Chef de Cuisine - Kaelin Ulrich Trilling
As Chef de Cuisine, Kaelin Ulrich Trilling leads the culinary team at La Calenda. Chef Kaelin is responsible for menu development and ingredient sourcing, as well as training and mentorship of the team. A young, but already accomplished chef, Kaelin brings years of experience combined with his authentic perspective and palate to this position.
Raised in Oaxaca, Kaelin grew up in a family that was constantly cooking, eating, and teaching him about Mexico’s cuisine and cultural traditions. Kaelin spent his youth with his mother, Susana Trilling, at her cooking school, Seasons of My Heart, where he first developed his deep appreciation for food. He traveled with her while she hosted numerous TV programs, including PBS series, Seasons of My Heart, A Culinary Journey through Oaxaca, Mexico, and turned to the books that she authored to learn more about the history and significance of Mexican cuisine. Watching his mother’s work and her commitment to authenticity, Kaelin was able to see how much of an impact cooking can have on people, especially when done with love and care. Kaelin also values the practice of growing your own produce and sourcing the best ingredients, an appreciation that he attributes to being raised working on his father’s tomato farm in Oaxaca.
Kaelin started his culinary career in 2010 as a line cook at the Omni La Mansion del Rio in San Antonio, TX, before moving to Omni’s Mokara Hotel and Spa to become lead line cook in 2012. In 2013, Kaelin became sous chef for Hugo’s, a highly regarded Mexican restaurant in Houston, TX. Staying within the Hugo’s restaurant family, Kaelin then became sous chef at Caracol, a restaurant with a focus on Mexican coastal cuisine also in Houston. In 2015, Kaelin became the executive chef at Bajo Sexto Taco, Jonathan Waxman’s restaurant in Nashville, TN. Then in 2017, Kaelin left Bajo Sexto Taco to stage at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Eleven Madison Park, and Noma’s pop-up restaurant in Tulum, MX.
Most recently, Kaelin was a Chef Consultant for Michelin star Oxomoco, a new wood burning Mexican Restaurant in Brooklyn NYC.
As Kaelin joins Chef Thomas Keller’s La Calenda, he is honored to be on a team that encourages development, curiosity, mentorship, and true appreciation for food and ingredients. While developing the menu for La Calenda, he was able to help identify the purveyors and artisans from his home region and introduce them to Yountville. Kaelin is excited to be able to share his country’s cuisine, and sees every dish as an extension of both himself and his culture.
General Manager - Eric Jefferson
As General Manager, Eric Jefferson brings enthusiastic leadership in his efforts to oversee daily operations, staffing, training, service and guest relations for La Calenda. Eric joined the team during the restaurant’s development stage, working closely with Chef de Cuisine Kaelin Ulrich Trilling and Executive Chef of Casual Dining, Ross Melling to prepare for its opening.
Eric first began working for Chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in 2015 as a kitchen server. With mentorship and guidance, Eric was given the opportunity to become a kitchen expeditor in 2016, where he remained through 2017 and received the restaurant’s Core Award for his outstanding dedication and commitment. He then moved into the dining room as a back server for a short period before being offered the role as a captain. This past July, Eric had the opportunity to contribute to the opening of The Surf Club Restaurant in Miami and was involved in training the new team to Chef Thomas Keller’s level of precision. As an alumnus of The French Laundry, Eric will bring the highest level of guest service and quality standards to this new casual concept with a sense of urgency and responsibility.
Eric first became interested in hospitality at Northwood University in Midland, MI where he graduated with a degree in Finance. This experience ignited his desire to be part of this profession and he soon started working as a server at Café Zinc and The Table Restaurant in the H Hotel in Midland while simultaneously earning his BBA in Hotel, Restaurant & Resort Management. He continued to work for the H Hotel, becoming Assistant Manager / Beverage Director for Café Zinc in 2013, and then General Manager at The Table Restaurant in 2014.
It was on a trip to visit former colleague Jared Love, General Manager of Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, that Eric saw the opportunity to move to Yountville and work for Chef Thomas Keller. He is honored to have been given the responsibility of leading this new team, and is excited to help develop an atmosphere of hospitality and conviviality at La Calenda.