Chef David Bastide was born and raised in southern France in the city of Albi – learning to cook, quite literally, at his grandmother’s knee. Just slightly northeast of Toulouse, the Tarn Region is recognized for culinary contributions that include renowned cheeses, fois gras, charcuterie, pastries and breads. The nearby town of Gaillac is the country’s oldest wine-making region, and neighboring Armagnac was one of the first areas in Europe to begin distilling spirits.
Bastide came to the United States in 1985 to pursue his passion for the culinary arts, initially joining his father at their family-owned restaurant in Maine. In 1989, he traveled across country for a chance to work at Pasta Bella Restaurant in San Francisco, California. Subsequently, he accepted the job of Executive Chef at Venticello Ristorante, where he received a coveted three-star review from San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer and made the paper’s annual “Top 100 Restaurants” list. From there, he ran the kitchen of Le Bistro, again garnering top accolades that included a spot on the Chronicle’s “Top 10 New Restaurants” list and numerous “Top 100” rankings. In 2003, he joined the Left Bank restaurant family, where he remained as Executive Chef until joining the Monticello Farm Table team in 2021.
Bastide’s accomplishments include recognition in the Food and Wine’s “Chef 2000” roster for six consecutive years, a top spot at the 3rd Sugarloaf Culinary Festival, and recipes published in prominent publications including “The Art of Fine Dining,” “Culinary Masterpieces,” “The Concierge Recommends” and “Chef’s Hall of Fame.” Most notably, in 2019 he joined the ranks of the Maître Cuisinier de France (or Master Chef of France), an envied title from a prestigious association of chefs who preserve French traditions, recipes and techniques.
Today, Chef David heads the Monticello Farm Table culinary team at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Described as the country’s “most illustrious epicure,” Jefferson is considered a revolutionary gardener who used Monticello’s mountaintop gardens as an experimental laboratory where more than 500 varieties of fruits and vegetables were grown during his lifetime. Monticello Farm Table aims to bring history forward by helping guests learn about the lasting impact Jefferson and his enslaved gardeners and cooks had on American cuisine while enjoying sustainable, locally sourced ingredients.