Michael Hirschberg

Proprietor, Highfeather

Even when he was a hippie vegetarian, Michael Hirschberg was a capitalist. “That’s what people tell me,” Hirschberg says with a chuckle, “and I guess it’s true. I’ve always liked to push things. I have this sort of built-in momentum toward whatever comes next.” During a quarter century of championing local food and wine through restaurants, bakeries and tourism affiliations, Hirschberg has played a vital role in putting Sonoma County on the culinary map. And he’s still playing. What comes next for Hirschberg is — quelle surprise! — another restaurant. But this time, on the brink of his 50th birthday, teaching classes on the side, a second business deal in the works and one eye trained on his ultimate goal of living in France, Hirschberg hopes to play a slightly smaller role in his fifth restaurant, Sassafras.