David Kinch is the mastermind behind Manresa, the acclaimed restaurant in Los Gatos, California, that reopened last December—six months after a fire destroyed the kitchen. He’s also keeping busy with Manresa Bread, a new bakery (adjacent to the restaurant) that sells small-batch breads and pastries. And let’s not forget about the casual, New Orleans-inspired concept—complete with oyster bar—that’s in the works, set to open mid-fall. We caught up with Kinch on a recent visit to New York.
What was your first international journey?
I went to London, Scotland, Ireland, and France. It was a trip upon graduation from culinary school.
Where did you go on your latest trip?
To Rheingau in Germany. I participated in the annual Gourmet & Wine Festival and celebrated the launch of my cookbook in German.
Where to next?
I am going to France the first week of May to cook and eat.
Aisle or window seat?
Check or carry on?
Both. I always have to check my knives.
What destination do you hate sharing with others?
I’m not going to share! I am a big fan of secluded beaches and warm water.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
It depends on where I am going and the purpose of the trip, but I thrive on being a solo traveler.
What was your worst flying experience?
Canceled flights or being stuck at an airport are awful, without question. But the worst experience I’ve ever had was bad turbulence on a flight caught in a thunderstorm. I thought that was it!
What is the strangest thing you've carried-on?
I have carried abalone for various guest chef dinners.
What is the strangest thing you've ever bought on the road?
A big box of Swedish black licorice. I love that stuff!
Is there one item that is always in your suitcase?
I pack with special zippered mesh bags designed for a suitcase. It keeps everything organized and they’re easy to pack. I can’t live without them.
What is the most interesting encounter you've had with a stranger on the road?
I have met people who have become impromptu tour guides, sometimes for days, showing me a place they love or are passionate about.
What is the best book you've read on the road?
I read a lot on the road. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is one of the best books I have read recently.
If you could live the life of classic explorer, whose would you chose?
It would be Bernard Moitessier, a famous French sailor.
What is your most memorable meal from your travels?
There have been many—more often than not, I am traveling to eat. That said, on a trip to France in 1984, I had a meal prepared by Alain Chapel that changed my life.
What is your favorite souvenir?
Coffee, books, and memories of meals. I collect signed menus.
If your travels were a movie, what film would they be?
Probably Around the World in 80 Days!
What's your travel soundtrack?
On planes I listen to classical music because it is calming, relaxing, and thoughtful, and makes the time go by. Otherwise I like jazz and R&B as a soundtrack for solo travel.