Former Cotogna Chef Opens ‘TORC’ in Napa

By Courtney Humiston

A former chef at Cotogna and Quince, Sean O’Toole, has moved into the space on Downtown Napa's Main Street that once housed the ill-fated Michelin-starred vegan eatery and yoga studio, Ubuntu.

His first solo endeavor, O'Toole says he has spent the last ten years opening restaurants for other people and finally decided it was time to be the boss. Suitably, the name TORC is very personal — Gaelic for 'wild boar,' it is an homage to his Celtic ancestor's coat of arms.

O'Toole's cuisine evades definition, wandering the globe from Spanish-inspired jamon iberico with white anchovies and garlic crouons to an Indian-style 'black spice' chicken served with coconut rice and bok choy. Which is just how O'Toole likes it: “We might be the only true market driven restaurant in Napa,” he says, “because we can do anything — any style.” He says he draws on folk and traditional dishes from around the world while utilizing classic French and Italian technique.

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