Our Chefs

Executive Chef Gary Penir
Chef Gary Penir has worked in kitchens in Napa and Sonoma counties for the last nine years. During this time he has refined the skills and techniques required to deliver exceptional foods from all over the world to his guests.

In 2003, Gary attended San Diego State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition. He then went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY to earn an Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Culinary Arts. Being born and raised in the Napa Valley, Gary returned to the wine country to hone his skills in the culinary field. He began work at Wine Spectator Restaurant at Greystone in St. Helena, CA under a wide array of chefs, which include Chef Robert Curry (Executive Chef of Auberge de Soleil), Chef James Corwell (ACF Certified Master Chef), followed by Chef Polly Lapetitto (Executive Chef of the Wine Spectator Restaurant). In 2006, Gary became Sous Chef of Wine Spectator Restaurant where he coordinated all aspects of the kitchen. Meanwhile, he completed the CIA Greystone’s Wines Program, granting him the Level 1 Certified Wine Professional as well as Level 1 Sommelier. He is currently a Level 2 Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation. In 2008, Gary moved to Sonoma County to work at 2 Michelin starred Cyrus Restaurant in Healdsburg, California under Executive Chef Douglas Keene. After much consideration, Gary has moved back to the Napa Valley to launch his business, Cuisine GP. Gary has also travelled all over the world refining his skill set and exposing himself to the cuisines of Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. During his most recent trip Gary was able to work at 3 Michelin Star Vendome Restaurant in Germany which was named the #10 restaurant in the world on San Pellegrino’s Top 50 Restaurants List in 2013.

Gary has had the pleasure of executing and participating in many renowned events over the past years. The Aspen Food and Wine Classic, Celebrity Chefs Dinners at the Ahwanee Hotel and Resort in Yosemite, California are just two of his favorites. Presently Gary works with Caldwell Vineyards, Schramsberg, Failla, Opus One, Joseph Phelps, Duckhorn, Round Pond Estate, Tenbrink, Whetstone, Jessup Cellars, Castillo de Amarosa, Saviez Vineyards, G Wine Cellars and various other businesses throughout the North Bay. He has also lectured at The Culinary Institute of America in the Hyde Park campus as well as the Singapore campus. He was also a guest culinary instructor at Mendocino Community College.

After a wine and food education trip to Spain in 2010, Gary decided to launch Pabomba as a way of expressing the unique and thrilling wood-fired experience to his clients in Northern California.

Sara Wurst
Born and raised in Ohio, Sara Wurst always had a fascination with the culinary world. She worked as a prep cook, server, bartender and cake decorator, before she had the opportunity to attend the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St Helena, California where she specialized in the Baking and Pastry arts. Four years later, she is still living and cooking in the Napa Valley.

Sara spent much of this time honing her cooking and baking skills at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, Morimoto Napa and the Pastry department at the Michelin star rated Solbar in Calistoga. Sara brings together her culinary, baking, service skills and enthusiasm to assist Pabomba in its day to day operations and we are honored to have her as part of our team.