Welcome to My Napa Valley Kitchen

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Musings | 2 comments

This is a blog about living and cooking in the Napa Valley with an emphasis on cooking wine-friendly food.

I have been living and working as a chef in the wine industry in the Napa Valley in California for almost 30 years. It took many of those years to finally discover what works on a consistent and controllable basis when preparing food to go with wine. It took reading all the wine and food books, studying with experts and cooking hundreds if not thousands of wine-maker dinners with iffy results.
When I finally embraced a radical, but simple way to work with wine and food, it changed my life and my cooking. I learned from Masters of Wine Tim Hanni and Mark deVere the art of balancing the tastes in a dish to allow wine to taste its best. I put this into practice over 10 years ago with amazing results and I want to share these principles with you.

What I am not going to do:

  • Tell you which wines to drink with which foods
  • Recommend specific wines with the recipes
  • Tell you to drink whatever wine you like with whatever food you like with no explanation. I will say how you can to that and have it be a great experience.
  • Make you feel bad for liking only white wine, or only white zinfandel, or only cabernet sauvignon. I don’t care what you drink, as long as it is something you love.
  • Go into elaborate descriptions of wines and vintages and popular varietals and wine trends.

What I am going to do:

  • Provide wine-friendly recipes you will enjoy eating with the wines you choose to accompany them
  • Share wine and food experiences that shouldn’t have worked, but did, based on understanding how to balance the tastes in a dish. I’ll show you how to do the same.
  • Help you understand how to work with acidity and salt to balance umami and sweet tastes in a dish – the key to having a great wine and food experience.
  • Give you a new way to look at ingredients in a dish and understand how wine reacts to them and how to fix it when it’s going wrong.
  • Talk about umami taste from a cook’s viewpoint and how it can wreak havoc with wine.


Most of all, I will provide delicious, do-able recipes that will not only enhance your wine and food experiences, but become a part of your cooking repertoire.

I love to cook and I love wine. Discovering how simple it is to have wine and food work together seamlessly changed my cooking and dining life. I want it to change yours, too.




  1. I am awaiting the next post. Tell me what to do. My fate is in your hands.

  2. Can’t wait for more!

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