New, Immersive Culinary And Wine Trips Launch Led By Top Chefs And Sommeliers

It’s always more rewarding to explore a culinary or wine destination if a major chef or wine expert is leading the trip: they have the contacts and knowledge to unlock the secrets of a place. A new series of small group trips from the company Modern Adventure called Paragon will provide that expertise along with an altruistic aim: a portion of each trip will support a charity or nonprofit chosen by the luminary leading it.

The first trip, scheduled for April 15-23, 2023 to Japan, will be led by Kyle and Katina Connaughton, owners of Healdsburg, California’s Michelin three star SingleThread,Farm-Restaurant-Inn a showcase of exceptional ingredients grown on their farm and fashioned into exquisite 10 course tasting menus of Japanese influenced creations. The Connaughtons are drawing on their experience of living and working in Japan, passion for the country’s rituals and deep connections to artisans and master chefs which they hope to extend to others with the donation of $50,000 from this trip for students at the Culinary Institute of America to fund scholarships to study in Japan. “I’m excited that through this trip we are able to help young culinary professionals have the opportunity to study Japan’s incredible cuisine culture, which has been so influential to my own career,” says Kyle Connaughton.

The trip begins in Osaka with an introduction to Japanese hospitality through a 13 course menu created by chef Noguchi Taro in his tiny restaurant hidden behind a nondescript door in the city’s nightlife district. Over the nine days in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, guests will learn the roots of and experience the delicious elements of kaiseki cuisine, learn the arts of knife making and sake brewing, visit the Akashi Bay fish market to witness the live auction of that day’s catch, stroll Kyoto’s famous temple district in the evening free of crowds, visit markets and experience impossible to get into restaurants listed on the world’s best lists among many other activities. The accommodations are also top notch from the Aman Tokyo to the esteemed Hiiragiya ryokan in Kyoto, family run by six generations since 1811. This is truly a trip for anyone interested in Japanese culture and cuisine that would be impossible to achieve on one’s own.

Following the Single Thread Japan trip, the restaurant’s sommelier Rusty Rastello, winner of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award this year, will lead a trip in May to explore Paris and Champagne in conjunction with Dom Pérignon. This trip will include private tastings and stays in premiere properties such as Moet & Chandon’s private Château de Saran. The Connaughtons will lead another trip in September, this time in Napa and Sonoma.

Other trips in the Paragon portfolio will explore cuisine, wine, and culture in different parts of the world. Master sommelier Bobby Stuckey will lead a trip to Venice and Italy’s Friuli region in June. Chef Jorge Vallejo of Mexico City’s Quintonil, a perennial on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, will lead guests through that city and parts of the Yucatan in October. Those trips are open to 8-16 guests and are open for waitlisting now.

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