In the heart of American wine country in Northern California, instead of a glass of Chardonnay, you’ll find the freshest peas, pods and flowers — all straight off the trellis. These home-grown ingredients helped Single Thread be ranked among The World’s 50 Best Restaurants last year.
Katina and Kyle Connaughton’s new farm property is home to bees, chickens, fresh vegetables destined for the kitchen and a host of flowers.
“Something we love so much about the kitchen is that they’re not trying to manipulate the hard work of the farm. They’re really highlighting it and celebrating it,” said Katina Connaughton.
The couple’s path to three Michelin stars began when they were teenagers.
“We had this long vision, being together since we were teenagers, and we had this dream and we fell in love with this area,” Kyle Connaughton said. “And 17 years later, opened a restaurant about a block away from where we first really kind of dreamed about one day having a restaurant here.”
Katina Connaughton added that the couple has “always loved food.”
It has been a remarkably successful journey for the duo. They spent years learning their trades in Europe and Asia. The couple said their time in Japan, especially, had a profound influence on their culinary style and the tastes from Single Thread’s acclaimed kitchen.
But recently, the restaurant’s achievements have been fraught with speed bumps — fromthat forced people from the region, to the . Lockdowns caused them to pivot to sending out farm-fresh veggie boxes and preparing meals for first responders, frontline and farm workers.
Then, just as Single Thread was getting back on its feet, a fire broke out.
“We had a fire in the middle of service, in the middle… our exhausts, all the way through from the stoves, up to the rooftop,” Kyle Connaughton said. “It’s closed us down for two and a half months of repairs.”
When asked what keeps the pair moving, Katina Connaughton said, “It’s resilience. It’s tenacity. It’s the punk rock teenagers that still live deep within us.”
But they’re putting their past setbacks behind and expanding, settling into their new 24-acre farm and welcoming new clientele to their second location — the plant-based Little Saint.
“We wanted to do something more casual,” Kyle Connaughton said. “That had more accessibility for locals and visitors and that you could visit more frequently.”
The Connaughtons’ life together is a lesson for anyone, filled with perseverance, passion and positivity — underscored by their lifelong love story.
“Our whole life revolves around our work and we’re so passionate about it. And [there is] such a mutual appreciation for what each other does,” Kyle Connaughton said.