Ko’s recent run includes stints at the French Laundry in Yountville and the Restaurant at Meadowood and the Goose & Gander, both in St. Helena. 

PictureBalboa Cafe Executive Chef Howard Ko. Courtesy image.

Just a few months after longtime Balboa Cafe chef Rick Edge left for the Kenwood Inn & Spa, Balboa owner the Plumpjack Group has landed Howard Ko, one of Napa Valley’s rising chefs, as its new executive chef.

Ko comes to Balboa after working at some of the food world’s most well-respected establishments, including the French Laundry with Thomas Keller, the Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow and Goose & Gander in St. Helena.
Ko will be serving up “market driven bistro classics” with a greater “emphasis on locally sourced ingredients” with “modern twists,” and will be making slight changes to the menu over time.

Ko was raised in Koreatown in Los Angeles and fell in love with cooking at a very young age, according to Plumpjack. After spending time in LA mastering the art of pastry making and baking, Ko traveled to New York City to attend the Culinary Institute of America. As a student at the CIA, Ko assisted at Daniel on weekends to gain experience in the kitchen doing everything from peeling potatoes to cleaning mushrooms.

After stints at the legendary Napa Valley eateries mentioned above, Ko ran the kitchen and was responsible for putting a dramatic spin on neighborhood eatery Goose & Gander. Ko also introduced a shared plates concept, new flavors, and new techniques with the goal of bringing people together to taste different flavors.​

Ko lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey, and when he’s not in the kitchen, enjoys CrossFit and growing his eclectic collection of cookbooks

The 411: Balboa Café is at 38 Miller Avenue. More info.

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