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Meet Our New Chef

Meet Chef Daniel Massie

We are thrilled to introduce Chef Daniel Massie, the latest culinary maestro to grace the kitchens of Wente Vineyards. With a heritage rooted in the robust flavors of Texas BBQ and honed in the diverse culinary landscape of Northern California, Chef Daniel brings a unique blend of passion, tradition, and innovation to our dining experiences. As he steps into his role, leading the culinary vision for our hospitality food and beverage programs, including the debut of an exciting new menu at The Grill at Wente Vineyards in early May 2024, we are excited for you to try his creations We are honored to work with Chef Daniel and excited for you to get to know the man behind the apron below.

Can you share a bit about your background and what inspired you to become a chef?

I have always worked in the food service business. When I was 14, my mother signed a permission slip for me to work at a BBQ restaurant near our home in Texas. I spent most of my time cleaning the smokers and stacking wood, but the bug took hold. I saw how much food impacted people, and I was hooked. I have never looked back.

How would you describe your culinary philosophy or style?

Respect for ingredients. Let the food shine. A lot of hard work went into creating the ingredients I use daily. There is value in that work. It’s my mission to create dishes that honor that work – from the farm to the table.

Do you have a signature dish or a favorite ingredient to work with?

 It is not really anything specific. I LOVE Italian food. Something magical happens when you combine fresh hand-made pasta and a well-developed sauce. Add a glass of beautiful wine and start writing the memories.

Who or what are your biggest culinary influences or sources of inspiration?

The guests, honestly. Food is an emotional, spiritual experience. I take that responsibility very seriously. We gather to celebrate with each other – to break bread in a show of fellowship and peace. Making that experience amazing is the source of my passion as a Chef.

How do you approach creating dishes that complement wine?

I first begin by smelling and tasting the wine. I mean… there are rules to follow, but each wine is unique. Once I understand the complexities and flavor profile of the wine, I work to create flavors in the food that will help to draw out the critical aspects of the wine that I want to compliment.

Sustainability and locally sourced ingredients are significant trends in the culinary world. How do you incorporate these elements into your menu planning?

Seasonal, sustainable, locally sourced foods is huge. We are blessed to live in Northern California where the land is rich with offerings and resources. Every week, I walk through the farmer’s market – watching the seasons change, watching the produce, and meeting the farmers and the people who supply us. There is no better local resource than the farm right down the street.

Are there any new culinary trends, techniques, or ingredients you’re excited to explore at Wente Vineyards?

Upscale comfort food is experiencing an incredible surge in the market right now. I am in. It’s real people, real food, but in a new and exciting way.

When you’re not in the kitchen, what’s your favorite dish to enjoy, and do you have a preferred wine to pair with it?

At home, we have been making this ridiculously delicious Dungeness Crab and fresh fettuccine dish lately. My goodness, it’s stellar. We pair that with a light, acidic white like the Wente Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. Then… we do the happy dance.

What message do you have for the customers of Wente Vineyards as they anticipate experiencing your culinary creations?

I welcome you as if you were guests in my own home. I love what I do. The food comes from the heart, and you can absolutely taste it in every bite.

Slow Braised Lamb Ragu by Chef Daniel

Plus, don’t miss the exclusive peek into Chef Daniel’s kitchen with his mouthwatering Slow Braised Lamb Ragu recipe, a taste of the culinary excellence you can expect at Wente Vineyards.

Get The Recipe

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