With a special culinary style that melds fresh, seasonal ingredients in a way that showcases the abundant flavors of Napa Valley, Executive Chef Victor Scargle was not always destined for a life in the hospitality industry despite growing up cooking alongside his father. Enrolled at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Santa Cruz native was well on his way to achieving an economics degree before returning to his childhood pastime.
Feeling uninspired from school, Scargle left college to pursue a culinary career after receiving an American Culinary Federation apprenticeship in Santa Barbara at the Red Lion Resort. Here, he found a mentor in Executive Chef Brian Bird, who advised Scargle to travel east to work with chefs in Miami and New York, including Patria, Gramercy Tavern, Tribeca Grill, Park Avenue Café and East Hampton Point with Chef Gerry Hayden.
In 1995, Scargle returned to the Bay Area to work for esteemed Chef and Restaurateur Michael Mina at Aqua and stayed with Mina Restaurant Group for five years, first working at Aqua in San Francisco and later assisting with the 1998 opening of Aqua in Las Vegas and Pisces in Burlingame, where he served as executive chef. During his stint at Aqua, he was honored as one of San Francisco Chronicle’s “Rising Star Chefs”, a highly coveted award that recognizes the best and brightest young culinary talent.
In 2000, Scargle accepted a position as chef de cuisine at Jardinière, where he worked with celebrated Chef Traci Des Jardins. Three years later, he joined The Patina Group as executive chef of Julia’s Kitchen, the white tablecloth restaurant at COPIA: The American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, a non-profit institution launched by Napa Valley winemaker Robert Mondavi and other leaders in the wine community. Situated on 12 acres of donated land, Scargle worked closely with the garden curators to form a seamless alliance between garden and kitchen, establishing a program that sourced 80 percent of the summer produce from the COPIA gardens. His hard work and determination at Julia’s Kitchen led to three and a half stars from the San Francisco Chronicle.
In June 2011, Scargle joined the team at Lucy Restaurant & Bar to help guide the evolution of the restaurant, which re-launched in February 2012 with a brand new concept and design. His menus at Lucy showcase the bounty of fresh produce sourced from the property’s on-site garden and local farmers, ranchers, fishmongers, foragers and artisan purveyors in the Napa Valley. While many restaurants employ a specialized team to maintain the garden, Scargle takes an active role in Lucy’s garden – planting, harvesting, and experimenting with different produce.
When not in the kitchen or tending to Lucy’s Garden, Scargle is at home spending time with his wife and son.
Visit Lucy Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono: Website | FacebookLucy Executive Chef Victor Scargle is a well-known entity in wine country and beyond. His credits include executive chef roles at Go Fish in St. Helena, and Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA, where he earned an impressive 3.5 star review from the San Francisco Chronicle. Scargle spent five years working with Michael Mina at Mina Group restaurants, including Aqua in San Francisco and Las Vegas, and Pisces in Burlingame; at Aqua he was honored by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “Rising Star Chef” – a highly coveted award which recognizes the best and brightest young culinary talent. During his three decades in the restaurant business, Scargle has served as Traci de Jardin’s chef de cuisine at Jardinere, executive chef of The Grand Café at Hotel Monaco, and staged at New York greats, including Gramercy Tavern, Tribeca Grill, Park Avenue Café, Lespinasse, and Aureole.