Talk about cutting the mustard. Lafayette food chemist Frank Gimbel’s mustard was the grand champion of this year’s Napa Valley Mustard Festival. He also took home a gold medal in the spirit mustard category.
Gimbel uses gourmet brews such as Sierra Nevada Stout or Mendocino Brewing Company’s Red Tail Ale to make gourmet sauces and condiments. His concoctions, which are widely available under the labels of the ales they are made with, have long been a hit with the ballpark set. But since the recent Mustard Festival, they’ve caught the attention of the foodie crowd.
“There were more than 350 mustards in the competition,” says Gimbel. “We were really pleased with the awards.”
It’s not surprising that Gimbel found his way into the kitchen as an adult because when he was a kid, his father was the general manager of Spenger’s Seafood Grotto. Gimbel grew up in the shadow of the Berkeley restaurant in its heyday. Now, he’s inspiring the next generation to follow a career in food. His son, Cody, attended the California Culinary Academy and now cooks at Grégoire in Berkeley.
Sierra Nevada mustards and Red Tail Ale barbecue sauces and marinades are available at Safeway, Lunardi’s, and Whole Foods.