, as well as focusing on baking homemade pastries, cookies and other desserts.

Have you always enjoyed cooking?

Yes. I grew up in a family that loves to cook. Both of my parents are Mexican immigrants who are very good at cooking. I also have one sister and four older brothers who all love to be in the kitchen.

Is there one a-ha moment where you realized you wanted to be a chef?

That’s a tough question. I don’t think I ever imagined myself as a chef, but I always knew I wanted to cook. I’ve always felt that there is nothing more rewarding than being able to make someone happy through my cooking.

Where else have you worked in the kitchen?

Before joining Jordan full-time, I worked at Campo Fina in downtown Healdsburg. I started as a line cook in July 2015, making cold sides, salads and desserts and worked my way up the line to the pasta station. Technically, I started working at Jordan Vineyard & Winery about nine years ago as an on-call server and was eventually given the opportunity to assist in the kitchen for events.

What do you love most about being a chef in Sonoma wine country?

I love everything about it! If I had to choose one thing, I would have to say the local produce. We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such giving soil, which helps us grow so many flavorful things, from the beautiful stone fruit in the fall to the sweet berries in summer.

What’s your favorite dish to cook?

Enchiladas Michoacanas. These enchiladas filled with smashed potatoes and carrots are very traditional to make in my family. We still enjoy cooking the staple dishes of our culture—posole, carnitas and birria—but Enchiladas Michoacanas are the one dish that takes me back to my parent’s table surrounded by my older siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.

If you could only have one ingredient, what would it be and why?

Corn. You don’t need anything else to make it taste delicious. Throw one over hot fire, husk and all, and you have roasted corn on the cob or cut the corn off the cob and grind it into a mush, then use one of the corn husks as a wrap to make a quick and easy plain corn tamale.

What’s your favorite thing to eat out in Healdsburg?

My favorite would have to be the Sugo Calabrese Spaghettini from Campo Fina. Order it with extra cheese. You’ll love it.

How did you hear about the new culinary position at Jordan?

My cousin, Maribel Lopez Soto, is the director of Jordan Estate Rewards, and she called me as soon as she heard there was an opening. I jumped at the chance!

Why did you decide to take the job at Jordan?

Ever since I started working culinary events at Jordan, I have always loved coming to the winery. Jordan is a great place to work and offers many opportunities to learn and grow as an employee. One of the things that caught my attention is the fact that many of Jordan employees have been here for many years and that to me says a lot and makes me feel great about my choice to become part of the Jordan Winery family.

What are you most looking forward to about working in the Jordan kitchen?

I look forward to learning new skills and techniques from our talented Executive Chef Todd Knoll.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

I love being able to enjoy time with my daughters, whether staying home and being lazy or taking them out for a treat.

Lisa Mattson

Videographer, photographer, writer and publicist. Find me on weekends trying to capture footage of the elusive Jordan Estate jack rabbits and turkeys.

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