Home Cuisine Wente Vineyards’ New Executive Chef Makes Spectacular Debut

The Restaurant at Wente Vinyards welcomes new Executive Chef Mike Ward to lead its Northern California-inspired culinary program.

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The Restaurant at Wente Vinyards showed off some serious talent on the evening of January 13th when newly minted Executive Chef Mike Ward debuted samplings from the menu, which utilizes the Wente Family Estate’s multiple on-property programs that emphasize Northern California lifestyle.

A Bay Area Native, Chef Ward comes to Wente after a decorated culinary career working under a number of powerhouse names in the industry, including Tony Maws at Craigie Street Bistro, Frank McClelland of the New France Corporation and New York’s Michelin-star restaurant Picholine. After returning to the West Coast, he took a position as Executive Chef at Slocum House in Sacramento and also worked as Executive Chef at Tyler Florence’s El Paseo in Mill Valley.

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Now, Chef Ward is bringing his talent to The Restaurant at Wente Vinyards and combining his passion for creating innovative dishes with the abundance of fresh produce provided by the Wente Garden and access to ultra-premium meats, thanks to the Estate Beef Program. Chef Ward’s menu focuses on sustainable, fresh and robust Northern Californian style dishes with an array of global influences, including Mediterranean and Asian influences. Memorable dishes include the Hamachi Crudo with sesame seeds, pomegranate, radish and fermented wasabi and the Roasted Baby Beets with citrus, goat cheese, pistachio dust and beet purée. While the menu is jam-packed with traditional Cal-Med meat and veggie selections it doesn’t skimp on the seafood offerings, an aspect that Chef Ward is proud of. Newly added seafood options include Roasted Sea Scallops on top of garden vegetable sauté with Thai curry and coconut rice and Roasted Striped Sea Bass with Spanish chorizo paella, mussels and saffron aioli. The 50 Day Dry Age Delmonico Ribeye is not to be missed and of the most memorable and innovative dishes is the Chef’s truly unique take on traditional Bacon and Eggs with an ultra-tender pork belly confit, topped with poached egg, fennel purée, pickled mushrooms and chicharrones.

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Each dish was expertly complemented by delicious wine pairings presented by Sommelier Jorge Tonoco, including a number of Estate-grown selections. To complete the experience, Sommelier Jorge Tonoco, on staff at the Restaurant at Wente Vinayards for over 20 years, is always on hand to provide the perfect Estate-grown wines selections for your meal.

The Restaurant at Wente Vinyards is open for Lunch Monday- Saturday from 11:30am-2:30pm, for Sunday Brunch from 10:30-2:30pm and for dinner Sunday and Monday 5:00pm -8:00pm and Tuesday-Saturday 5:00pm – 9:00pm. Reservations are strongly suggested.

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