Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Lots of people may remember oxalis from their childhood, but possibly by another name - “sour grass”.   It seems like kids around the country are attracted to these bright yellow flowers, instinctually chewing on their tangy stems.  I love the oxalis blossoms and leaves, but the real treasure are the long pink tap -roots that have a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dinner at Terra Mar

We just hosted a few guests at Terra Mar, a spectacular home near Post Ranch, for a private dinner.   It was an incredible Big Sur evening, with some fantastic food and wine!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Garden Herbs and Flowers

The garden is taking off!  Here is a little sneak peek at last night's harvest...

Thursday, April 24, 2014


The first morels of the season are rolling in.  Last night we featured them in a tribute to the spring time forest with Black Truffle, Wild Ramps and Miner's Lettuce.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Fresh Kill (warning: graphic photo)

Spotted early in the morning across the street from Post Ranch.  This huge mountain lion killed this full grown buck.  Warning, the photo is somewhat graphic.

Fresh Venison Carpaccio anyone?  Just kidding.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ash Salt

This technique is inspired by an ancient Japanese technique for salt making called “Moshio-Yaki”.   Japan is one of the few places on earth that rely completely on the ocean for salt, due to their lack of inland salt deposits.  The ocean water surrounding Japan contains approximately 3% salt and reducing it efficiently enough to produce salt would have required more fuel than was available.  Historians believe that one of the first methods of salt production was to burn piles of dried seaweed and using the resulting ash to enhance the saltiness of sea water prior to evaporating it over heat.  This method increased the yield of each batch and imparted a pleasant savory aspect to the resulting salt.  Traditionally the crystals would be skimmed from the top of the pot to yield a light grey crystal - but I elected to put the ash through a fine strainer before adding it to the ocean water and then reduced it until if formed a thick, black paste.  I put this paste in the dehydrator overnight and then microplaned it to order for use as a finishing salt.  We are also going to work on a slower evaporation method which should yield larger salt “florets”.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2014 Grand Tasting

This past weekend we wrapped up at the 7th annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival.  Thanks to Coastal Luxury Management for hosting such a fun event!

This year our theme was the “Great Kitchen Disaster of 1963”  “Burnt Toast and Spam”.  Our booth was decked out with tons of vintage wares, including an antique toaster and lots of Spam paraphernalia.  The idea was that our charming host, Simone, was throwing a little dinner party and everything went wrong - from broken jello molds to an authentic vintage hedgehog recipe made from bar olives and cream cheese.   All that was left to serve was burnt toast and spam.

Our wonderful kitchen crew,  Amber, Maya and Yulanda were all decked out in vintage aprons – while Obdiel opted for something a bit more serious.

The actual dish: Smoked Goose Terrine with Wild Onion Blossom, Caramelized Shallot Jam and Australian Black Truffle on Ink Toast was a huge hit….. though some of the guests who had a few too many glasses of wine left thinking they had actually just eaten burnt toast and spam (hopefully they don’t try to replicate at home!).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The last few weeks there has been an abundance of sole being caught in Monterey Bay.  We are featuring it with red grapes, wild rice and smoked crab nage.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

The annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine event kicks off tonight up Highway 1 in Carmel.  I'll be participating in two events this year.  The first is the "Restaurant Australia" lunch tomorrow, an event in which I'm honored to particpate.  I'll be collaborating with Australian chef Jordan Toft of Everleigh in Los Angeles to bring attendees a lunch consisting of ingredients and flavors that showcase the very best of Australian cuisine.  There are still a few tickets remaining and they can be purchased by clicking here

The second event is the Lexus Grand Tasting Tent on Saturday where I'll be joined by 30 other chefs where we'll be serving small tastings of signature dishes.  There are over 300 wines being poured as well so it should be a fantastic event for food and wine fans.  Tickets can be purchased by clicking here

I hope to see you in Carmel this weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Seaweed Champagne

The Concept - Delicate pieces of seaweed caught up in the effervescent tide of champagne with oysters to begin a meal.  I like the visual of seaweed churning in the surf and bubbles. Dominique and I are working on finding a champagne with minerals and perhaps even a touch of ancient sea floor.  This is the proof of concept- now we just need to work on the overall flavor composition.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Artists & Craftsman

We are well on our way to exclusively using hand-made custom plates from local artists.    It has been inspiring to see what Fiona Bond, Shelby Hawthorne and Eefje Theeuws have created based on their Big Sur experience.  Each design is completely different, yet share a common theme.

Seeing all of these plates together made me think about how many artisans it takes to run Sierra Mar.  Every product we feature is the result of meticulous craftsmanship and a passion for perfection.  The work of quite literally hundreds, even thousands of artists and craftsman, if you consider the wine list, are on display at Sierra Mar on a daily basis.  From the plates on the tables to the local artisan cheese maker, citrus farmer, leather worker, apron designer, olive oil producer, salt harvester, letter press designer etc, etc.   The dining room is quite literally an interactive gallery, simultaneously engaging all of your senses.

When I look at the incredible group of people who have come together to make Sierra Mar what it is, I am incredibly grateful for each of their unique talents.  Whether they work at Sierra Mar every day, or produce wine in a remote corner of Italy, we are honored to have them as part of our restaurant.