Kyle Connaughton tells a story every night, at every dinner service he hosts at his three-star Michelin restaurant Single thread in Healdsburg, California. But he doesn’t think that story is enough. What appears on the plate, he says, only scratches the surface of the culinary and cultural narrative he wants diners to understand.
This impulse to tell a deeper story about farming and craftsmanship is why Connaughton and his partner, Katina, teamed up with the immersive travel agency modern adventure throw Paragonan intimate company that sends a handful of travelers around the world with culinary luminaries to delve into what makes regional cuisine so special.
“When customers come to our restaurant, they see the end result of all the hard work and behind-the-scenes relationships,” Kyle said. “We wanted to be able to take people behind the scenes and let them participate in these relationships and see where we draw inspiration from. We were excited to do it our own way and also connect other chef friends we respect so much so they can tell their stories too.
Each single departure with Paragon will be limited to very small groups of eight to 16 guests. Travelers will be guided by renowned chefs like the Connaughtons and wine professionals like Fresca Food & Wine’s Bobby Stuckey to dine privately at exclusive restaurants, take behind-the-scenes tours of cultural institutions like fish markets, connect with world-class artisans and artists, and sleep in luxurious, historic hotels.
The first Paragon trip will be the nine-day, eight-night SingleThread Japan, taking place April 15-23, 2023. The trip will be hosted by the Connaughtons and will pass through Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Japan has played a role in Kyle’s life since childhood.
“We lived there for many years, I went to Japanese cooking school and wrote a book there,” Kyle said. “We still go there frequently to visit artisans, artisans, artists, farms and fisheries. It’s a huge influence on what we do at SingleThread, both in the restaurant and on the farm.
The itinerary he has planned is made up of experiences the couple often have in Japan, “built from years of nurturing relationships there.” Travelers will meet their artist and chef friends and dine at their restaurants, including two-Michelin-starred Miyamasou, Michelin-starred Moguchi Taro, three-Michelin-starred Lurra, three-Michelin-starred Kikunoi, three-Michelin-starred Hyotei, and two-starred Den. Michelin. , among others. But travel isn’t just about food.
“We’re going beyond a simple eating and drinking journey,” Kyle said. “I want guests to understand Japanese cuisine not only in terms of what it is, but also why it is. We look at history, culture and other arts such as tea ceremonies, flower arrangements and pottery to tell a deeper story and give a fuller understanding. These dishes served in Japanese restaurants are much more than ingredients on a plate, they tell a very rich story. »
Luis Vargas, founder and CEO of Modern Adventure, said chefs like the Connaughtons are “creative geniuses” who “see their craft and their world differently from others”, which makes them fascinating tour guides. They have bold visions for these unique excursions.
“It creates an incredible web of exploration, access and discovery, with moments and experiences that simply couldn’t happen anywhere else,” he said. “Paragon will deliver experiences across the worlds of art, design, wine, music and more because we believe they are all connected.
“We hope travelers return home from these trips with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them, and a deeper appreciation and context for the craftsmanship, passion and inspiration of our ” Paragon light fixtures.
Kyle says he and Katina also hope to come home with something from the trips.
“We hope to take away an even deeper understanding of what inspires us so much, to share and tell these stories of these experiences that we have enjoyed while living in Japan,” he said. “Sometimes we can take these amazing relationships we have for granted, so this is a chance for us to gain new perspectives and create new experiences together.”
SingleThread Japan is limited to eight travelers. Reservations are open this week at modernadventure.com/paragon.
Other Paragon trips planned for 2023 include Champagne, France, with Dom Pérignon, hosted by SingleThread Executive Director of Wines, Rusty Rastello, in May; Frioul, Italy, hosted by Stuckey in June; Napa and Sonoma, hosted by the Connaughtons in September; and Yucatán and Mexico City, Mexico, organized by quintonil chef Jorge Vallejo in October.
A portion of the proceeds from the trips will go to support charitable causes and non-profit organizations, an initiative of the certified B-Corp and climate-neutral travel company. From the trip to Japan, $50,000 will go towards scholarships for students at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa to study in Japan.