The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2012

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Page 78 of 140

Perfection Paired to W hen you're a chef working in the heart of Northern California's wine country, crafting dishes that will pair with structured Cabs and creamy or un-oaked Chards is imperative. But when you're running the kitchen in a winery restaurant, the stakes are even higher, and you can bet your bottom dollar that wine-friendly food and cuvee cuisine are of the utmost importance. That's a challenge Matt Greco, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, is willing to accept. The Texas-born chef cut his teeth in several of NYC's hottest kitchens, and has been happy to make the pastoral scenery in Livermore, CA, his new home. As we walk through the lush gardens on the premises, he points out plots of flowering kale, popping heirloom cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine into his mouth. "We didn't have gardens like this in New York," he jokes, and it's hard to imagine this energetic young chef working anywhere else than in the fresh air of the California countryside. In his year at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Greco has allowed the freshest seasonal produce to dictate his menu. "The garden is the starting point, the inspiration," says Greco, explaining that The Restaurant was about to launch Heirloom Tomato Week in response to the bounty of beautiful fruit coming out of the ground in early September. THE TASTING PANEL PUTS SIX WINE COUNTRY BUYERS THROUGH THEIR PAIRING PACES AT WENTE VINEYARDS by Rachel Burkons / photos by Nikki Ritcher At the end of summer, fresh beets were still being put to good use at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. 78 / the tasting panel / november 2012

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