What’s Next for Tim Wood?
By Nora Heston Tarte | Photo by Manny Espinoza
Chef Tim Wood is a culinary artist. The award-winning and locally celebrated chef works tirelessly with the bounty of Monterey—including fresh catches and even fresher produce—to effortlessly create meals for locals and visitors to enjoy. “If you ask me my age, I’m 129 years old in chef years. Like other breeds, we age a little differently," says Wood, laughing. “I will say it’s not all from hard work and dedication. Cooks and chefs tend to find some room to play as well, even if it’s not during conventional hours.”
As a youngster, Wood grew to love food through the enthusiasm of his parents. From there, his excitement around cooking blossomed as he worked various kitchen jobs, starting at the eatery inside of a vintage Catskill hotel in New York state. There, he learned to respect the knowledge that comes with cooking, collecting lessons from Bobbo and Timbo (senior chef and executive chef, respectively). He consciously chose traits from seasoned workers, eventually adopting those he liked most to integrate into his own kitchen when his career progressed. His managerial and cooking styles are thereby a hodgepodge from his experiences—a perfect blend that has led to more than a decade of success at his latest venture at Carmel Valley Ranch as well as his other food forays, which included a stint at Bernardus Lodge.
Wood’s unexpected downtime didn’t come with much relaxation. He has taken on several small projects, including consulting for other restaurants in need and jumping in whenever there is a call in the community, including food drives for the Monterey County Food Bank. Before the pandemic, he was also donating time and food to the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, small-town chambers of commerce, local schools, and others. As we approach the holidays, Wood is already lifting off with a new dining experience. Locals and travelers alike will soon want to land at Woodies at the Airport when they get hungry.
When he’s not whipping up meals for the masses, Wood cooks at home, which, he says, keeps him out of trouble. His wife praises his grilled steak and veggies with a simple Caesar salad. Wood makes it his own by braising the meat and vegetables, a technique he is particularly fond of in the fall. It’s a skill he perfected after picking up the technique at age 25 while working for Chef Tom Valenti at Butterfield 81 NYC, learning his secret short rib braise and braised lamb shanks recipes. “That’s what being a great chef is,” says Wood. ”Learning from others, learning from yourself, and producing items that people truly like.”