Little Neck Clams

Composition and Architecture

When developing a course for a special menu
I first start with tasting the wines in order of how they will be served.
This step allows me to experience the flavors of the wine as they are unfolding,
while I imagine the direction they will be moving in with
the seasonal foods that I am creating.

In this case I started with the 2001 Consilience, Viognier, Santa Barbara County. Through tasting I noticed that the minerals in the wine could be highlighted to bring out the sweet green flavors in the wine. I played into these flavors by joining them with mascerated green lentils, asparagus, and clams. I thought about pushing these flavors back and pulling out the fruit in the wine by the addition of herbed goat cheese capitalizing on the tangy creamy elements. Taking careful notice of the delicateness of the wine, I added a bright viognier gelee, that was accented with verjus and was able to harmonize the course as a whole by adding the clam liqour and a robust yet smooth extra virgin olive oil that made a fabulous viniagrette. The results showed the character of this wine to be quite playful, energetic, crisp, floral, and vibrant.

With a deep understanding of this process, I am able to keep the wine dinner guest’s palates fresh while introducing bold flavors and boundless possibilities.

The next step I begin is visualizing the course itself and how it will look on the plate.  I find that simply drawing what I see in my head allows me to think about each component and how they relate to each other.  This focuses me and gives myself time to reflect on the progression of each course, as well as relaxes me and allows me to see my cuisine clearly.


Little Neck Clam and Asparagus Salad
French Green Lentils ~ Goat Cheese ~ Viognier Gelee

Verjus Vinaigrette

A fabulous seafood salad to begin a tasting on a hot spring day . Perfectly sweet tender clams sit on a bed of petite asparagus marinated in

clam jus with fresh goat cheese and green lentils.