Nathan Britton and J. B. O’Brien graduate from culinary school on October 5th. Less than a month later they will be running their own restaurant. Their pop-up concept, Fortnight, will run from October 23rd to November 3rd at The Guest Chef in Oakland.
For the two soon-to-be-graduates of the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena getting to run their own restaurant is a unique opportunity to put into practice what they have learned over the last 20 months, not only in the classroom but working in restaurants, both at Farmstead in St. Helena and Britton at The Herbfarm in Seattle and Michelin two-star Cyrus in Healdsburg.
They met the third member of their team, Miguel Mendoza, while working at Farmstead, where he was the lead line cook. Mendoza got an early start in the culinary field, rising to the role of sous chef at Bleaux Magnolia in Napa by age 19. In addition to his time at Farmstead he also studied charcuterie while working at The Fatted Calf. He is currently the pastry chef at Ca’Momi Enoteca.
Unlike Mendoza, both Britton and O’Brien come to the culinary world as career changers. Britton got his undergraduate degree in English and comparative literature from Occidental College before pursuing a career in political communications that saw him work in both the U.S. House and Senate and as a consultant for NGOs and ghostwriter. O’Brien got a degree in business from the University of Vermont and worked in commercial real estate in Washington, DC.
The concept for the restaurant is their take on California cuisine: simple, elegant small plates rooted in the best of what the Bay Area has to offer in the late summer, early fall season. Their aim is to offer food that refined without being fussy, and that draws from fine dining influences, but offered at bistro prices.