Joël Hoachuck was born December 24, 1959 in the small town of Carcassonne, in the south of France. He was raised by his mother and grandparents until the age of 17. His grandmother, who was always cooking up something delicious in the kitchen, instilled a love for food in Joël that continues to this day. Hearing his grandfather’s stories of traveling throughout the French colonies fueled young Joël’s sense of adventure and dreams of traveling the world. In one of his first jobs, Joël had a fortuitous meeting with an intrepid co-worker who inspired Joël to make those dreams a reality.
Joël was working at the Hotel Sofitel in Nice when Pascal was hired. Joël looked up to Pascal who, at 35, had already worked for more than 15 years on several different cruise ships, first as a waiter and then as a manager. After some long conversations with Pascal, Joël realized that if you knew how to speak English and how to wait tables, you could travel anywhere. That’s when he took Pascal’s advice and sent out a few resumes. It wasn’t long before Joël landed a job as a captain waiter on the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2).
Dealing with an international clientele and “continental cuisine” in a high-end setting allowed Joël to sharpen and expand his knowledge and skills. By chance, or perhaps it was fate, Joël met his sweet American wife of 32 years, Barbara Schwartz, while serving the table she shared with her grandparents. He subsequently quit his job on the ship, moved to America, married Barbara and had two children, Julien and Arielle. Eventually the young family made the move west to Napa, California.
Joël arrived in the early 90s, just in time to witness the historic converence of the food and wine industries. The resulting culinary gold rush put Napa on the map of destinations for epicureans worldwide, one that continues to this day.
For the next three decades, Joël practiced his front of the house skills in some of the best restaurants in the Valley, in partnership with some the region’s most celebrated chefs. He is currently at the helm of El Dorado Kitchen (EDK) in Sonoma, California, located on the Sonoma Plaza.
Joël is proud to announce the release of his book: Welcome to Waiters’ World, available on Amazon and in your local bookstore.