Chef Peter Cham has joined the Gleason Family Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley portfolio (Roblar Winery and Vineyards, Refugio Ranch Vineyards, Royal Oaks Wines) as executive chef and head of culinary operations.
As part of the Roblar Winery and Vineyards (www.RoblarWinery.com) array of hospitality experiences including private events, Cham is crafting seasonal Bites Menus utilizing fresh produce and herbs grown just steps away from the estate’s tasting room and vineyards, on the property’s organic Roblar Farm.
On the seasonally shifting Roblar Farm Bites Menu, winery guests encounter refined California cuisine in the form of plates like smoked salmon deviled eggs with pickled shallots, crispy capers, chives, and Espelette peppers; wood-fired wild mushroom pizza with confit garlic and kale pesto; or charred Roblar Farm broccoli with bagna càuda, grilled lemon, parmesan, and Aleppo pepper. The Bites Menus are available Friday through Sunday to enjoy with Roblar’s variety of wines. Also new are the winery’s recently launched “Birds ‘n’ Bubbles” which, every Thursday, features Cham’s famous fried chicken alongside Roblar sparkling Blanc de Blanc, and weekly Sunday brunch, served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cham’s culinary career was founded on his passion for family, food and the intersection of the two: shared experiences best enjoyed alongside memorable meals. Each of his roles leading up to his newest, with Gleason Family Vineyards, has aligned with his pursuit of setting a local and sustainable table.
A Santa Barbara native raised in a Cambodian household that embraced food as a way to unite family, Chef Cham’s early interest in cooking sprouted from being by his grandmother’s side in the kitchen.
In 2006, Chef Cham headed to San Francisco to study and explore the culinary arts, landing work at Radius Restaurant & Café, a food business in tune with his own kitchen ethos. Three years into his time with Radius, Cham became executive chef. In an effort to gain further knowledge of the industry and to bolster his skillset, he also spent time as stagiaire at other legendary and Michelin-starred San Francisco establishments such as Coi Restaurant, Quince and Fifth Floor.
Cham relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2013, taking up work at West Bridge under Chef Matthew Gaudet, named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine that same year. Cham weathered a few New England winters as he honed his culinary technique and style, creating simple, modern takes on classic flavor combinations. When California and its bounty of local produce and provisions called once again, Cham returned to Santa Barbara as head chef at the well-regarded, now-shuttered seafood house, The Hungry Cat, where he continued to reinforce relationships with local farmers and fishermen.
In 2016, Chef Cham moved to Finch & Fork restaurant at Santa Barbara’s Kimpton® Canary Hotel, where he started as executive sous chef, an integral role in the development of the restaurant’s concept, and eventually became executive chef.
Spring of 2020 brought Chef Cham’s first child, an event which inspired his segue to a family-oriented setting where his work focuses on creating shared experiences and memories centered around local food and wine. In Cham’s new role with Roblar Winery and Vineyards and the Gleason Family Vineyards portfolio, he looks forward to expanding the tasting room offerings and revamping the catering and events programming to enhance guests’ special experiences.
In addition to his culinary work, Cham is an avid outdoorsman and cycling enthusiast. As a long-running participant in Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry, he has raised over $50,000 for the organization aimed at ending child hunger.
Roblar Winery and Vineyards is located at 3010 Roblar Avenue (at the intersection of Roblar Avenue and Highway 154) in Santa Ynez. To reach Roblar directly, please call 805-686-2603. Roblar is open daily for wine tasting experiences and bottle purchases from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tasting reservations are requested. Chef Cham’s full Bites Menus are offered Friday through Sunday, and house-made, to-go style sandwiches and salads are available in Roblar’s “bodega” the remainder of the week.
More information about Roblar Winery and Vineyards, including Roblar’s food and wine Experiences and the hospitality team, is available at www.RoblarWinery.com. Roblar is on Facebook and Instagram at www.facebook.com/RoblarWinery and @RoblarWinery.