Monday, March 27, 2017

Hearst Castle Kitchen and Wine Cellar

March 2017 - San Simeon CA

Click here to visit the guest houses and grounds that are part of the Cottages and Kitchen tour.

The guest houses at the Hearst Castle do not have kitchens, the only kitchen is in the main house.

Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst sent to San Francisco for the good linens and china in September 1929, when preparing for the upcoming visit of British politician Winston Churchill to his grand estate named La Cuesta Encantada.

 Although Churchill appreciated the efforts that were made in his behalf, it did not stop him from keenly observing his host, writing to his wife Clementine: “Hearst was most interesting to meet, & I got (sic) like him - a grave simple child - with no doubt a nasty temper - playing with the most costly toys. A vast income always overspent: Ceaseless building & collecting not very discriminatingly works of art: two magnificent establishments, two charming wives; complete indifference to public opinion, a strong liberal & democratic outlook, a 15 million daily circulation, oriental hospitalities, extreme personal courtesy (to us at any rate)...”

All of the meals were prepared in this kitchen and all guests were expected to dine communally in the refectory each evening. One night Winston Churchill tried to order room service to Cottage B. Mr. Hearst called the Prime Minister himself to say that room service is not offered at the Castle and he’d have to come up to the main house himself.

Our guide, in answer to a question regarding whether Mr. Hearst was good to work for, stated that he was very good to his staff. If a guest was rude to a servant or as he called them, an employee, he would send the guest home!

Guests from Cary Grant, Charles Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert and the Marx Brothers to Baron Rothchild, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt dined in the 27’ x 67’ dining room (with a 27’ ceiling).

Dinners at Hearst Castle were prepared with the estate’s own fruits and vegetables (oranges, lemons, persimmons, pears, apples, tangerines, apricots, prunes, plums nectarines, figs grapefruit, mulberries, kumquats, peaches, avocados, guava, quince and many kinds of berries –– black and English walnuts). His son said his father enjoyed “fowl and birds [pheasant, guinea hen, partridges, quail, ducks, geese and turkey were raised there], lamb chops, cornbeef [sic] and cabbage, hominy grits, and on rare cases, roast beef [always well-aged], kidneys tripe etc.”

Buffet lunches were served on electric warmers at 2 pm (promptness was requested, a loud cow bell would be rung). Dinner was served at 9pm. Breakfast was served between 9am and 12 and guests would have juice, fruit and coffee and then order their breakfast that would be cooked to order (Mr. Hearst only had fresh fruit and coffee with a lot of hot milk –– he rose quite late).

Here is a sample daily menu from the ranch. The menu always included a film that would show in the Castle’s movie theater after dinner. This menu was served on November 28, 1945: Source
La Cuesta Encantada, San Simeon, California
November 28, 1945

Spare Ribs – Hominy
Fine Herb Omelet
Pastry, Ice

Lentil Soup
Roast Ringneck Pheasant
Bread Crumbs, Bread Sauce
Gravy – Mashed Potatoes
Buttered String Beans
Apricot Tartlets

“Blythe Spirit”
Rex Harrison – Constance Cummings
United Artists – MGM Exchange
Breakfast 9:00 to 12:00 – Luncheon 2:00 – Dinner 9:00


  1. Both posts about Hearst's mansion have been quite fascinating. That dinner party had quite a guest list.

    1. Thanks, andrew, it was quite interesting. I would like to go back and visit the main house.

  2.'s bigger than my house.


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